In recent years there’s been a significant rise in the use of online CVs and digital portfolios, which has led to a distinct change in how we apply for jobs. Video cover letters are increasingly becoming the norm for applicants who want to stand out from the crowd, especially when the applicant pool is competitive. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten thousand. For further cover letter tips and guides, visit our advice page.
According to a study by The Aberdeen Group, more than 65% of employers have considered making video cover letters a mandatory part of their application. Video would help employers to get to know candidates quicker, and inevitably fill positions faster than the traditional method. With video interviews and remote hiring processes more common than ever, the popularity of video cover letters is likely to rise.
Video cover letters are a great way to showcase your personality, enthusiasm and communication skills. The primary aim of the video cover letter is to let the prospective employer get to know you, so you needn’t stress too much. Simply relax, take a deep breath and let the real you shine through!
Here are our top tips for how to create an effective and impressive video cover letter.
Writing the script
First you’ll want to start with a simple introduction. An engaging opening is key, as this is the first impression the employer will have of you. Speak briefly about your education and what position you’re looking for. Next, go onto express your interest in the role. Make sure that you’ve researched the company, so you’ll be able to successfully explain why you’d like to work for them, and why you’ll be a good fit.
Next you should touch on your key selling points, including your experience, accomplishments and skills. Avoid rambling about pets, hobbies and the like. Simply focus on what makes you a desirable candidate and why you’re the best fit for the role.
Practice makes perfect. Run through the script a few times before filming, and keep a piece of paper in front of you with notes to prompt you where needed.
Remember, the content of a video cover letter shouldn’t differ too much from your print version – for an idea of how your cover letter should read on paper, check out our advice on ‘the do's and don'ts of cover letter writing’.
Recording the video
Once you’re happy with your script, it’s time to get down to recording the video itself. Remember that appearance matters and first impressions count.
When picking a location to record your video ensure that you choose good lighting, with a calm background in a quiet place.
Dress code: we advise that you dress professionally. If possible, try to match the company’s culture and dress code. If you’re applying for a role in finance or banking then a suit would be more suitable than if you’re applying for jobs in the creative industry.
While recording pay special attention to how you conduct yourself: that includes your facial expressions as well as tone of voice and language. Remember that a video cover letter should be treated as an interview – so act accordingly.
Don’t panic if the first recording of your video cover letter isn’t perfect; you’ll most likely need to retake it a few times. Just make sure you’ve allotted enough time to yourself to get it right.
Editing & sending the video
After you’ve decided which version you’re happiest with, you can begin to edit the material. The simple addition of music and text can help enhance your video – however try not to go overboard!
Be sure to include your contact information at the end of the recording, that way the employer can remember your name and information once the video is complete.