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This is What a Video Resume Should Look Like

We've talked before about how video resumes can be a great way to stand out in your job search, especially when it's a job you really want.

But if you're going to go this route, it's important not to just throw something shaky together using the camera on your computer. If you're going to submit a video resume, you've got to do it right.

So what does "right" look like? Well, this video resume created by Todd Cavanaugh is a great place to start. Vying for a position at Dropbox, Cavanaugh created this faux campaign and video resume to try and catch the company's attention.

Paired with an impressive digital resume, it's sure to make plenty of employers (including, hopefully, Dropbox) think about how they can get him on their team ASAP.

And while Cavanaugh is in the lucky position of having prior experience producing videos like this, there's plenty that anyone looking to make a video resume can learn from watching. We talked to Cavanaugh about his tips for making a video resume that stands out—that anyone can keep in mind:

1. Keep Production Values Extremely High: Because TV and movies are so significant in our culture, people are used to the highest production values possible. Jittery footage, bad lighting, and poor editing will sabotage your video from standing out, even if the content is excellent. But the biggest struggle for most people is sound. For example, in a well-lit scene, even an iPhone’s video quality is good enough. But it's the sound that will make you look like an amateur. You need to use a professional microphone, not the microphones that are built into a phone or camcorder. See if you can borrow one from your church, a DJ, or your weird uncle who always has that kind of thing. It makes a huge difference.

2. Keep it Short: The video resume will never be a replacement for a paper resume, but it has the capabilities to show some intangibles your paper resume can’t—like confidence, professionalism, and presentation skills. I don’t think any hiring managers are going to watch a five minute overview of your career. So your job is to highlight only your very best accomplishments related to the job while showcasing these qualities. I’d shoot for 60 seconds and definitely avoid going over 90. (In my case, I went a little long because the first part was essentially a commercial, but my talking to a camera was only about 45 seconds.)

3. Ask for Help: Believe it or not, there are some nice people in the world who want to help you. I asked a friend to help me film since I was in the video. If a certain location will help your video, like a grocery store or an office building, talk to the manager. You’ll be surprised how often they want to help. And the worst they can say is, “No.”

Home page photo of video projector courtesy of Shutterstock.