CVs & Covering Letters

Creating a video CV or portfolio

Learn how to get yourself seen by using a video as an alternative to a CV on paper.

Have you ever found yourself sending off CVs while thinking ‘if only I could show this employer what I’m really like’?

Well, savvy graduates are using an up and coming tool to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of recruiters.

It’s called the video CV.

A video CV or portfolio is becoming increasingly popular, but there’s still time to get in there before most people and use it to your advantage in your job search with our simple guide.

The Advantages

It shows initiative

Imagine that you’re a recruiter and you’re tasked with looking through CVs all day long. In your inbox, you find a video CV that gives you a real insight into a candidate. It’ll definitely stand out and show that you can think outside of the box.

Not only this but you are showing that you are up to date with technology and able to handle modern techniques. Imagine the first people that made their CV on a computer and how creative they would have looked.

Plus, as most students know, watching a video is a lot more interesting than reading.

It’s very low cost

Most of the time, creating a video CV is totally free. You don’t even have to pay the cost of a stamp!

The only cost is time. You might also plan to use a piece of video editing software to add final touches which may set you back a little bit.

It doesn’t require any equipment that you probably don’t already have

Most of us now have smartphones and laptops that can create videos. There’s no need to go out and buy any fancy or expensive equipment.

Just make sure that you have a good enough camera phone as a poorly shot video that looks like it’s been filmed on a potato might not be the best way to impress an employer.

Show your personality

It’s sometime hard to put across your full personality on a piece of paper. If you are someone that is generally confident but not cocky it can be hard to show this.

With a video CV you can show an employer what you are really like as they can see your body language.

The disadvantages

Discrimination is a possibility

Even though there are robust discrimination laws in place when it comes to employment and the recruitment process, this sadly doesn’t mean that it never happens.

By showing more of your personality and coming face-to-face with the employer, you could find that you’re discriminated against for certain traits that they wouldn’t usually pick up on at this stage. This could be something as simple as an accent.

It won’t be suitable for every position

Many big organisations have strict guidelines when it comes to their recruitment process. If you’re applying for a graduate programme, for example, you’ll probably have to submit a standard online form that doesn’t allow for any attachments or links.

A video CV may be perfect for a digital marketing job but maybe not for a mechanic for example…

It can be hard to make it look professional

Unless you’re a budding filmmaker, it can be difficult to give your video the professional edge. If you’re not careful, a badly shot video could do more harm than good.

Hints and tips

Do Some Research

Make sure you check out some other examples of video CVs on YouTube to get an idea of what the standard is.

There will be a mixture of qualities but you should be able to see for yourself which ones are the best to emulate yourself.

How to film it

As mentioned, you can film your video CV using a smartphone or laptop. Just make sure that the device is secured in a dock before you start.

As stated, you will also need to take a look at how good the quality of your camera is.

How to structure it

There’s no right or wrong way to structure your video, so feel free to get creative and do whatever feels best.

If you’re struggling though, you might want to start with an overview that covers a brief introduction to your skills and talents, then explain a little about why you want to work in your chosen field and why you think you’d be good at it.

Keep it quite short – anything less than three minutes would be ideal.

What to wear

Wear exactly what you’d wear for a job interview. First impressions are important, so business dress is advisable and stick to the usual rules about minimal make-up, etc.

That’s not to say that if they can’t see your bottom half that you can’t be sitting in your boxers/knickers with a shirt on. Just try not to stand up half way through.

Where to film

If possible, do your filming against a plain background with no clutter hanging around. The last thing you want to be showing an employer is your dirty washing hanging around your bedroom!

You could also film at a smart desk in your house if you have one.

Where to submit

Upload your video to YouTube and share your link in any applications that you make. You could also link to it from your LinkedIn account, or Twitter if you use it to try to build your career.

Are you thinking about creating a video CV? We’d love to see the results!