Your resume is the first impression you get to make with potential employers, and I have found that the most important part of a first impression is to make sure they have an experience so outstanding that it becomes memorable. A well-built resume can be a way to differentiate you from the other applicants.
Fortunately technology has advanced in the last few years to make building a memorable resume inexpensive, easy, and fun. Once you understand the etiquette of using video in your resume and the basics of shooting high quality video you will have everything you need to get started.
Below is a crash course on creating videos for your resume. If you have any tips or something I have left out, please email me at email@example.com
Etiquette for using video in a resume
Including video in your resume can be a powerful way to add a personal experience with the materials you are presenting. If done improperly, it can also be a way to scare off potential employers.
Get out of the way. So far I have found one universal rule when it comes to using video as part of a resume:
People don't like to hear someone brag about themselves. Get out of your own way and let the people recommending you do the talking. It is much more powerful this way.
If you have a tough time following this advice, know that you will get plenty of time to talk about yourself in the interview. Let your strong video recommendations get you into the interview. As a rule, the video should consist of 5% you talking and 95% other people talking.
Keep your personal life out of it. This is a professional video, employers don't want to see you at the gym, your secret talent, or a recommendation from your mom or best friend. This doesn't not mean you can't infuse some of your creativity into the process but make sure you keep it professional.
Keep it short. You should try to keep your video in the 3 - 5 minute range. I have seen some incredible videos done in under 3 minutes. If you have a lot video recommendations, it will be tempting to get all of the great things people said about you into the video. I would recommend you sit down before you start editing and make a list of the top five things you want employers to know about you. Then take a look at the raw video and select the supporting statements.
Introduce the people recommending you. A great recommendation from someone unknown means nothing. Make sure you put your recommendations in context by introducing the people by name, title, and how they know you. This makes the great things they say about you relevant.
Make sure you get a release. Below is an example of a video release I get from everyone I film.
Tell a story. Your videos should tell a story. Make sure you emphasize this point when you ask people to do a video recommendation.
Ask good questions. Asking the right questions is key to getting the answers. Here are the questions I asked for my resume:
- Can you introduce yourself (title, company, how long you have worked with your current employer, etc.)?
- Can you tell a story about working with Jeff?
- If you were to explain Jeff in three words would they be and why?
- Would you recommend Jeff to an employer and if so why?
- How would you introduce Jeff to a colleague/boss?
- Anything else to add?
Shooting High Quality Video
Everything I learned about shooting video, I learned in an afternoon from Professor Dave Echols's site.I have found the three most important elements of shooting video have nothing to do with the quality of the video camera. They consist of:
- Lighting - A couple of $7 work lights, parchment paper, and some clothespins can make video from a standard definition video camera look better than poorly lit HD video.
- Audio - Poor audio can ruin a great looking video. The microphone that is included in most video cameras won't get the audio you need for your video.
- Video production basics (composition, framing, etc.)
Professor Echol's lighting videos taught me how to build a diffused light box with really inexpensive materials. The light box set up I use currently is made from a work light with a clip, work light tripod, parchment paper and clothes line clips. I was ready to spend up to $300 for a set of two light boxes, but these work really well. I ended up spending only $30 at the local Home Depot for the two light set up.
I don't have access to a professional quality boom microphone, but I did pick up the Samson G-Track studio condenser microphone for podcasting and voiceovers a while back. I was able to convert my G-Track into quasi boom microphone by picking up a $20 mic stand. The microphone came with two very long audio cords and I hooked the mic up to camera using an analog headphone jack port.
Take time to learn how to shoot good video before you sit down to start your recommendations. It is worth every second invested. Often you won't get another chance if the raw footage you took is poor, so take some time and learn how to shoot quality video. It will also save you some time in editing process. Here are some of my favorites from Professor Echol's site:
Video Compostion Part 1
Video Composition part 2
Transitions and More
7 Basic Shots
Video Camera Quality
When it comes to buying a high quality video camera, I have a motto: Spend more time getting quality content than money buying a better video camera. That being said, you can get some incredible cameras at a great price. My personal favorite is the Sanyo Xacti HD1010. For $350 this is by far one of the best deals on the market. It is what I used to shoot my resume videos.
I used iMovie and Keynote to edit the videos in my resume. Apple provides some incredible free tutorials on how to use these powerful tools:
Have fun! This can be a fun and engaging process. If you have questions along the way, please don't hesitate to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org