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What is a Video Resume?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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A video resume is a recorded account of a job applicant's skills, background, and suitability for the position. In some job arenas, video resumes are used more as a gimmick, but in certain professions they may be requested or even required. Video resumes often cover all of the salient points of a traditional paper resume, while allowing the employer a glimpse of the applicant's personality and manner.

Video resumes can be quite diverse in form and content. Some people choose to make a simple, elegant presentation that hints at their professionalism. Others prefer to make a video resume as entertaining as possible to try and secure an interview through sheer tenacity. Most video resumes are between one and five minutes long; anything longer risks losing the attention of the viewer.

Some basic tips for making a video resume can help it stand out. First, try to use the best camera available. Cellphone cameras or web cam recordings are often blurry, unattractive to look at, and provide poor sound. Even a simple digital video camera can provide a decent enough image for a video resume. Make sure to use a microphone system; employers may quickly lose interest if they cannot hear what is being said. Film the video in a well-lit area or rent some small film lighting equipment for the day.

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It is important to appear prepared but not fake in order to let employers feel they are really learning something about an applicant's personality. Write out a script for the video and memorize it, but make sure it sounds natural and not forced. Some people have natural skills on camera, while others struggle with nervousness and stage fright. Remember, one of the best things about using digital cameras is the ability to do multiple takes.

Many media jobs request video resumes in order to see how a person appears on camera. Jobs that may request a video resume include live broadcasting positions, acting jobs, spokesperson positions, and paid video blogging jobs. Film jobs often require a type of video resume, known as a reel, that is a compilation of film or video clips from a person's portfolio. While these showcase work rather than personality, they can serve as an excellent calling card for an editor, director, production designer, or cinematographer.

Outside of media jobs, the use of video resumes may be rare. When applying for a position, it may be a good idea to ask if the company is open to viewing one. It may also be a good idea to post a general video resume on a website or professional networking site and include a link to it on a traditional paper resume, so that employers may watch it if they so desire. In the right situation, a video resume can help set an applicant ahead of the pack. In more traditional job settings, however, video resumes can actually be construed as a sign of immaturity and may hurt chances to land an interview.

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