Tips for Creating a Video Resume (and When You Need One)

The next best thing to meeting in person
AJ_Watt / Getty Images

A video resume is a short video created by a candidate for employment and uploaded to the internet (or emailed to a hiring manager) for prospective employers to review. In the video, the candidate shares detailed information about their skills and experience.

Typically, this video is used to supplement, not replace, a paper resume. As with a print resume, it's possible for the video resume to be either general or targeted toward a particular position or company. It can be created by a professional for you, or you can create your own. Some job search and networking sites provide a means for users to incorporate video resumes into their profiles.

How a Video Resume Can Help

Depending on your industry, a video resume could be a helpful add-on to your job application. It's important to keep in mind that a video resume isn't going to get you a job. However, it can assist you in marketing yourself to prospective employers—if it's done right. 

Should You Create a Video Resume? 

Creating a video resume is an optional task for job seekers. It's quite rare for companies to require or request a video resume from candidates. A Robert Half survey reports that most companies (78%) prefer traditional resumes, either a Word Document or PDF. Only 3% were interested in video resumes or infographics.

For some job seekers, particularly ones in visual or creative fields, a video resume can highlight valuable skills. For instance, a video resume is useful for showing any type of performance-based work, whether it involves acting on stage, teaching a class, or presenting quarterly numbers.

Also, a video resume can be an excellent way to show off your personality; for people in client-facing roles, whose work involves charming prospective buyers, a video resume may be beneficial.

However, if your role is not very visual, then a video resume might not help further your candidacy. You should also be mindful that it's easy to miscalculate in a video resume—that is, there's a high risk of the script, filming style, or location being inappropriate.

If you make your video resume yourself and have little filming experience, your video might come across as unprofessional.

Keep in mind that, as with anything on the internet, once your video file is out there, you cannot control how it's shared. 

An unprofessional or inappropriate video resume can hinder your chances of getting an interview. In a worst-case scenario, a poorly conceived and executed video resume can knock you out of contention and embarrass you.

Some hiring managers will not even view video resumes since they fear claims of discrimination in the hiring process. So, while a video resume can be a great way to get noticed, consider your options carefully before getting started to ensure that a video resume is the right fit for you, and a good use of your time.

Tips for Creating a Video Resume

If you're considering creating a video resume as part of your job search, keep these tips in mind:

  • Be professional: Dress as you would for an interview and maintain a professional demeanor. Avoid slang and, of course, cursing. Be cautious when it comes to jokes. What's funny to you may not make others laugh. 
  • Find a good background: Pay attention to the background of shots: make sure it looks tidy and that there are no noises in the background. You'll also want to make sure the lighting is good. A shadow across half of your face can be distracting.  
  • Prepare a script: Don't ad-lib your video. You want to seem natural and off the cuff, but should have a sense of what you want to say and how you want to phrase it. Do not read directly from a script or from your resume, as that leads to a dull video. Think of the video as a pitch for why a particular company should hire you. As such, your main objective should be to express what benefits you'll provide the company, as well as your goals, skills, and accomplishments. 
  • Know your audience: As you plan your script and filming location, consider who will watch the video and calibrate accordingly. For instance, a video prepared for a position at a bank might differ from a video created for a start-up.
  • Show, don't tell: Use visuals to illustrate what you're saying in the video script, ones that showcase your talents and skills. For instance, if you're applying for a job where presentations are a significant part of the role, you can film B-roll of yourself assembling a PowerPoint. If any of your presentations were recorded, use that footage in your video resume.
  • Keep it brief: Videos should be between 30 and 90 seconds. Anything longer than that is unlikely to be watched.
  • Share with friends and family: Getting feedback from others is an important step. Ask a few people to watch your video, and make edits and changes based on their comments. 

Always keep in mind that once your video is on the internet, you no longer have control over who sees it or how it's shared. Take feedback from friends and family seriously. If they think it's a misfire, do not send the video to potential employers. 

Video Resume Don'ts

  • Don't mix your personal life with your professional one. If you have information on your Facebook or Twitter page that you'd prefer employers don't see, don't link your video resume to them.
  • Don't expect your video resume to replace your traditional resume. Not all employers are interested in a video resume, and others are worried about discrimination issues, such as hiring candidates because of how they look and sound rather than their qualifications. However, a well-done video can bolster your candidacy for employment. 

Key Takeaways

  • A video resume may not be necessary: Consider your industry, your target role, and the companies you're applying to before creating one. 
  • Be professional: If you do create a resume, keep it professional, from your outfit to the production value. Make sure it's short and will ultimately benefit your application instead of detracting from it. 
  • Get feedback: Share your video with your mentors, trusted colleagues, and friends and family. Ask for opinions and revise the video accordingly. 

Article Sources

  1. FlexJobs. "Why Video Resumes Are on the Rise." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

  2. Robert Half. "Best Resume Format." Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.

  3. GobalHR. "Are Video Resumes a Good Idea?" Accessed Jan. 13, 2020.