CV writing. Or filming ..?

You’re looking to change jobs or you’re just looking for a job, you may have sent your CV off a few (dozen) times and have had no real result or joy.

Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes, it’s difficult to get a feel for someone’s personality and creativity from a CV and cover letter.

And from your point of view, it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. So the choice is either get really creative with your CV, or think of an alternative way of representing yourself. Unless you’re applying for a graphic design job, there are limits to what you should do with your CV, as its ‘personality’ must be in keeping with the type of position you’re interested in or qualified for.

So what’s the alternative?

We already see that the making of a video clip is part of many entry level position selection processes. These positions see a high volume of applications and it is much quicker to judge candidates visually than from their CV. Of course, in a sense it is also self-selecting, as some people are not prepared to go to the trouble of filming themselves, whereas they may have been tempted to just fire off a CV.

Unilever says that since it has started to use video as part of the job application process, it is getting a higher rate of acceptances on job offers and it has improved its diversity.

So how is this relevant to executive roles and positions?

Well, it isn’t. Not yet anyway.

And here is my point. In my opinion in a world where the number of searches on YouTube are similar to the number of Google searches, video / visual representation is becoming increasingly important. Just look at how many video posts there are on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

So, it will only be a matter of time before we will be presenting ourselves by an introductory email and a link to a video clip … and perhaps a CV attachment as well.  For any position, from shop assistant to CEO.

As that time has not yet come, what an opportunity to stand out from the crowd right now!

So how do you go about it? Here are a few steps to consider.

  1. Plan before you start writing your script.

It is important to make an impression as quickly as possible, so introduce yourself and sum up in a sentence or two why you’re the best person for the job. Follow this with quantifiable achievements, plus comments or examples about your leadership style and your experience to date. Don’t be a clown, however if you can inject a bit of humour then that will make you sound more confident and will give the recipient an idea of your personality.

  1. Rehearse

Know what you are going to say, in what order and what words you will use. Make sure you do not come across as a newsreader. You could put post-it notes with bullet points around the camera if you need an aid. Think about your posture, body language and facial expressions – all this, whilst making sure that this is you and not some act that you cannot live up to in the long run!

  1. Shoot

Do a few test runs to make sure the lighting is right, you have paid attention to the background and that you are happy with the distance of the camera. Just filming your face as a close up would be weird. However it is your choice whether you want to sit, stand, just film your upper torso behind a desk or anything else. Find some examples on YouTube and see what you like and what works for you. Shoot several takes until you are happy with the end result.

  1. Edit

If you’re not a confident editor, avoid using too many graphics or animations – although a title with your name and contact details is a good idea. If you want to splash the cash, then find a professional editor (probably a 19 year old with a penchant for online gaming). The aim should be to create a coherent video without detracting from your message. Remember, you’re being judged on your skills, personality and presentation, not your video editing skills.

Finally, seek out honest feedback from a trusted friend or mentor.

  1. Submit

It is probably easiest to upload it to YouTube or Vimeo in order to share it with any recipient. I’d recommend that you keep your video private, so that only people with the link can see it.

Then create a well-worded email and Bob’s your uncle.

Will this get you the job? No. Will it make you stand out and be more likely to be picked out for an interview? Most likely.


Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

Maarten Jonckers

Focus on what’s important

After yet another year of fun and games, ups and downs, successes and failures, it may be a good time to reflect on what actually is important in our brief lives on this globe. And to help you reflect I have listed some of the things that I believe, which I hope resonate with you:

– I believe that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

– I believe that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

– I believe that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

– I believe that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

– I believe that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

– I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

– I believe that you can keep going long after you can’t.

– I believe that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

– I believe that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

– I believe that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

– I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

– I believe that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

– I believe that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and still have the best time.

– I believe that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

– I believe that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

– I believe that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

– I believe that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

– I believe that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

– I believe that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

– I believe that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

– I believe that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

– I believe that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

– I believe that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

– I believe that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

– I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

– I believe that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

– I believe that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

May you know grace, peace and love each day. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Maarten Jonckers