How to nail that video cover letter

 In one of my previous posts I discussed the relevance of cover letters and whether they’re still important when applying for new positions. I touched upon the new trend which is adding a video to support your CV, below I’ve outlined my top tips for making sure it doesn’t hinder rather than compliment your CV. 

  1. Consider your surroundings

Of course, it goes without saying that you should be dressed the part and not just rolled out of bed or not just returned from a run. There are a number of other factors which will make your cover video a success before you’ve even said any words. 

  1. What’s behind you? – I would recommend a very neutral, non offensive background such as a white or plain coloured wall. 
  2. Get rid of the clutter – Take down or film in a space which doesn’t have any distractions behind you, such as your Grandma’s favourite ornament or your caricature which you purchased from your holiday to Tenerife in 2004. 
  3. Flattering lighting – Find the best lighting possible by opening and closing curtains, or moving a light behind the camera. You don’t want it to be too light where you’re being washed out, nor do you want it to look like you enjoy sitting with the curtains closed on a day to day basis. Remember to always have the light behind the camera and not behind you. 
  4. Noise control – Film at a time where there is little background noise. Close the windows and keep the dog occupied for a while in another room! 
  1. Keep it brief

As you would in a written cover letter, keep it brief and avoid rambling for too long. Ideally, your video should be between 30 seconds and 1 minute long. If you’re great at talking and getting to the point, you can record your video in one take, but if you know you love to ramble on a little, cut and edit the video post production to keep it on point. 

  1. Stabilize the camera  

Consider investing in a tripod to film your cover video, especially if you’re considering creating perhaps more video content in the future for LinkedIn or for pitching. Alternatively, if the budget doesn’t stretch or you don’t have the time to wait, I have previously celotaped my phone to the wall – it makes the perfect DIY tripod! 

4. Professional, yet personal 

As much as the video should be professional, it’s also a fantastic way to let your personality shine through in a way which a written cover letter wouldn’t. You may choose to create a script beforehand, but this may create a robotic, awkward feeling video. I’d recommend having your main points just above the camera which you can reference without taking your eyes away from the camera too much. 

5. Re-take it as many times as you need 

The beauty of a video is that the recipient has no idea that you’ve actually recorded and reviewed it over and over again. Consider sending it to your friends, family member or colleague to take a look at and give you constructive feedback on anything which may not be obvious to you.