How to create a video CV and make your application stand out

Updated 12 April 2023

Recently, many employers have started requesting that applicants attach a video CV to their standard job application. A good video CV allows you to speak directly to the recruiter and show them why you're the most qualified candidate for the role. There are several things you can do to put together an effective video that highlights your personality and essential skills. In this article, we explain what is a video CV, explore ten easy steps to show you how to create a video CV and provide additional tips that you can use to stand out in the recruitment process.

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What is a video CV?

A video CV is a short video, typically between 30 seconds to two minutes long, that you can create to introduce yourself to a potential employer or recruiter. It's a creative way in which you can present your background, skills and qualifications to them. If you're thinking about creating a video CV for a job you're interested in, you may consider submitting it in addition to a standard application that includes a traditional CV and a cover letter. Many applicants choose to do so to personalise their application and help it stand out.

Other times, the employer may simply request a CV in this form to see how committed to getting the job you are. They realise submitting a video in addition to your application takes more time with the aim that only candidates who truly care about the opportunity may decide to do so. The employer can then take advantage of the video to get to know you better, see your face and hear you speak. A carefully crafted video CV can better present your professional profile and help you make a great lasting impression on the recruiter.

Related: Importance of first impressions (and how to improve yours)

How to create a video CV

Here are ten simple steps that tell you how to create a video CV:

1. Get inspired

One of the first steps you can take to create a video CV is reviewing videos from other professionals who've decided to personalise their applications like this. Knowing what worked for other people may help you understand which skills you can highlight and what form to choose for your video. Be sure to review different video CVs and choose elements that could work well in your field. For example, if you're interviewing for a game designer position, you may choose to include some game elements in your video.

Related: 6 universal rules for writing your CV and why they're benefits

2. Choose a style

A video CV may come in many forms and styles. You may choose to film yourself and talk about your experience and qualifications directly to the camera. If you're feeling more adventurous and want to be sure your CV stands out from your competitors, you can also create it in one of many popular styles, including:

  • Animation: This type of video CV may be suitable for candidates applying for more creative roles in design or illustration because it requires more advanced art and computer skills.

  • Stop-motion: Stop-motion is another creative way to present your CV. Creating a stop-motion may allow you to give your video a unique dynamic and show that you can come up with creative ideas.

  • Whiteboard: To create a video in this style, you essentially want to set up your camera to film how you present your skills and background in a visual way, in the form of drawings. It's a great choice for visual learners who like to create mind maps.

Related: How to edit videos for YouTube in 9 steps (with tips)?

3. Write a script

Although having a script is not essential, it may help you organise the information you want to present and ensure you've included everything you wanted in your video CV. If you're camera-shy and filming yourself seems challenging to you, be sure to memorise the script. Being prepared can help you boost your confidence and focus on presenting yourself well.

4. Prepare your space

Preparing your room for filming is an essential step that allows you to make the clips look clean and polished. If you plan to sit in front of a camera and talk, be sure to choose a spot with a neutral background and natural lighting. This way, you don't distract the viewer and make it easy for them to focus on what you're saying.

Related: What is an appropriate video interview background?

5. Keep it short and relevant

If an employer requests that you create a video CV, they typically expect it to be between 30 seconds and two minutes long. Usually, this is enough time to present your essential skills and convince the recruiter that you're the most qualified candidate for the role. To make the best out of your CV, be sure to include only relevant information and refer directly to the responsibilities and requirements from the job description.

Related: How to prepare a self-introduction (with examples and tips)

6. Be professional

Creating a video CV often gives you the chance to present your interests and hobbies in addition to your qualifications. Employers like getting to know the candidates but prefer if they keep the narrative professional. If you're interviewing for a more corporate position, be sure to comply with the company's dress code in the formal part of your video where you talk about your professional experience.

Related: What not to wear to an interview (and what to wear instead)

7. Record several takes

Consider recording your video several times and trying out different devices. Doing this can help you choose the best take and test which device has the best quality. In addition to that, you can test your vocal tones and facial expressions to see what works best for this video format. You can also split your speech into shorter segments so you can easily restart or try something new.

Related: 14 ways to project body language confidence (with example)

8. Include additional elements

Depending on the style that you chose for your video, you may consider shooting additional clips to make your visuals more interesting. This can include informational slides, infographics or photographs that back up what you're saying in the video. Remember that many people are visual learners, and the recruiter reviewing your video may understand your message better if you make the video more interactive and engaging.

Related: How to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for an interview

9. Edit the video

One of the last steps in creating your video CV is to put the clips together and edit them. Review all the clips you recorded and choose the ones that you like the most. This is also the stage in which you can add visuals or animations. You can easily do it on your own by using simple software automatically installed on some computers. If your editing skills are more advanced, you may want to do the editing process using professional software.

Related: How to choose the best video editing software for YouTube

10. Get feedback

Creating a video CV is a complex process that can help you increase your chances of making a lasting impression on the new employer. If you want to make sure your video is polished and up to the company's standards, review the final product a few times. You can also ask a friend or family member to watch and review the video. They can provide constructive feedback to improve the video and make a stronger impression.

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Tips for creating a video CV

Consider following these additional tips to create an interesting and engaging video CV:

  • Take your time. If this is your first time creating a video CV, you may find watching clips with yourself talking a bit strange simply because you're not used to seeing yourself on video. To overcome this, practise taking multiple takes and try to have fun with the experience.

  • Focus on a specific skill. Video CVs tend to be short, which is why you may consider choosing and presenting just one skill that's essential to the role. This way, you can share a more in-depth story and complement your traditional CV.

  • Refer to the job description. Check which keywords the employer decided to include in the job description and use them in the video. This shows the recruiter that you've done your research and understand the responsibilities and duties of the position.

  • Review the employer's requirements. If the employer requested that you make a video CV, be sure to review the guidelines and requirements before shooting your clips. This can help you plan out the process and address their expectations in the video.

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