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How to Use a Video Instead of a Cover Letter

by Giulio Rocca

Applying to jobs is often a competitive affair. With some openings attracting hundreds of applicants, it's imperative to make a splash. Enter the video cover letter. Although "most hiring managers and HR representatives haven't even heard of, let alone require one," video cover letters are an effective way to stand out according to Video Cover Letters, LLC. The popularity of online video is undeniable. YouTube adds 100 hours of new content every minute and attracts more than one billion unique visitors each month. A video cover letter takes advantage of this trend to showcase your personality, enthusiasm and communication skills. This video cover letter is especially effective when applying to communication and creative roles.

Write the Script

The content of a video cover letter shouldn't be different from a traditional one. Express your interest in the position and articulate your key selling points such as your experience, skills and accomplishments. The same guidelines apply as far as having a succinct, engaging opening, and listing specific examples to back up your claims. The major difference between a traditional and video format is that your words and ideas will form part of a film script.

Shoot the Video

Appearance matters for video cover letters. Dress professionally and groom yourself prior to the shoot. A good rule is to dress for the role for which you're interviewing, taking into account the company's culture and dress code. Avoid green colors if you're planning to film in front of a green-screen, and film in a quiet location with good lighting. To achieve the most professional results, you may want to hire professionals to organize the shoot.

Edit the Video

Video editing lets you refine the raw footage to achieve the best finished product. The process can take three to four times as long as the shoot itself, according to Video Cover Letters, LLC. Different post-production effects are possible, including virtual backgrounds, music and sounds, animated text and hue and saturation adjustments. A useful post-production technique is to include your contact information at the end of your presentation, much like you would in the header of a written cover letter. (Ref 2)

Disseminate the Video

Your video cover letter can be uploaded to an online platform such as YouTube. Depending on your preferences, you can generate an unlisted (private) video or a listed (public) video. If you're concerned about your current employer learning about your job search, a private listing may be best. Similarly, you may opt for a private listing when creating multiple video cover letters for different employers. On the other hand, if your goal is to gain as much visibility as possible, a public listing may be preferable. You can even further publicize your video cover letter on other media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About the Author

Giulio Rocca's background is in investment banking and management consulting, including advising Fortune 500 companies on mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy. He also founded GradSchoolHeaven.com, an online resource for graduate school applicants. He holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images