Seven Tips for Creating an Effective Video Resume

A professional video résumé can get your foot in the door; a bad one can ensure you don't get an interview.

1. Clearly state the reasons why employers should hire you over other applicants. Prepare your elevator pitch before you sit down to record your video résumé. Your elevator pitch should include your unique selling proposition—a statement that tells potential employers the main reason you are different from the rest. In other words, it tells employers what makes you the best applicant for the job. Here is an example:

"I'm an experienced business analyst whose strengths are listening to my clients, translating their needs into technical requirements and solving problems for them, just as if I were doing the same for my family. These strengths have been the cornerstone of my success in every position I've held in my career."

When you record your video, deliver your unique selling proposition with confidence.

2. Keep it simple. Don't give too much information. You want to whet employers' appetites to know more about you. For example, you may want to introduce yourself, present your unique selling proposition and give a couple of sentences telling the prospective employer something relevant about what you can offer her. Since the video résumé presents you with an opportunity to differentiate yourself, be sure to say something the employer can't get from your traditional résumé. End with an invitation to check out even more interesting information on your résumé.

3. Less is more. Keep your video short and concise. Time goes quickly when you're talking, but it can drag when you watch the playback. The last thing you want to do is bore the hiring manager, so keep your message under two minutes—and preferably between 60 and 90 seconds—just long enough to inspire the employer to take action. The goal of your video résumé is to get potential employers to consider you a qualified candidate and secure an interview. Your video résumé should be a short, inspiring presentation.

4. Don't wing it. Before you record, think about how you want the employer to feel when she watches your video résumé. Write down the points you need to make to accomplish your goal and read them aloud. Do your statements convey the message you believe will inspire an employer to interview you? If not, keep working at it until you're comfortable with how your "script" sounds. Replace any wording or phrases that are difficult to pronounce or say clearly. We all speak differently than we write, so write your script in a conversational tone.

5. Professional doesn't mean overly serious. A video résumé can be unique and professional at the same time. It's meant to show your personality. You want to project your professionalism and personality with enthusiasm, so smile and deliver your message with confidence. Imagine you are talking with the perfect employer for you, and she already likes what she sees.

6. Pay attention to your attire and environment. Your video résumé is your first impression, so dress for it as though it is an interview, appropriately for your industry and position. Not everyone may need to wear a suit, but employers expect professionalism, and that starts with your appearance.

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Your video will include some background that's visible in the shot. Make sure it's not something like a cluttered desk or a dirty or damaged wall. Try standing against a relatively bare wall or sitting in a neatly organized office. You want employers to focus on you and your message, not be distracted by what's behind you.

7. Be mindful of your body language. A large percentage of human communication is non-verbal, so be aware of what your body language is telling employers about you. Try not to fold your arms across your chest or have your hands on your hips. While it's OK to use your hands to accentuate, watch out for unnecessary movements. Be conscious about spinning your chair back and forth or bobbing your head from side to side. Keep your arms and hands by your side or crossed behind you unless you're using them to drive home an important point.

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Nick Murphy is the CEO of WorkBlast, a company that hosts and showcases job seekers' video résumés.

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