The Do's and Don'ts when using Video Resumes

Given the ever-increasing popularity of video channels like Vimeo and YouTube, which now has over a billion users, almost one-third of everyone on the Internet, it’s no surprise that the use of videos in the recruitment process has also risen.


Employers have used video interviews for a number of years as a means to screen candidates and in the United States 60 per cent of hiring managers and recruiters are using some form of video interviewing[1]. Job hunters are now using video resumes to bolster their chances of nailing a dream role. However, like any digital communication tool, there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to broadcasting your intentions to potential employers.


Things you should do when using video resumes:

  • Prepare and practice: Ensure you know exactly what you want to say and then practice it. Structure your pitch focusing on three key areas: share something about yourself outside of work (interests, volunteering etc), what you like about the company and why you want to work for them, and why you’d be great for the role you’re applying for.  
  • Keep it relevant: Make sure that video format is appropriate for the company or sector you’re applying to. Creative environments including advertising, media, PR, marketing and sales and customer-facing roles lend themselves best to digital content. Having said that, provided the video is professional, it can be used for most industries and shows prospective employers you’re willing to go the extra mile to impress them.
  • Opt for quality: Shaky cameras, shoddy sound or tacky designs and images will turn your audience off so invest in quality gear that demonstrates you’re technically sound or better yet get the help of a professional. A good place to start is a design school or technical college where you can tap into budding filmmakers and designers.
  • Convey confidence: You need to be confident about the value you can bring to potential employers and you need to clearly convey this on video. Body language is important, ensure you also maintain eye contact directly into the camera and display a happy and cheerful approach.
  • Go for brevity: The video should be short and sweet; this means no more than two to three minutes, 60 seconds is an ideal length.


Things you should avoid:

  • Regurgitating your written resume: A video resume is intended to enhance not replace a well-written resume so don’t read out your resume or cover letter. A good video should provide an insight into your personality and it gives you an opportunity to speak for yourself and illustrate all you have to offer.
  • Poorly selected recording environments: A well considered environment and backdrop makes a big difference when setting the scene for your video resume, so ensure the area you’re filming is well lit, clean and professional. This doesn’t mean it has to be sterile and uninviting, just ensure it reflects the culture and context of the company you’re pitching to. A room with loads of natural light, a few plants and a quiver of neatly stored boards will make a better impression than your housemate’s washing, three days’ worth of dirty dishes and gratuitous Alana Blanchard arse shots plastered on the wall behind you.
  • Distractions: Avoid fidgeting, shuffling papers or jingling keys (or any noisy items) when you’re on video. If you naturally use hand gestures and movement when you speak then don’t hold back, just ensure it comes across professionally and doesn’t serve as a distraction from what you’re saying. 
  • Reading ‘off camera’ scripts: Practice what you want to say but don’t parrot off a script or try to refer to one when on camera. You’re speaking about yourself and should do it in an authentic (but professional) way so it shouldn’t be a big issue to remember what you want to talk about. 
  • Anything you wouldn’t do in a normal interview: Remember, like everything online your video resume needs to be something you’re prepared to share with anyone. If it’s not something you’d do or say in a face-to-face meeting then don’t do it on video.


Video interviews are a great tool that enables you to go beyond the traditional methods of job applications. If you believe you have something unique to offer and can confidently communicate this on video then why not give it a shot. Bear in mind that some employers may be hesitant about accepting video resumes because of potential legalities around perceived discrimination, so it’s worth checking that video resumes are accepted before you jump into the recording studio. 

[1] Survey conducted in 2015 by US-based company Software Advice

Posted by: Jaclyn Knight, on November 12, 2015
Categories: Articles