Quick Tips to Rock Your Job Application Video

By Kim Slaton, Managing Director, JVS Career Services

Has this ever happened to you? You’re reading through a job description, and it sounds like the perfect position for you! You’re already organizing your resume and crafting your cover letter in your head… but you’re stopped in your tracks. At the end of the description, the company requests a short video—nothing fancy, just you and your smartphone explaining why you would be a great fit for the position. Panic sets in. You’re not a news anchor, you’ve never made a video of yourself before, and now the perfect job hangs in the balance.

Don’t let this video get the best of you. With these quick tips, you’ll be rolling in no time!

Write an Outline
The most important part of this video is what you have to say, so before you get bogged down in the video-making process write an outline of what you want to cover, and make sure you’re answering the questions you were asked. Be concise and stay on topic, but if it’s relevant, feel free to add a short personal story. Then practice aloud a few times without the camera rolling. The interviewers want to get a sense of who you are through this video. Be professional, but let your personality shine through.

Dress the Part
Select an outfit that you would wear to an interview for this job. Try to avoid bright white, as it can make you look washed out, or solid black because it can come across as flat. Anything else is fair game!

Find Your Best Lighting
For an amateur video, lighting is the key to making yourself look good. Film during the day. You’ll look best in natural light. Film outdoors if possible, but be careful if it’s windy because wind blowing across the microphone may make it hard to hear you. If you need to film indoors, don’t stand in front of a window. Instead, face the window and let the outdoor light shine on you. Do a few test shots and see how you look on camera. If you need to use lamps to brighten up your shot, make sure you place them so your face is brightened, not in shadows.

Choose Your Location
Location is also important. Choose an area that is relatively clean and clutter-free. You want to be the star of this video, not the background. Good locations include a natural outdoor setting, a tidy office, or living room. Avoid kitchens or bedrooms, as they are casual, less work-appropriate spaces. If you’re unsure of the best location, choose the place with the brightest, most natural light.

Set up the Camera
Turn the camera on its side, so it is horizontal, and film that way. You don’t want to submit a tall, vertical video because most people will be watching on horizontal screens. If you have a tripod, use it. If not, set your camera up on a sturdy surface like a table and lean it against something to prop it up. No selfie sticks! Ask a friend to help you frame the shot. Or do it by yourself. But make sure you like what’s showing on screen. Do another test shot to re-check the lighting, your background, and the sound.

Record When It’s Quiet
Background noise can be distracting. Minimize it as much as possible by asking family members to be quiet while you’re rolling or by putting pets in another room. Speak clearly and make sure you are loud enough for the microphone to pick you up.

Watch Your Video
Don’t expect that your video will be perfect on the first try. You may need to film more than once, making adjustments as you go. When you watch your video, check for lighting, sound, and that you like what you’re saying.

Don’t Go Crazy Editing
Unless you’re a professional video editor, you probably don’t want to edit your video very much. If you do feel it needs some tweaks, keep the fancy effects to a minimum. Less is more. This video is about YOU, not your editing skills.

Use these simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful video in no time!

Want to Learn more?
JVS Career Services offers Career Coaching and has the knowledge, the experience, the expertise, and the community network to help propel you to success. Contact us today.

Kim Slaton, CPCC, CPRW – JVS Career Services Managing Director, is a Senior Career Consultant with more than 11 years of experience advising people in transition about how to prepare a successful marketing strategy for today’s competitive job market. As a career catalyst, Kim is known for her consistent successes, adaptability and resourcefulness while staying current with the most important career search trends. This includes helping individuals craft sharp résumés and cover letters, creating effective marketing tools, polishing interviewing skills and enhancing social media and face-to-face networking abilities.

Kim partners with clients from all backgrounds and industries to provide focused and effective methods for navigating various life transitions. This includes college graduates, young professionals, mid-career professionals, executive level clients and retirees seeking encore careers.

Kim is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs® personality assessment tool and holds a BS degree in Human Services with a concentration in counseling from Plattsburgh, SUNY. She is also a graduate of The Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Greater Cincinnati EXCEL year-long leadership development program. In addition, Kim has reviewed and contributed to several college career course textbooks. Prior to joining the JVS Career Services (formerly Cincinnati Career Network), Kim was the Director of Development and Event Planner for Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati, Senior Fund Development Associate for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, as well as the Acting Executive Director for the Central Kentucky Jewish Federation in Lexington, Kentucky. Kim’s focus is on building relationships with her clients by getting to know them and learning about what empowers and motivates them to achieve.

To contact Kim Slaton by phone, please call (513) 745-2903, or email her at kslaton@jvscareers.org.