The job search is probably the ultimate place where, as the saying goes, “everybody is standing, but you need to stand out.” For increasing numbers of job seekers, the way to stand out is with a video resume.

A video resume is a short digital video that serves as a companion or complement to the full resume (but is not a substitute for it). Job seekers post their video resume online and link it from their resume or cover letter. If the resume or cover letter sparks an interest in the candidate, employers may click on the link to access the video resume.

A good resume – one that you build from scratch, or with the help of a resume builder – should always leave employers wanting more. A video resume can be that “more” – enough so that the hiring team can’t wait to meet the person in the video.

Successful video resumes range in length from 60-90 seconds but can be as long as 2-3 minutes. Typically, they demonstrate specific skills included in resumes and provide a work sample illustrating how those skills might apply in a particular role. Video resumes can preemptively address questions often asked in the screening process, and accelerate getting qualified candidates cleared for the interview phase.

What are the essential ingredients?

A video resume must be highly professional, both in content and production quality. That requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources. If you have limited experience creating videos for business use, you should probably obtain assistance from someone who has.

Those producing their own video resumes will need a high-quality video camera and a tripod. The video resume is no place for cinéma vérité – no jitter, weird framing, dizzying angles, or out-of-focus effects. A professional-looking location is also necessary.

It must also have a highly focused script, using the language you normally use in your professional life. A good script will make you come across as natural and confident, not stilted or awkward.

Where most video resumes falter is in lighting and sound. Household floor lamps and built-in microphones are almost always inadequate. Dark images, grainy footage, tinny sound, or ambient noise will make even the best candidate look cringingly unprofessional.

Finally, you will need solid video editing tools. For straightforward editing, free software such as Windows MovieMaker or Apple iMovie is usually sufficient. For those wanting to include animations or sophisticated cuts, a more advanced package such as Adobe Premiere or CyberLink PowerDirector will probably be necessary.

For what kinds of job seekers do video resumes work best?

The fundamental purpose of a video resume is to add value to your regular resume, o that you stand out as a candidate. In the past, a video resume could not deliver on that for most candidates.

But in the age of digital business, there are several situations where a video resume can benefit job seekers. Video resumes are a unique opportunity to show work samples to a potential employer, using delivery methods that would actually be used on the job. Examples include roles in digital media, content marketing, content production, product management, UX/UI, and promotions.

Video resumes also provide a rich opportunity to demonstrate strong presentation skills for roles where they are absolutely essential. Examples include sales representatives, training professionals, instructors, financial managers, field marketers, health educators, attorneys, and journalists. Broader examples include candidates expected to be thought leaders or industry influencers.

Finally, video resumes are finding a niche for new college graduates, particularly applicants to high-volume types of openings, where multiple candidates are hired having a similar profile.

Are video resumes just a fad, or are they here to stay?

Video resumes have been around in some form since the 1980s. But only recently have they piqued the interest of recruiters and hiring managers outside of a small niche. According to research conducted by The Vault, 89 percent of employers stated that they would view a video resume, even though only 17 percent have actually viewed one previously. Their number one reason for wanting to view a video resume? To evaluate professional presence and presentation skills.

Only time will tell whether video resumes are just another glitzy fad. But what’s not going away is the digital job search. It is changing the ways job seekers stand out. Digitization of work is not going away either. For many digital workers, proficiency in digital media is just as important as a job skill as it is a job seeking skill.

Since 2005, LiveCareer has been helping jobseekers write persuasive cover letters, develop better interview skills, and create resumes via our free resume builder. Check out our collection of free, professionally written resume templates and cover letter templates, all of which are organized by industry and job title. Also find guidance on how to answer some of the most common interview questions you could face in an interview situation.

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