Did you know that an average recruiter views a candidate's resume for only 7.14 seconds during the initial screening phase?
It’s pretty hard to stand out and make an impression in such a short time without doing something unusual.
Perhaps that’s why TikTok resumes became such a big deal last year, with thousands of job seekers posting TikTok videos to get recruiters’ attention.
But the trend of video resumes is no longer limited to TikTok. Thousands of fresh graduates and experienced professionals use videos to engage with recruiters and make their job applications more compelling.
In this article, we’ll discuss how video resumes work, when it is a good idea to use them, and how you can make a video resume using Loom that opens new career opportunities for you.
What is a video resume?
A video resume is a short and engaging video that summarizes your career aspirations, achievements, and qualifications to position you as the ideal candidate for a specific job role.
They’re semi-formal videos you can shoot with your smartphone’s front camera showing your face and talking directly to the recruiter. But you can also use animated videos, screen recordings, or screen+camera videos as resumes.
Instead of replacing a conventional CV document, a video resume complements it by allowing the recruiters to see your personality and helping you build a personal connection.
In addition, a video resume helps you provide context to the information in your CV and highlight any specific points you want the recruiters to see.
Video resumes aren’t new and have been around for several years. But applicants mostly used them at the employer’s request. For example, some companies require a mandatory video career summary with a resume doc for specific positions.
However, TikTok resumed this concept last year, and since then, it has become one of the hottest trends in the recruitment space.
As you can see, it’s short, engaging, and helps the recruiter learn more about the applicant’s personality and get a sense of how they’d fit in the employer’s company culture.
Most TikTok users uploaded video resumes to their profiles, hoping a potential employer would find it and take the conversation forward.
But you can also send them as email attachments or upload them as private YouTube videos and share the link with the recruiter along with your CV.
The bigger question is, “do video resumes work?”.
Are video resumes helpful?
Using video resumes for job hunting is still an evolving trend. So, it’s early to call it the future of job applications. However, the early signs are quite encouraging.
For example, a recent LinkedIn survey found that 62% of job seekers believe sharing more about themselves using video resumes would help them get a job.
The same survey also found that 76% of hiring managers think pre-recorded videos strengthen applicants' job prospects.
Let’s quickly discuss some of the main benefits of video resumes.
Video resumes help you stand out
A video resume is perfect to get the attention of a burned-out hiring manager skimming through 250 applications. It helps you stand out and makes the recruiter’s job easier by providing them with the initial information they need to determine if you’re the right fit.
Remember, our brains are wired for visual content and can process visuals in less than 13 milliseconds. In a pile of documents, a video resume is your best chance to get noticed.
Show your values
Organizations are increasingly conscious about hiring professionals who not only possess the right skills but are also aligned with the company’s culture and values.
A video resume allows you to show your values and talk about things you and the employer care about. For example, an applicant’s unique speaking or clothing style might help them get hired at companies that value workforce diversity.
Let your personality shine
Written CVs give you very little space to show how you’re different apart from your academic and professional credentials. A video resume, on the other hand, allows you to express yourself and show your unique personality.
Build a personal connection
Recruiters can emphatize more with job seekers who apply using video resumes. Why? Because that’s human nature. It’s much easier to relate with someone you can see than a written document that reads like hundreds of others.
Potential risks and disadvantages of using video resumes
Using video resumes comes with a few risks and can backfire as well.
Recruiters are humans, and can be biased. For example, a hiring manager can silently sideline your resume because they don’t like your speaking style or if you’re from a specific community. Unfortunately, these biases still exist and can affect your hiring prospects.
The Halo Effect
The Halo Effect is when a person forms an overall opinion about someone based on one of their personality attributes. For example, a hiring manager may assume someone to be incompetent just because they stammer. Video resumes can highlight these problems and impact a recruiter’s hiring decisions.
Poor video quality and execution
It’s much better to not use a video resume than to create a poor-quality video without planning. Unscripted videos with fluff, unnecessary details, and poor production quality weaken your case.
Who should use a video resume?
Video resumes work best in the following scenarios.
Client facing roles
Video resumes are ideal for customer service, sales, marketing, or client-facing roles. They allow recruiters to determine if applicants have the professional outlook, confidence, and interpersonal skills necessary to represent their company when dealing with clients.
Media industry jobs
Your appearance, confidence, speaking style, and body language are vital in landing media industry jobs. So, video resumes are ideal for both camera-facing and behind-the-camera roles as they give employers a detailed look at your personality and determine if you’re the right fit.
Tech startup jobs
Startups are more flexible with unique and unconventional methods in all business aspects. This is why you have an excellent chance to make a strong hiring case at a startup by sharing your vision and career ambitions in a video resume.
Remote hiring includes video interviews at some stage. Such companies are already comfortable with the idea of a video resume and are likely to view it positively.
Video resume vs. Video cover letters
Video resumes and cover letters are quite similar and often used interchangeably. LinkedIn recently tested a new feature called Cover Story that allows you to add a short video cover letter to your profile. But most HR professionals refer to it as a video resume as well.
So, are video resumes and cover letters the same thing? Maybe. But when you look closely, there’s a slight difference between the two.
A video resume is a microlevel job pitch where you go into the details of your specific achievements and professional experiences.
A video cover letter also does the same but at a macro level. It’s built around your broader career vision and the impact you want to make as an individual. Instead of focusing on specific jobs or achievements, it pitches you as an overall package and solution to the employer’s needs.
Still, video resumes and cover letters have a lot in common and even the employers that accept video applications often use these terms interchangeably.
What should be the length of a video resume?
Video resumes and cover letters should ideally be 60-90 seconds long. If you want to go longer, 2 minutes or 120 seconds is the max.
Why? Because two minute videos give you enough time to pitch yourself, make your case, and share the necessary career highlights without going into the details.
If you go longer than that, you’ll risk losing the employer’s attention and make your video resume ineffective.
How to make a video resume or cover letter
Whether you’re making a video resume or a cover letter, the process is quite similar.
Here are the steps you need to follow.
Step 1: Be clear about your career goals and target employers
Before anything else, you must be clear about how your career goals align with the job you’re applying for.
Remember, your resume and cover letter are like sales pitches positioning you as the best solution for the employer’s needs.
So, list down the core skills and competencies the employer has mentioned in their job description. Then see how they align with your career goals, qualifications, and experiences.
You must believe you’re the right person for the job because your belief will reflect in your words and body language.
Step 2: Structure your message
Video resumes are short and semi-formal job pitches. But they still need to follow a structure to make it easier for the employer to understand.
There’s no fixed template for a video resume but here’s the order you should generally follow.
Introduction (name and current job title/academic majors)
Job pitch (unique selling points and how you’ll fulfill the employer’s needs - this needs to intrigue the viewer to watch the rest of the video)
Professional summary (where and what you’ve worked on)
Career highlights and achievements (measurable and benefit-driven)
Social proof (testimonials, awards, media mentions, references)
Career aspiration and why you want to make the next move
Call to action (ask a question/share the best way to contact you)
Step 3: Write your script
You don’t need a word-by-word script for your video resume as it will make you look robotic. But you still need to jot down the key points for each section of your video so that you know exactly what to cover.
Step 4: Prepare the right surroundings
Your video resume’s production quality plays a huge role in its success.
So, be very mindful of the following aspects.
It’s great if you have a DSLR camera or a recent iPhone. But even a regular smartphone camera or an HD webcam is good enough as long as you can shoot 1080p videos with clear and crisp picture quality.
If you don’t have a studio lighting setup, shoot in the morning to use natural light. Stand outside or facing a window so that your face is clearly visible and the viewer doesn’t have to wear glasses to see you. Read our quick guide to video lighting to learn more.
Your audio should be as clear as your picture quality so that the employer can hear your message easily. So, if you’re shooting outdoors, use a mic or go somewhere without traffic and surrounding noise. But for best results, shoot in a closed room with no one around
Don’t shoot in a public place where people are moving behind you and distracting the viewer. Use a green screen if you want to add supporting visuals or custom backgrounds to your video.
Step 5: Make your video resume with Loom
Loom makes it super easy to create professional video resumes and cover letters from your desktop or smartphone camera.
It enables you to create high quality screencasts, camera recordings, or screen+camera to highlight your achievements or show any additional information. In addition, it allows you to edit your videos to give them a polished look.
Here’s how to do it.
Download Loom smartphone app or install its browser extension on your desktop
Create a free account
Sign in to your account
Open the Loom app
Choose video source (screen, camera, or screen+camera)
Choose audio source (internal or external mic)
Test your mic and camera
Click Start Recording
End the recording when you’re done.
That’s how easy it is.
Step 6: Use Loom to edit your video resume
Make sure you edit your Loom video before sharing it with an employer.
Here’s how to do it:
When you stop your video recording, Loom takes you to the editing interface.
Trim your video to remove any unnecessary parts
Add a clip anywhere in your video to provide more context
Add subtitles to improve the viewing experience
Add a call to action button at the end of your video
Save the video once you complete the editing process
Step 7: Apply!
When you’re ready to apply, Loom allows you to directly email your video, share it with specific individuals or use a publicly accessible URL.
Examples of good video resumes and video cover letters
Before wrapping up, let’s quickly view some video resume examples worth emulating.
Video Resume Example 1: Fresh Visual Designer
In this video resume, Arthur perfectly sums up his academic qualification and skills in less than 90 seconds with engaging visuals and crips video quality.
Video Resume Example 2: Virtual Assistant
In this video resume, Marie positions herself as a freelance virtual assistant and social media manager by demonstrating her design, editing, and content creation skills.
Video Resume Example 3: Front-end Developer
Laura’s introduction is slightly longer than usual but her content is engaging and very well designed which makes it a strong video resume example.
It’s too early to say that but they’re certainly making an impact and helping job applicants stand out in crowded inboxes. View them as a part of your overall job application package, complementing your written CV and providing more context to your target employer. With Loom, you can have your video resume in just a few minutes.