We are in 2018. It is likely that your news delivery is through your Facebook timeline, you probably have not used snail mail beyond bills for over ten years, and even your grandmother knows how to Facetime.
Employers are increasingly requesting video cover letters from their applicants, and for good reason. Put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes. You sit down at your desk to a dreaded stack of 100 hard copy written resumes and cover letters. You sift through based on some abstract words, but ultimately must work hard to garner a clear impression of applicants beyond what is on the page in front of you.
Now imagine that same stack of 100 applicants, but there are 96 that are solely in written form and four with the bonus of a video attachment. If you were that hiring manager, where would you begin?
Give yourself a competitive edge from the beginning with a polished, sincere video cover letter. Read on for seven tips on how to get started.
Keep your video cover letter concise. Employers do not have an abundance of time, and if you are taking up that time with unnecessary information, they may be more likely to move on to the next candidate.
That being said…find your hook. What is interesting about you? What sets you apart from your competition? Are you a veteran volunteer, or an Olympian athlete? Be sure to disclose your hook.
Consider everything in the frame. The great social psychologist Robert Cialdini talks about how you can ‘pre-suade’ audiences to be more favourable of your message by setting up how you want that message to be perceived. This includes things like wearing smart clothing, polished personal presentation, good natural lighting, a clean background, and confident body language.
Decide if you are a bullet-point person or a script person. Bullet-point people are naturally charismatic and do not balk at the idea of sitting in front of a camera to speak about themselves for a full minute. Script people, on the other hand, loathe the idea. Bullet-point people can simply write what they want to discuss on a flash card, keep it near their eye level for reference, and fire away. Script people should write a full script, repeat it multiple times, and press record when it feels like natural and familiar speech. You can find some helpful examples of video cover letter scripts over at http://videocoverletters.com/example-scripts.
Press record and get multiple takes. It can take some time to warm up, especially if you fall into the ‘script people’ category. There are not many of us who can sit down and feel natural from the very beginning. We recommend pressing record, getting multiple takes of the same message, and then choosing the best take when you are editing.
Create multiple versions. When you feel comfortable with the scripting, filming, and editing process, consider creating multiple versions of your video cover letter. Create a generic clip for your online profiles like LinkedIn and Seek so that recruiting agencies and prospective employers can easily garner an impression of your personality and qualifications, and then create targeted videos for desirable positions. Show your prospective employers exactly how your experience corresponds with the job the same way that you would carefully craft a traditional cover letter.
Ensure that your traditional cover letter and resume are attached to your applications. Some employers are old-fashioned and consider the practice of link clicking and video watching to be inconvenient. Another benefit to including all three components is that it is far easier to refer to a written resume or cover letter than to a point mentioned in a video.
Good luck from the team at Abacus Human Capital. Contact us for help getting hired on 07 3135 9780.