You are a brand.
You are Coke, Apple or Adult Swim. Everything you send into the world says something about your brand, whether you’re posting a resume on LinkedIn or handing over a business card to the guy sitting next to you on your flight to Atlanta. When you’re looking to impress potential employers, it makes sense to go beyond the traditional “resume-cover letter” tandem. After all, it’s a good bet a percentage of your competition is.
Obviously, you do need a written cover letter — everyone does. It’s a critical component of any professional introduction, as you need to clearly state your goals and detail your skills. A video cover letter, however, can be your brand’s Just do it/Think Different moment. Its message isn’t about the hard facts, it’s about your soft skills: how you communicate; how you present yourself; your personality. These are the intangibles missing from a sheet of paper and a word document.
From first concept to final cut, a video cover letter requires careful consideration. If not executed properly, it can prove to do more harm than good and you certainly don’t want that. So although there are no specific rules, there are guidelines it would be wise to consider...
Your video should only be 30-60 seconds in length.
This might seem to be a simple point but it's very easy to go past that minute. As Headhunter guru Nick Corcodilos argues, “If HR people don’t have adequate time to read resumes, how can you seriously suggest to job hunters that personnel jockeys are going to sit and watch videos for hours?” And he has a fair point. Keep in mind, it’s not Citizen Kane, it’s your brand’s Super Bowl spot. You want to grab their attention, not make them move past you.
But there are exceptions to that rule — er, all those guidelines.
A great way to get some ideas of what to say and how to say it is using the YouTube Director App. We're huge fans of this plug-and-play video app.
Creativity goes a long way.
For example, to drive home his strong work ethic, job candidate James Corne went creative and scored big by spoofing an AA meeting and positioning himself as a workaholic. Given the subject matter, it was slightly risky but he maintains a professional tone throughout the video so the idea holds your attention. Entertainment value means not just a captive audience but also a larger one. Entertaining equals sharing, and when it comes to video cover letters, the more eyes on them, the better.
That said, if high concept isn’t your thing, not to worry. A creative video isn’t for everyone, nor is it necessarily appropriate for every position. It’s important to know both your audience and your comfort zone. Going simple can be just as effective as going big. But avoid falling into the trap of just reciting your resume. There’s a good chance potential employers are looking at it when they press play, anyway. If you're following the straightforward approach, aim for engaging and precise. In other words, approach it essentially the same you would sitting in an interview.
Nobody does a better job representing your brand than you.
The internet is littered with video cover letter missteps. Lengthy content, unscripted explanations and a lack of confidence all serve to work against you. The solution? Don’t just say you have the skills and enthusiasm for the position, show it with your delivery and your message. No matter what approach you decide to take, be prepared. Be yourself. Be the star of your spot.
Here's one way to craft your video resume script.
- Introduce yourself and the position you're looking for
- Give a brief one or two sentence example of your past experience as it relates to the position you're looking for
- Explain how you excel or stand out in your current role or past roles
- Toot you're own horn here! Share what makes you unique or easy to work with
- Close with a strong and succinct statement that gives the viewer a wrap up of who you are and why you're the best candidate.
This all may seem daunting, but you don’t necessarily have to Climb Everest for a professional looking video, just grab your smartphone, a tripod some good natural light and press record.
You’ll find a number of options online but the simplest way is through YouTube. Their Director app gives you easy steps to execute a video without tearing your hair out. Seriously, this app is a gem! However, if you’d like a hand at developing a concept, writing a script, or getting the right shot, StellaPop is here to help. We can help you produce the video resume that gets you your dream gig.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to get the ball rolling. We’re ready for your close-up.