Why You Need A Video Resume, with Rhona Pierce

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 314:

Why You Need A Video Resume, with Rhona Pierce

Airdate: September 22, 2021

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. 

I’m your host, Mac Prichard. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List. It’s a job board in the Pacific Northwest that helps you find a fulfilling career.

Every Wednesday, I talk to a different expert about the tools you need to get the work you want.

Find Your Dream Job is brought to you by TopResume. TopResume has helped more than 400,000 professionals land more interviews and get hired faster. 

Get a free review of your resume today. Go to macslist.org/topresume. 

Sending a written resume and cover letter is the traditional way to apply for a job. 

The problem with this approach is that your competitors are doing the same thing.

Today’s guest says that a video resume lets you stand out from other applicants.

Rhona Pierce is here to talk about why you need a video resume and how to do it. 

She’s a personal branding coach and a former recruiter. Rhona helps overlooked professionals capture the attention of employers and secure interviews with ease. 

She joins us from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

Well, let’s jump right into it, Rhona. Why do you think everyone needs a video resume? 

Rhona Pierce:

I think everyone needs a video resume, or everyone could use a video resume because it helps you stand out, like you said. Everyone else is doing the paper resume that they’ve been doing for decades now. But with a video resume, you get to start that emotional connection with the hiring manager or the recruiter that’s reviewing your resume because they can see you, and they can see what you bring to the table as expressed by you. 

Mac Prichard:

Rhona, you’re a former recruiter, so you’ve seen so many applications, and now you work as a career coach. Do many applicants use video resumes? 

Rhona Pierce:

If you would have asked me a year ago, I would say probably no. But in the last year, I’ve seen a lot more people start using video. I think it has to do a lot with where social media is going in general; TikTok, Instagram, everything’s video. So people have been starting to use more and more video resumes and video cover letters.  

Mac Prichard:

You mentioned that a video resume can help you stand out from your competitors, and you talked about the emotional connection that can result from someone watching a video. What are some of the other ways that a video resume helps you stand out? 

Rhona Pierce:

I think it helps the person on the other end, the hiring manager or the recruiter, really understand your expertise. Because you’re explaining it yourself, so they don’t have a- usually when someone’s reading your resume, they interpret based on what they’re thinking. But when you’re presenting it to them yourself, you control the narrative. You control the delivery and what is being said, so there’s that. There’s no guessing as far as who you are.  

Mac Prichard:

And I’m curious, when you were working as a recruiter or when you talk to hiring managers today, what do they tell you about what they think when they see video resumes? 

Rhona Pierce:

So it really depends. Some hiring managers and recruiters are still kind of on the fence about it, and I think it has a lot to do with many people are making the mistake of just reading their resume on video and making a very long video, and that’s really not what you want to do with your video resume. However, when done right, it really makes an impact, and I can say from the clients that I work with and from my own experience also, people feel after- when you’re interviewing, after someone has watched your video resume, they feel that they already know you. The interview and the conversation is totally different. So people really like having that preview ahead of time, and then they can really cater the interview to you and really getting to know more about you and your skills.  

Mac Prichard:

What does a good video resume look like? 

Rhona Pierce:

It is short and to the point. It starts with, what in the video world is called a hook, which is a two to a five-second statement that really reels the viewer in and lets them know why they should spend the next sixty seconds learning more about you, and ultimately why should they hire you. 

Mac Prichard:

Okay, well, let’s talk about the structure of a good video resume. You talked about the hook. What happens after that? 

Rhona Pierce:

After the hook, it’s important to then introduce yourself, name and title, or like name and role; for example, Tom- software engineer. After the intro, then jump right back into how you can help the company, how you can help your ideal employer, what you bring to the table. And always end it with a call to action because you don’t want to be the cool video that everyone shows all of their coworkers but never gets you called to an interview. The point of the video resume, just like your resume, is to get a job. So you want to have a call to action, you want to have your contact information, and you want to have one call to action. I always recommend, either send me an email or go to this website or something, but one specific call to action at the end. 

Mac Prichard:

How long is a good video resume?

Rhona Pierce:

No more than a minute and a half, and that’s because people’s attention spans are really short nowadays, especially with social media. So the shorter your video is, the better, actually. 

Mac Prichard:

And, what does it look like, Rhona? Are you talking into a camera? Are you doing a series of quick jump cuts? What does a good video resume look like when you watch it?  

Rhona Pierce:

That’s a great question. It really depends on what you’re wanting to do as far as what industry you’re targeting. In general, I think something that would work for everyone is you talking directly to the camera, and yes, doing jump cuts so that you keep the viewer’s attention. So not just one shot of you just like talking directly to the camera, but you talking to the camera may be from different angles, some different jump cuts, so that it doesn’t look like this monotonous long video even if it’s twenty seconds.   

Mac Prichard:

And, for people who might not have the benefit of working in video, can you explain what a jump cut is and how you make it? 

Rhona Pierce:

Yes. So basically, a jump cut is, when you’re in your editing software, whatever editing software it is, you cut the video at different points. So let’s say you start, you say your hook, then you do a cut right there with your editing software, and then start the next clip. 

Mac Prichard:

So you’re stopping and starting, which is not uncommon. Do you need a lot of technical skill to do this, or fancy equipment, software packages, or microphones, or cameras? 

Rhona Pierce:

Not really. Anyone with a modern smartphone has good like footage. You can get good footage with a modern smartphone. Then as far as the editing software on your computer, if you have a Mac, everyone has iMovie; that’s very simple, very basic. If you have Windows or a PC, there’s also free editing software that you can use. You don’t really need any fancy effects or anything for your video resume, so just basic equipment. I always recommend a smartphone with a good camera, a modern computer with free editing software, good lighting if you don’t have professional lighting, just as long as you’re in a room with natural lighting, that always helps, and good audio. Most smartphones have really good microphones, and if you stand close enough to it, you don’t need an external one. If you want to take just a little level higher, as far as your audio, there’s like fourteen-dollar lavalier mics on Amazon. 

Mac Prichard:

And, I’m curious there’s obviously people who make a living as resume writers, and they help job seekers who might want an extra polished resume or just help in putting one together. Are you finding that there are people who specialize now in creating video resumes? 

Rhona Pierce:

I’ve seen a few more. So it’s interesting. I’ve been doing this since 2013, and before, there haven’t been a lot of us that are focusing on video as far as the job search. I’ve seen maybe a handful, and now, I’m seeing more. In the past couple of months, I’ve seen more people start doing that. That being said, at the core, what’s needed for your video resume is, it’s more what you’re saying than the video piece of it. So I mean, if I were a resume writer, I would- the transition would be pretty simple into getting into video. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, I want to take a quick break, and when we come back, I want to talk about how you use a video resume when you’re applying, and then I want to dig into how you actually create it. We’ve talked about some of the equipment involved and the structure.

So stay with us, and when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Rhona Pierce about why you need a video resume and how to create one.  

The written resume isn’t dead yet. So make sure you have one that tells your career story. 

Go to macslist.org/topresume.

One of the experts at TopResume will review your resume for free. 

Go to macslist.org/topresume

A TopResume writer will tell you how to improve your resume right away. 

Or you can hire TopResume to make the changes for you. 

Go to maclist.org/topresume. 

Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Rhona Pierce. 

She’s a personal branding coach and a former recruiter. Rhona helps overlooked professionals capture the attention of employers and secure interviews with ease. 

She joins us from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

Now, Rhona, before the break, we were talking about why you need a video resume, and we walked through the why and what it looks like, and some of the equipment or other gear you might need, and what you might do in a video resume. 

Once you have the video resume, Rhona, how do you use it? Are you still sending it along with the written resume? What has been most effective for your clients?  

Rhona Pierce:

Great question. Sending it as an addition to your written resume is always good. So this is what I usually recommend: always apply to the job, whether you found it online or however you found it, apply to it. After you apply, when you send your initial outreach, your cover letter, just include two quick lines with something like, “Dear hiring manager,” if you know their name, include that, “here’s a short video that explains my background and experience.” Add the link to your video and then add your call to action or your like, “for more information, contact me here, or email me back,” that type of thing. So that’s one way to market your video, always send it with your application.

Now when you do follow-ups after you’ve applied, cause, you know, every time you apply, you don’t necessarily get an immediate call back for an interview. So I always talk to my clients about reaching out to, whether it be the recruiter or if you know who the hiring manager is, and that’s when you can get creative and send two, three, quick lines along with the link to your video.

Don’t make it a long email plus your video; that will get people to not watch your video. You want very short, to the point, “Here, this is a preview of my background and experience. Click here,” and people will see, and then on your video, you do the rest of the heavy lifting of who you are and what you bring to the table all of that. 

Mac Prichard:

Do you recommend posting your video resume on a public platform like Youtube, or are you just including it as an attachment to an email? 

Rhona Pierce:

Definitely publish it to Youtube o Vimeo. If you send it as an attachment, many issues with that. First of all, it’s gonna be a huge file, so you’re gonna be sending huge emails that most company’s firewalls are going to block. So it’s not gonna get to anyone, and then, most people aren’t gonna download an attachment. So always have a link on a public social media platform like Youtube, you can upload to LinkedIn now, there’s TikTok resumes, there’s so many places. But always send a URL. 

Mac Prichard:

Should you have any concerns about posting a video resume on a public channel? I mean, clearly, if you’re doing a stealth job search, you’re probably not gonna do that. But what if you’re just doing a job search, in general? Should you be worried if other employers see the resume?

Rhona Pierce:

So the cool thing about a video resume and a video cover letter is that even if you’re doing a stealth job search, it doesn’t matter. It’s just your presentation that’s up there on social media, like your LinkedIn. You don’t take down your LinkedIn when you have a job. So no, you shouldn’t be concerned; it’s just another LinkedIn type of material that you can use for your job search. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk about putting the content together for the resume. I mean, we’ve talked about the structure and the equipment. But do you recommend doing a unique video resume for every application, or is it better to have just a general video resume that you keep on LinkedIn, or – I’m sorry – Youtube or Vimeo?

Rhona Pierce:

It really depends. I recommend doing a generic one per role type or per industry. So if you’re searching for a job, let’s say, as a project manager in the software industry, or you’re also open to being a project manager for a networking company, I would do two separate video resumes for those. But I wouldn’t do a video resume for each individual company that you apply to because that’s really not worth the effort unless there’s something really specific about a job that you want, and it’s just, it’s best to cater it to that company. At that point, yes. But in general, just have a generic one for the role that you’re targeting. 

Mac Prichard:

So you’re ready to record, you’ve brought together all the gear that you suggested, Rhona, you have a smartphone, maybe a lavalier mic, perhaps the smartphone is on a tripod, the lighting is good, you’ve thought about your hook. Do you script everything out in advance and use cue cards of some kind, or what’s worked for your clients when they’re ready to hit that record button?   

Rhona Pierce:

I never recommend using a script because you don’t want to – it’s actually harder to come across natural if you’re reading off a script because you’re naturally going to be looking at the cards. Now, a lot of people really feel more confident using a script. So there are apps that you can put on your phone that you can like, use a teleprompter type of app where you can read off, or you can put the script on it there. I do recommend sticking to kind of bullet points, and that’s what I work on with my clients. Just how to deliver from those bullet points and how to make it sound natural and not like if you’re reading off a script. You really don’t want to be the person that’s reading off a script, like it doesn’t come off genuine, and a hiring manager can pick that up immediately.  

Mac Prichard:

And how do you help people sound natural while looking at bullet points and/or paying attention to other notes and not sound kind of stilted? What works best for your clients?

Rhona Pierce:

Really, when you go through the frameworks and write the story, you’re telling your own story on this video. So you really don’t need, or shouldn’t need, a script to read and tell someone about yourself. So it’s more of practicing and having a plan of what you’re going to talk about and then explaining your story. It’s yours. Now, if you try to be someone else or say what someone else would say, that’s when it’s hard, and that’s when you need a script to read. But that’s not recommended.

Mac Prichard:

And take us through the elements of that plan. I’m sitting down. I want to create a plan and turn it into a set of bullets. What are the parts of the plan that you always recommend people address in their video resume? 

Rhona Pierce:

The first thing is, clarify who you’re talking to. You, even though you’re making a generic video, you’re making it for your ideal employer. So if you have the name of that employer or something in your head, have that. So once you know who you’re talking to, for example, I’m talking to, I don’t know, restaurant industry people because I want a job as an executive in the hospitality industry. So once you know that, then your hook comes from that. You talk about their biggest problem and how you solve it. That’s how you hook them in. After you’ve wrote the hook, after you’ve delivered that, then you talk about the why. It’s like telling them a story of why you’re that person. So we’re gonna build-up to this call to action. Right? So you have who you’re talking to, you have how you’re gonna hook them in, their main problem, you have their call to action, which is what you want them to do at the end of this video, and then you talk about why you’re the person that’s gonna solve that problem that you spoke about in the first line. 

Mac Prichard:

And this isn’t something you get in just one take, is it, Rhona? 

Rhona Pierce:

Well, it really depends if – I usually recommend, and with my clients, we spend the most time on writing the bullet points, writing the talking points, and then when you actually film, you have that plan, you have everything in your head. It’s one to two takes.

Mac Prichard:

And to get that ninety-second video resume, how much preparation time do you generally recommend?  

Rhona Pierce:

Preparation time, as in?

Mac Prichard:

Planning your story, preparing bullets, perhaps practicing, and then you’re ready to hit record. But before you do that, are you spending a couple of hours getting ready? Perhaps an hour or two? 

Rhona Pierce:

Yeah, writing the script, getting everything – or not the script, I should say – writing your talking points out, getting your equipment and everything set up, choosing your outfit, getting ready, all of that is probably, and filming, and editing, I would say a total of eight to ten hours, you’re gonna spend in total. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, it’s been a great conversation. Now, tell us what’s next for you? 

Rhona Pierce:

So I’ve launched a new one-on-one coaching service. It’s a four-hour VIP day where I’ll teach you how to start using video for your job search. We go through everything from how to say it, how to film and edit your video, and we’ll define the most important part, which is the strategy to market your video. 

Mac Prichard:

Well, I know people can learn more about you, and your company, and your services by visiting howtolevelup.com, and I know you also invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn, and if they do, I hope they’ll mention they heard you on the show, as well as on Twitter. 

Now, Rhona, given all the useful tips you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about why you need a video resume? 

Rhona Pierce:

The most important thing I think is there’s a lot of competition out there. Video is the easiest way to get a stranger to know, like, and trust you, and at the end of the day, people hire people that they know, like, trust, and who have the skills that they’re looking for.  

Mac Prichard:

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Next week, our guest will be Julie Sliga. 

She’s a certified career counselor and the owner of Panoramic Counseling. Julie has helped hundreds of workers make big decisions and workplace transitions.

You decide it’s time to change careers. 

But you struggle to get started. Months go by, and you make little or no progress. 

Join us next Wednesday, when Julie Sliga and I talk about how to get unstuck when making a career change.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job. 

This show is produced by Mac’s List. 

Susan Thornton-Hough schedules our guests. Lisa Kislingbury Anderson writes our social media posts. 

Our sound engineer is Will Watts. Ryan Morrison at Podfly Productions edits the show. 

Dawn Mole creates our transcripts. And our music is by Freddy Trujillo.

This is Mac Prichard. See you next week. 

If you want to get the attention of a hiring manager, the most important thing you can do is to stand out. And one of the best ways to do that is by using video. If you’ve never considered creating a video resume, there’s no better time, says Find Your Dream Job guest Rhona Pierce. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Rhona gives suggestions on how to develop your talking points, how long your video should be, what to focus on, and how to prepare. And the best part? You don’t need any special equipment to get started. 

About Our Guest:

Rhona Pierce is a personal branding coach and a former recruiter. Rhona helps overlooked professionals capture the attention of employers and secure interviews with ease. 

Resources in This Episode: