Video résumés are gaining in popularity on TikTok and elsewhere, so chances are your students might be submitting one soon. If they’re unsure how to go about preparing a video résumé, here are five essential tips you can give them to set them on their way to success.
1. Outline Your Video
The first question students are probably asking themselves is: What on earth am I going to say in my video résumé? Writing a script and sticking to it word for word can feel very stiff and robotic; you’re not giving yourself room to show who you really are. But you don’t just freewheel it, either!
So, before they get in front of a camera, students must learn how to create an outline of the points they want to cover, paying special attention to any specific requests in the job posting. If the listing says, “Tell us about your experience creating a content strategy” or “We want to know what makes you tick,” advise them to talk about that in a natural way.
The outline can be pretty loose, but your students should be sure to cover things like:
- Their names
- The positions they’re applying for
- Why they’re applying for the job
- A brief rundown of their career achievements so far
Having a list of things they want to include and in what order will help students avoid the “umms” and “errs,” which won’t make them sound like the confident and professional people they are.
2. Mind the Quality of Your Video
Using an iPhone 6, fluorescent lighting, and an untidy bedroom to make a video résumé isn’t going to cut it. Your students need to present a polished look and feel to their videos, even if they’re not pros at video production. Encourage your students to seek out the following elements they’ll need to plan and prepare:
- A good-quality camera—a phone is OK but they’ll need to make sure that it records in at least 720p.
- A quiet space without traffic, office, or family noise in the background.
- Good lighting—natural light flowing from beside them is best, but a reasonably priced ring light is the next best option.
- A neutral background without busy patterns, mess, or distractions.
Your students can consider using effects such as text graphics if they want to emphasize information like their skills and achievements, but advise them to keep the effects simple and unfussy. The focus of the video résumés should be the students and the words they say.
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3. Smile and Be Enthusiastic
Just like when you make it through to the interview stages, you need to make sure you smile and show your enthusiasm for the role you’re applying for. Smiling at the beginning of your video shows that you’re open and happy to be making your video.
When was the last time you watched a YouTube video to the end with someone looking bored and disengaged? Students want their future employers to watch their videos all the way through, so encourage them to practice a bright tone—this is the first time the employers are going to them, after all. But there is a balance to strike; you come across as nervous or insincere if you smile too much.
Have your students make sure to do all of the following:
- Smile at the start of their video résumés.
- Talk naturally during the video without forcing a smile.
- Avoid telling jokes—they don’t know what the recruiter’s humor is like.
- Look directly into their cameras to keep the recruiter engaged.
- Give a final smile at the end as they wave and say goodbye.
4. Keep Track of Your Viewing Data
Knowing where to host your video résumé is an important part of the process. It may seem intuitive to edit your video together, add it as an attachment to your email, and hit “send.” But when you do that, how can you know if your video has been watched? Knowing if your video résumé has been watched means you can time your follow-up email just right.
There are many ways your students can check when their video résumés have been opened and viewed. Some of the tools they can use include:
- Loom: free and lets you record your webcam and screen, send a video as a link, and get notified when your video has been viewed.
- Bonjoro: a paid-for service after a 14-day trial that lets you record and send videos and see how many times a video has been watched.
- YouTube: lets you upload videos that are set to private so only the people with the link can view it, letting you track viewer data.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice, Then Hit “Send”
Few people are good on camera in their first take, so your students need to make sure they practice. Encourage them to get comfortable in front of the camera—they can try recording some videos for their friends and family and get some feedback to start.
Next, they need to practice talking about themselves on camera. Advise them to take time to record themselves a few different ways—have them practice their tone of voice, their hand gestures, and the words they’re going to say.
As long as your students record each practice, they can evaluate their skills and see an improvement. If they happen to nail it on a practice run, they can even edit it into their final video.
Practice also gives them time to find the words that they struggle to say when talking to the camera. Words like specific, especially, statistics, and remuneration either need a lot of practice, or to be avoided if they can’t get their mouths around them.
A Final Note
Video résumés might be new, but they’re not as scary as you might think. With some preparations and practice, your students can make a great video résumé that will engage recruiters and let them know when their video has been watched. If you encourage them to put all of the above tips into practice, your students will be well on their way to securing an interview—and making their next best career step.
Originally published on Firsthand.
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