Mastering the video resume

Posted October 13, 2011, by Andrea Riddell

You can spend weeks perfecting your resume: selecting the perfect font that represents who you are, finding the right alignment for your bullet points and weighing up the pros and cons of hard versus soft copy. And this is all before you’ve decided what to include in it. Many a time your labour of love can end up lost in a sea of resumes on the recruiter’s desk.

It’s vital that you make your resume stand out to the recruiter and this can be achieved not only through the content but also through the delivery. For many industries, video resumes can be a great way to remove yourself from the pulp and show recruiters your personality. It will also make it easier for people to remember your name if they can attach a face to it. Here are some tips on how to create the perfect video resume.

Think about your audience

Video resumes are not appropriate for every job or industry. If you’re applying for a more traditional role or a role with a conservative company, it is probably recommended that you leave the video resume at home.

Before you embark on your video-making adventure, bear in mind who you are making your video for, and for what job. Make sure it’s targeted to the role. If the position requires someone with a bubbly, outgoing personality, make sure you convey that. Hone your video to be job- and industry-specific.

Make it different

Your video resume will sit alongside your traditional resume, not in its place. Therefore make sure that both differ in content – and length. A video resume is not a clip of you reading out your resume. It is your chance to engage and start a conversation with the interviewer, so use it wisely.

Show them who you are and what you are capable of achieving. Use the medium to show your enthusiasm and convince them that you’re a perfect match for the company by aligning your skills and experience with the position.

Keep it tasteful

There is a fine line between video resume and home movie. Remember that you are still applying for professional employment and you need to convey this professionalism and show that you have taken your application seriously. You do want it to be entertaining but steer clear of making the interviewer feel like they’re at an amateur stand-up comedian night.

You want to make an impression, but for all the right reasons. Try to emulate the vibe of the company – this means dressing and acting the part. You don’t want to look too casual if you’re applying for the role of a suit or look too corporate and conservative if you’re pitching to a funky design company.

It’s incredibly easy for your video resume to fall into the cheesy category. The best way to avoid this is to be yourself and keep your content as natural and honest as you can.

Keep it simple

Even though you may feel like the next Steven Spielberg, keep in mind that this video is heading for the HR department, not the box office. Don’t make your video convoluted with special effects – unless, of course, you’re applying for a job in special effects. It needs to be a balance between showcasing yourself and your skills.

Avoid making your video run longer than the one-minute mark. You don’t want to make your resume so long that the interviewers require an intermission midway.

Make it accessible

You need to make your video easy for recruiters to access and view. There is no point spending months creating a masterpiece if HR requires a home entertainment centre just to watch it.

If you’re providing a hard copy of your resume, then send in your video on a CD-ROM or DVD disc. If you’re emailing your documents, upload your video to YouTube and place a link in your resume and cover email. It’s also a good idea to add a link to your clip to your LinkedIn or Twitter profile.

Be creative

Here is your chance to showcase your skills and talents. Don’t make the recruiter regret taking the time to watch your clip. Your video needs to convince them that you deserve the job or at the very least an interview.

While it doesn’t have to involve state-of-the-art special effects, a little sophistication and editing won’t go astray. If you’re applying for a role in a creative industry, then make sure you display some of that creative energy that’s going to get you hired. 


Don’t be fooled by TV presenters who make performing on camera look like a breeze – it’s not. It takes a lot of practice, so don’t be disheartened if your first attempts look like they should appear on Funniest Home Videos. Be prepared to do a lot of takes but try to stay natural and relaxed – and don’t forget to smile!

Andrea Riddell

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