How to make a video CV

Video CVs – or VCVs – are a bit like Marmite in the recruitment world; people either love or hate them. Whichever camp you fall into, they’ve cornered a niche in the world of recruitment in recent years, and while they’re not suitable for every job, for areas of work where personality counts, a VCV is worth considering.

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When to use a VCV

In careers where you are judged on how you come across – sales, PR and marketing roles for example – few application methods can beat the video CV. You might mention your great presentation skills, enthusiasm for the role and friendly personality on a paper CV, but a VCV really shows off those skills. Video applications can also be helpful in the digital sector: if you’re applying for a job in new media, what better way to show off your knowledge than by engaging with the tools that you talk about?


The cons

Before rushing off to set up a pop-up Hollywood film set in your garage, there are some downsides to video CVs that you should consider. Even though they’ve been around for a number of years, few recruiters expect a VCV, and there’s a danger they might not watch it from beginning to end. After all, it takes more effort to engage for a full 2-3 minutes watching a computer screen than it does to cast an eye over a paper CV. It’s also pretty difficult to get your career and education history across in such a short amount of time on screen, and do it in an engaging way that’s shows off a sparkling personality as opposed to a misplaced arrogance.

However the biggest gripe about VCV is on the grounds of discrimination. Some HR specialists go pale at the thought of them as they open the floodgates to the potential for all sorts of trouble.



If you fancy having a go at creating your own video application, there are some things to think about before you begin. Just like the no-more-than-two-sides-of-A4 rule when it comes to paper CVs, the golden rule of the VCV is no more than 2 - 3 minutes max. Other things to consider include:

  • Content: Develop your VCV like a story, with a structured beginning, middle and end. Script it before you begin, but don’t just read staccato from an autocue. Don’t forget to introduce yourself properly at the start of the video and explain why you’ve produced the clip. Leave contact details at the end of the video, too – email address, phone number, and any professional social media sites you have.

  • Practicalities: Before you send off your application to an employer, try to get objective, honest feedback from a friend, family member or colleague. Label any CDs or DVDs you send out clearly with your contact details; it’s a good idea to enclose a paper CV too, should anyone want your details for quick reference.

  • Technical considerations: However you decide to produce your video, make sure the video is clear, well lit and in focus. While a shaky mobile phone recording might not be the best production method, you don’t need to pay through the nose for swish video editing software. Free software can do just the job these days, from Microsoft Movie Maker on Windows, to Apple iMovie on Macs. There’s also Wax and Zwei-Stein, which you can download free.


Make the move from paper

With a well thought through approach and a bit of creative flair, there’s no doubt a video CV can enhance your job application in ways that would be impossible for the humble paper CV. If it suits the role you’re applying for, why not break free from the limitations of Microsoft Word and try the multimedia CV?


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