Earlier this month, I decided to dip my toe back into the job market. It’s incredible to see how the candidate experience varies by company. While most of the applications and interviews are pretty standard, last week a company I applied with requested a video cover letter.
Initially I was surprised. I’ve been in the talent acquisition space for over 15 years and have never been asked (or asked anyone else) to create a video cover letter. I knew I didn’t want to do the standard “webcam 90-second life story,” so I decided to get creative. After editing the video, I compared it to my standard cover letter and came away with five advantages a video provides over a traditional written cover letter:
5. Ability to show your personality. Resumes and cover letters have been great tools to reflect skills and experiences, but it’s very hard to craft a resume that showcases a candidates’ personality. Video breaks down that barrier and gives insight to how a candidate will represent themselves to team members and customers.
4. Ability to showcase your moxie. Most candidates position themselves as overachievers, but how many will go the extra mile to make a top-notch video cover letter? People can turn on the webcam and make an average “selfie” style video, but with a little work it’s easy to stand out from the crowd, and you don’t need special equipment to do it.
3. Ability to inject humor into the candidate review process. Many professionals (especially those in customer-facing roles) rely on humor to build relationships. Making potential employers chuckle in a cover letter could be your ticket to an interview.
2. Ability to make a physical impression. A candidate’s appearance, the tone of their voice, the location of the video, and editing quality are a direct reflection on the candidate. Having a well-scripted video reflects how well the candidate prepared and gives employers an idea of their potential.
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1. Ability to flex the left side of your brain. Very few times in our careers will we be asked to make a 90-second autobiography. It’s a project that, with the right attitude, can be a lot of fun and exercise those creative muscles.
The clickable video cover letter above, at the top right of this article, was recorded using an iPhone and edited with iMovie for Mac. Watch the 90-second video and post your feedback in the comments section below.