Sunday, October 14, 2018

Job Application Videos - The Basics

More and more companies are requiring job applicants to send in a video of themselves as a precursor to an interview. What this means is that whether or not you get that precious invitation to appear for an interview depends on the effect the video you send will have on those in charge of the hiring process. 

Another key fact to keep in mind is that although the video might also be complementary to an applicant's CV, there are times when it is the only piece of evidence firms will ask to see, meaning that you will have to condense education, experience, achievements and personal interests into a short minute or minute and a half audiovisual commodity.

Many are at a loss about where to start or what to cover in their application videos as soon as they discover that a prospective employer requires one to be sent, which is why the following post was drafted. In it, applicants can focus on 

a) the factors that a video brings into play that CVs do not

b) special points to consider before, during and after the shoot (yes, why not call it that and give the whole procedure Hollywood proportions!)

c) additions to personalize your video more 

d) and finally, what you should say 

The last point is obviously the most difficult part to tackle. This blog post will cover what an elevator pitch is, what needs to be included in it and give you a brief 4-step rundown how to come up with one.

There are many articles that cover the whole job application video process. This post is different in that it presents the basics in brief note form, so applicants can hone in on what matters immediately. 

High school teachers can also present the notes to students and expand on them as part of a lesson on making job application videos (how many of you wouldn't have wanted your teachers to teach you something more practical before being thrown into the business of job hunting?).

Even more creative is the idea of having students make their own videos and presenting them to the class. This would be an especially interesting tool for those teaching English as a second language. The opportunity for ESL students to practice their speaking guided by set prerequisites is a different activity they might take to more readily than the typical one-on-one interactive activities textbooks prescribe.

Whatever your needs, don't stress and have fun with the whole experience. Life's too short to worry yourself to death.

Application Videos – The Basics

What videos have that CVs don’t:

  • your appearance
    • face
    • clothes
  • your voice
    • communication skills
    • knowledge of the language
  • your personality
    • facial expressions
    • tone of voice
    • overall mood
  • your intelligence (choosing what to promote about yourself)
    • ability to be concise
    • effective summary of who you are
    • your creativity
  • your organization and meticulousness
    • careful planning
    • editing
    • persistence until you get the desired result

What you have to pay attention to:

  • purpose of your presentation (what message do I want to get across?)
  • careful grooming (what image of myself do I want to show them?)
  • practice saying your script before recording it
    • in front of friends / colleagues
    • in front of a mirror
  • awareness of
    • body language
    • hand gestures
    • facial expressions
    • general mood you want to get across
  • where you will shoot the video
  • your script (what should I stress?)
    • intelligence
    • creativity
    • personality
    • effort
  • closing (how will you sign off?)
  • making it all sound natural and not an aggressive sales pitch
  • time limit
  • editing your footage
    • is the image clear? (is there adequate light?)
    • is the sound clear?
  • getting a second or third opinion

Types of video styles

  • phone video
  • computer video
  • a friend shoots it for you
  • slideshow with a voiceover

Video additions to insert (in application videos that focus on personality)

  • personal photos of relevant events in your life
  • tell a story


  • state position you are applying for
  • state current / past position
  • short opening statement (persuasive, attention-grabbing): elevator pitch

The Elevator Pitch
· brief
· persuasive
· sparks interest
· lasts a short elevator ride of 20 - 30 seconds
· should be interesting, memorable, succinct
· explain what makes you / organization / product /  idea unique

Creating an elevator pitch

· identify your goal

· explain what you do

o focus problems you solve, people you help

o what do you want to be remembered for (what you excel in)

o be enthusiastic

o show what makes you unique


· write 10 important pieces of information on a blank sheet of paper
· cover the following questions with 1-2 sentences
o who am I?
o what do I do?
o how do I do it?
o why do I do it?
o who do I do it for?
· organize your statements
· create an attention-getter statement that opens your pitch

  • state your achievements
  • mention skills, experience
  • give personality traits
    • your values: (e.g. integrity, ethics/morality)
    • your passion
    • talents that make you special
    • description of yourself in a business context: introverted, extroverted, self-performer, team player
  • closing statement (summarize)
    • “So if you are looking for a …… , I’m the person for this job.”

All this is summarized in a checklist which you can find here. Print and use this checklist to help you through the whole preparation process.

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