How to Create an Impressive Video CV
As more and more video content is created and viewed online, video increasingly plays a part in how we share and receive information. With this in mind, video CVs are likely to become even more popular in the coming years. Not only are they are a fantastic creative tool for jobseekers to set themselves apart from their competition, but now more and more companies are requesting them as part of their application process. One of these recruiters is advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Group UK that uses video CVs to recruit for its Ogilvy Fellowship scheme.
A video CV should serve the same purpose as a covering letter. A written CV will always sell your skills and experience. Similarly, a video CV should give employers an introduction to the person behind it. Below are my top tips on how to make the best video CV.
Before you start
Video CVs work for some industries (namely Sales, Advertising, Marketing, Creative and Media) but not all. So you should carefully consider whether or not including a video CV will add value to your overall application.
Find a good background
Before you start filming, think about what background you’ll film in front of. Make sure the background is tidy and clutter free. Go with a plain background where possible as you want the focus to be on you, not a busy background.
Framing and appearance
I would suggest framing yourself from the waist up. A close-up headshot might look and feel a little intense. With a full body shot, some of the connection between you and the viewer may be lost. Also, remember to position the camera at eye level, especially if using a webcam set up.
Think about your posture and remember to stand tall. Keep your clothing professional, or fitting of the position you are applying for. Remember to talk directly to the camera. Imagine the person viewing it is right behind the camera lens.
Tone of voice
Keep your tone light, smiley and upbeat. Try not to come across as being too serious or direct. To lighten the overall tone, you may want to add music. As long as it doesn’t distract from what you are saying, music can add a professional touch.
What to say
You may want to script what you will say, but I would suggest bullet pointing each section you want to cover instead. It’s important that you know what you will say, but you don’t want it to come across too scripted or over-rehearsed.
Watch the ums and ahs
It’s so easy to add in the occasional ‘ummm’ between sentences, especially when you’re struggling to find your next line, but too many ums and ahs can become distracting to the viewer.
Keep it short
I would suggest keeping it to around a minute in length, definitely no longer than two minutes. Take the same approach as you would with a CV – short , sharp and to the point. Only include information that really sells you as a person. Think of it as the trailer to the main event, your written CV.
Make sure the video itself is of good quality. Check that the sound is clear, and there are no distracting background noises. Make sure the lighting is good. Try and film in a well-lit area with natural lighting.
For the creative sector, video applications are the perfect way to tell a recruiter a little bit about you, as well as demonstrating your innovative skills. The more creative the role, the more imaginative you can be with the editing, sound, style and content of the video.
Try, try, and try again
The great thing about video CVs is that you can do numerous takes until it’s right so – keep going until you’ve nailed it. If you’re struggling to capture everything in one take, try splitting up the video into sections and add text slides in between.
It’s important to get some feedback on your video before sending it off. Show a rough cut of your video CV to someone who will give you their honest and constructive opinion. Take their feedback and use it. A video CV can be time-consuming, but also free to make, so if it can be improved then don’t be afraid to try again.
By Rhiannon Lewis is the Emerging Talent Manager for the Ogilvy and Mather UK Group, one of the largest and most influential communications Groups in the UK. Within her current role she oversees all entry level schemes across the Ogilvy and Mather UK Group, as well employee engagement initiatives. Over the last 10 years Rhiannon has worked for some of the UK’s largest Media and Communication companies, in recruitment, HR and L&D roles.