Video Resume Standards

I was researching social media trends, hiring practices and how video resumes fit into the picture over the weekend and found one recurring complaint about video resumes… a lack of standards.

When you submit your resume to an employer, there are certain guidelines that you follow to ensure your resume is effective and taken seriously. For example, you probably wouldn’t stick a big purple crossword puzzle in the middle of your resume, nor would you talk about grandma’s big BBQ family reunion. You list your skills and job experience, probably give some examples of successful projects…

Even at an interview there are certain standards. Bring copies of your resume and a pen. Dress up. Don’t talk about controversial topics such as politics or religion. Research the company and be prepared to ask a few questions.

However, people do strange things in video resumes in the name of “standing out”. First of all, simply providing a video resume IS standing out. There’s no need to write your own sitcom for the company’s viewing pleasure.

Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts for producing a video resume that will allow you to stand out, without wasting the viewers time (and yours).

DO

Create a script;
A storyboard or script will help you organize your video. Reading it from a teleprompter can save you from having to memorize, and allows you to make good eye contact.

Introduce yourself;
Start by mentioning your name (first & last), and then tell a little summary about yourself. Let the employer know who you are and why they should continue watching this video.

Focus on results;
Tell employers what QUANTIFIABLE RESULTS you’ve delivered for other companies or on other projects & what you can do for them.

Focus on your professional endeavors;
It’s ok to talk about volunteer work you do in your spare time or recreational hobbies if they show positive qualities that the company may appreciate, but focus primarily on your professional skills and experience.

Be concise;
Keep your video between 1-3 minutes long. (Less than 2 minutes if you’re posting your video resume on FaceBook). Time flies when you are taping it, but not when a potential employer is watching. Anything over 3 minutes is just too long!

Be thankful;
Don’t forget to end your video by thanking the employer for their time and consideration.

Provide contact information;
If they liked what they saw, make sure they can contact you.

Practice, Practice, Practice;
Get used to talking about yourself with confidence. If you don’t sound natural, change the script. Practice in front of a mirror to get a feel for your facial expressions.

DON’T

Do Not Just start right in;
Take a moment to establish who you are & why they should continue to watch. The first 20 seconds are the most important.

Do Not Tell your life story;
Keep the video short and the information relevant to the job & industry you are applying for. One of the worst things you can do is ramble on or try too hard to make the person get to know you.

Do Not Use Run-on Sentences;
When speaking, a higher level of enthusiasm occurs at the beginning and end of the sentence. Using long, drawn-out sentences eliminates voice inflection and may not keep the viewers attention. Use short sentences when writing your script to keep enthusiasm and interest high.

Do Not Forget to thank the viewer for watching;
And invite them to contact you for further discussion

I hope this helps.

Resumes & Video Resumes – What’s the Difference?

Good morning (if it’s morning for you). I’ve been involved in some interesting conversations in a few LinkedIn groups that got me to thinking about the difference between resumes and video resumes, and how they work together.

It’s important to understand that the video resume is not intended to replace the “paper” resume. They are 2 different things.

Your video resume is a way to “be seen”. You talk about yourself, show off your personality a little, and showcase your work… Let someone get to know you and your value in 3 minutes or less. It’s a good way to stand out and get noticed. And people love to view video.

The resume, on the other hand, is intended to be more specific to the job you’re applying for.

The discussion we had this morning regarded the appropriate length of a resume. The question being… “Is it ok to go beyond 2 pages? If not, how do you “trim the fat” without losing valuable content?”

The general consensus amongst recruiters and HR executives… Your resume is less likely to be viewed if it goes beyond 2 pages (unless your job is technical, then its ok).

The strongest recommendation…

  • Keep one gigantic resume with all of your skills, qualifications, experience… for yourself.
  • Read the job description carefully, research the company and the position, and create a custom (much smaller) resume containing only the information relevant to the position you’re applying for – 2 pages or less.
  • And, of course, make sure to use the same key words in your resume that the employer used in their job description.

Your resume(s) should be custom designed for each position you’re applying for. Your video resume, showcases your overall skills and personality, and is intended for all to see.

Hope this helps!

The Handshake and What It Says About You

I’ve written a few posts about body language, and how you come across in your video resume or job interview. I recently received a request to talk more about the topic (and I aims to please), so today’s topic is the handshake. – Although not relevant to a video resume, very important in an interview or face-to-face networking.

And that’s the first point. The handshake IS important. When you meet someone, SHAKE THEIR HAND. If your hands are full, free them. If they’re standing across the room, approach them. Ignoring a handshake can be seen as disrespectful, so stand up, free your hand, approach the other person and give them a good firm handshake while making eye contact and smiling.

Now, a few tips about the handshake itself:

Warm your hands. Before you meet with the interviewer, rub your hands together to warm them up, and wipe them on your clothes to make sure they’re dry. You can also sit with your hands underneath your legs to keep them warm and dry.

Free your right hand. When the interviewer enters the room, make sure your right hand is free and clear for the handshake.

Go the distance. Stand too close and you’re invading their space. Stand too far away and you appear uncomfortable and isolated. You should stand far enough away to “extend” your hand to shake theirs, but don’t stand so far away that your body has to lean forward to reach them. If’ you’re not sure, stand still, extend your hand, and let them step in to a comfortable distance.

Get a grip. Never EVER grip too tight, especially if you’re a man shaking a woman’s hand. But a weak handshake is not good either. (ladies, NEVER do the little “fingertip handshake”). Give a good solid handshake without squeezing. It’s courtious and shows confidence.

Good hand positioning. Believe it or not, the angle of your hand is significant. An “underhand shake”, where your palm is up, is a sign of submission. An “overhand shake”, where your palm is facing downward, is a sign of dominance. It’s best to make sure your palm is facing sideways, not up or down. If the interviewers palm is facing upward or downward, you should take their hand and adjust so that both your hands are vertical. This indicates a partnership and equality.

A good general rule of thumb… follow the other person’s lead with everything EXCEPT positioning, which should ALWAYS be vertical.

Hope this helps!