5 Tips for Creating a Video Resume

Published: Oct 13, 2021

 Career Readiness       Job Search       Networking       Resumes & Cover Letters       Technology       
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Video resumes are gaining in popularity on TikTok and elsewhere, so chances are you might be submitting one soon. If you're unsure how to go about preparing a video resume, here are five essential tips to set you on your way to success.

1. Outline your video

The first question you're probably asking yourself is: What on earth am I going to say in my video resume? Writing a script and sticking to it word for word can feel very stiff and robotic; you're not giving yourself room to show who you really are. But you don't just freewheel it either!

So, before you get in front of a camera, create an outline of the points you want to cover, paying special attention to any specific requests in the job posting. If the listing says “Tell us about your experience creating a content strategy” or “We want to know what makes you tick,” you need to be sure to talk about that in a natural way. 

Your outline can be pretty loose, but be sure to cover things like:

  • Your name
  • The position you're applying for
  • Why you're applying for the job
  • A brief rundown of your career achievements so far

Having a list of things you want to include and in what order will help you avoid the “umms” and “errs,” which won’t make you sound like the confident and professional person you are. 

2. Mind the quality of your video

Using an iPhone 6, fluorescent lighting, and your untidy bedroom to make your video resume isn't going to cut it. You need to present a polished look and feel to your video, even if you’re not a pro at video production. Elements you need to plan and prepare for are:

  • A good-quality camera—a phone is OK but make sure that it records in at least 720p.
  • A quiet space without traffic, office, or family noise in the background. 
  • Good lighting—natural light flowing from beside you is best, but a reasonably priced ring light is the next best option. 
  • A neutral background without busy patterns, mess, or distractions. 

You can consider using effects such as text graphics if you want to emphasize information like your skills and achievements, but keep them simple and unfussy. The focus of your video resume should be you and the words you say. 

3. Smile and be enthusiastic

Just like when you make it through to the interview stages, you need to make sure you smile and show your enthusiasm for the role you're applying for. Smiling at the beginning of your video shows that you're open and happy to be making your video.

When was the last time you watched a YouTube video to the end with someone looking bored and disengaged? You want your future employer to watch your video all the way through, so practice a bright tone—this is the first time they're going to see you, after all. But there is a balance to strike; you come across as nervous or insincere if you smile too much.

Make sure to do all of the following:

  • Smile at the start of your video resume.
  • Talk naturally during the video without forcing a smile.
  • Avoid telling jokes—you don't know what the recruiter's humor is like.
  • Look directly into your camera to keep the recruiter engaged.
  • Give a final smile at the end as you wave and say goodbye.

4. Keep track of your viewing data

Knowing where to host your video resume is an important part of the process. It may seem intuitive to edit your video together, add it as an attachment to your email, and hit send. But when you do that, how can you know if your video has been watched? Knowing if your video resume has been watched means you can time your follow-up email just right.

There are many ways to check when your video resume has been opened and viewed. Some of the tools you can use include:

  • Loom: free and lets you record your webcam and screen, send a video as a link, and get notified when your video has been viewed.
  • Bonjoro: a paid-for service after a 14-day trial that lets you record and send videos and see how many times a video has been watched.
  • YouTube: lets you upload videos that are set to private so only the people with the link can view it, letting you track viewer data.

5. Practice, practice, practice, then hit “send”

Few people are good on camera in their first take, so you need to make sure you practice. Get yourself comfortable in front of the camera—you can try recording some videos for your friends and family and get some feedback to start. 

Next, you need to practice talking about yourself on camera. Take time to record yourself a few different ways—practice your tone of voice, your hand gestures, and the words you're going to say.

As long as you record each practice, you can evaluate your skills and see an improvement. If you happen to nail it on a practice run, you can even edit it into your final video. 

Practice also gives you time to find the words that you struggle to say when talking to the camera. Words like specific, especially, statistics, and remuneration either need a lot of practice, or to be avoided if you can't get your mouth around them. 

A final note

Video resumes might be new, but they're not as scary as you might think. With some preparations and practice, you can make a great video resume that will engage recruiters and let you know when your video has been watched. If you put all of the above tips into practice, you'll be well on your way to securing an interview—and making your next best career step.

PJ Taei is the founder and president of Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.