What to say in your Video CV

What to say in your Video CV

Before we talk about what to say in your Video CV, let’s talk briefly about what you should not say. 

A Video CV is NOT a reading of your paper CV. Viewers can read your paper CV themselves if they want to, much faster. 

So what do you say?

Well, before we get into the details, let’s consider this…

What’s the aim of your Video CV?

There is one single objective - to get the viewer to want to find out more about you. 

That could be by downloading and reading your paper CV or arranging a (virtual) interview with you.

So in that regard, your Video CV is more like a cover letter. The purpose is to intrigue the viewer into delving deeper.

How long should my video intro be?

Now we have established the aim of your Video CV, how long should it be?

Not long. 

Your viewer is busy and time-poor. So, it’s prudent to assume your viewer’s attention span is short. We need to be respectful of their time.

Aim for a minute, and you will be in the right zone. Forty-five seconds is probably the minimum, anything over a minute and a half and you risk losing your viewer’s attention.

You can certainly say what you need to in that time. By which I mean, you have enough time to say what someone needs to hear to decide that you are worth connecting with, or at least download and read your CV.

So, what should I say?

Now we have established the aim of your video intro and the duration, what should you say?

There is no exact formula. You just need to get enough information across in a short space of time for someone to want to find out more.

Using the approach below, you will do that. There are four sections: 

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Why you are a good hire, and 
  4. Wrap up with a closing statement.

Let’s look at those in more detail…

Who you are

Say Hello, Hi, Howdy, or whatever is appropriate for your industry. Then tell viewers your name and role. 

That will probably take all of about five seconds.

It’s not long, but in that short space of time, your viewer will have found out some crucial information and, most importantly, they will also have seen you and heard you. Body language comes into play as well. Based on these first few seconds, your viewer is going to decide whether to carry on watching or not.

One more point on this first section. If your Video CV is for a specific company, then you could also reference the person’s name you are sending it to, so they feel personally engaged with. That can make a big difference in getting people’s attention to keep them watching.

What you do 

In this section, you need to go into a bit more detail about what exactly you do. You should probably aim to spend between 15 and 30 seconds on this.

Outline your primary responsibilities. But rather than spending too much time talking about your responsibilities, try to focus instead on your achievements, especially where these have had clear benefits for your employer. 

If you have monthly targets or goals, then you could refer to these. Your performance appraisal might have something worth referring to, as might any company initiatives you were involved in. 

Try and look at your achievements through the lens of an employer because that will speak better to your viewers.

For example, let’s say you are an Accounts Clerk and you played an important role in a new initiative to reduce the time taken by customers to pay their bills. You could say something like...

“I recently championed a new customer payment initiative for the company that saw overdue debts reduced by 50%.” 

That tells viewers that you took responsibility, you helped implement a new company policy, and you improved the companies cashflow.

Your viewers might also be interested in finding out exactly how you did that. You have created a hook for your viewers to latch on to.

Why you’re a good hire

This is where you need to get specific as to what, and how, you think your strengths, skills and experience will help the organisation you join. 

It’s where you persuade the viewer that they should seriously consider you for that role. It’s all about helping them reason with themselves that they should find out more about you, and connect. 

You should aim for about 15 to 30 seconds again, but keep in mind how long you spent on the previous section so as not to speak for too long overall.

If you are applying to a particular company with your Video CV, then try and get very specific. You might want to refer to something you have seen in the news about them, so they know you have done your research. You should then relate your experience and achievements to this. 

For example: let’s say you are a retail clothing assistant and you see that a large chain is about to launch a new range. You might say something like…

“I read that you are releasing a brand new range. I have spent the last 5 years selling clothes for Rosie’s Fashion, a boutique shop in the West End. I believe my experience selling to young women would translate really well to your brand. 

Now suppose you are sending your Video CV to a few different organisations in the same business sector. Here, you could refer to something relevant to the industry. This tells employers that you take an interest in the sector that you want to work in.

Or if none of the above applies, then you could perhaps demonstrate that you know how the job is best performed, and why your experience and/or attributes make you an ideal candidate for the job. For example, you could say... 

“Customer service is so visible nowadays. My employment at Greys Fashions, where we have more than 10,000 five star reviews, has given me a solid foundation in engaging customers on our social media platforms. 

Any company looking to improve their own customer service ratings would sure be interested in speaking to you to find out more about how this was achieved.

Close off

Ok, you are pretty much done. All that is left is to end with a positive and professional wrap-up.

You should say that you wish to be considered for the role and that you hope to hear from them soon (or words to that effect). 

Don’t forget to let people know that they can easily ‘connect’ with you through the C-Me platform!

Finally, practice a few times...

The main challenge with a Video CV is being able to speak without reading a script. Obviously, the longer your video is, the harder that gets. Practising definitely helps.

In two weeks we are going to solve this challenge for you by introducing ‘Video Bite-size’ which lets you create a video intro from a series of shorter segments. With Video Bite-size, you can create your one-minute video intro from a collection of smaller pieces. 

Much easier to remember what you want to say, and less hassle if you mess up as you only need to re-record one section. 

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