This article covers tips for making a video CV, as well as some successful examples.
With all kinds of CV and job application out there – infographic CVs, anti-CVs and dynamic CVs to name a few – video CVs are naturally also becoming more and more frequent, especially in creative industries. Now that more or everyone has access to a digital camera, it’s easy to make your video CV. Easy to make, perhaps, but less easy to make well. Make sure you know what you’re doing first. You’ll see some more examples of video (and video game!) CVs on this blog.
Producing a CV for YouTube and other channels
Know your limits – If “shining on camera” in your case is more of a smudgy glow than a megawatt appeal, avoid making a video CV. We can’t all come out well on camera (I for one certainly don’t), but we can all have the self-awareness to avoid unnecessarily flaunting our weaknesses. Alyssa Berkovitz provides a stunningly creative example of a video resume without actors (below), which would be a great option for the camera-shy.
Choose your set wisely (or not at all) – Test out a few shots of your video CV first to make sure you have adequate lighting and clear sound. Make sure your “set” looks good on camera and is clean, neat and generally well-organised and presented. This goes for you, too – make sure you look professional! If hosting your video in the “real” world just isn’t going to work out, you can create great videos using PowerPoint with a bit of creativity.
Soundtrack – You can use Youtube’s “audioswap” feature to add a legal soundtrack to your Youtube CV. Otherwise, programmes such as Creative Commons Search can help you find tracks available under a Creative Commons licence.
Post-production – Various types of free editing software are available. Of these, Windows Movie Maker is generally recommended as offering a good range of functions (although don’t expect too much, remember this is shareware) and being easy to use. If you have some technical experience, you can try out top professional software such as Premiere Pro and After Effects for free for thirty days to see if it would be of any use. YouTube Annotations may also be handy for creating a clickable video.
Be creative – Simply reading out your CV is a waste of video potential. Play with adding on text, shapes and headings to your video CV as this video does, try making an interactive video CV or use your video resume to tell an original story.
Don’t embarrass yourself – Imagine you’re sitting in a room full of people you don’t know, and your video CV comes on overhead. Would you feel embarrassed? In which case, it’s probably not the best idea to send it off to potential employers (which is essentially the same thing).
Keep it short – About 1-2 minutes should be enough. Don’t forget that the “10 second” principle also applies here – if employers don’t like what they see in the first shots, your carefully-produced video CV is likely to end up straight in the bin. Remember: Dawn Siff managed it in seven seconds.
Seek professional help – If, despite all your efforts, your audiovisual CV still retains that “home video” feel, you’d probably be better off leaving things to the experts. Plenty of professional companies will be able to help you to produce a video CV – at a charge, of course.