A guide to CVs, cover letters, and application forms
A free guide, written by the LSE careers consultants and available only to LSE students. Come to the LSE Careers resource centre (5th Floor, Saw Swee Hock Student Centre) to pick up your free copy. You can also download a PDF of the booklet.
The ‘me-vie’ or video CV is on the rise as candidates are looking for ever more innovative ways to help them stand out to employers and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Used well, it enhances applications by providing employers with more insight into what you can offer, an added level of dynamism and effectively act as the first part of the interview process – your introduction.
Used badly, it provides the perfect excuse for an interviewer to reject you before they’ve even met you (understandably, some HR Managers are reportedly very nervous because of the potential employment legalities around perceived discrimination).
So, you need to be clear about the value it adds to your application, and confident that you possess the technical abilities to do a great job.
When to use a video CV
You can use a video CV in different ways depending on the sort of job you’re going for. If you’re interested in journalism or media roles, you might use the video CV to showcase your on-camera skills.
If you’re targeting the online or creative professions, it can act as the perfect showcase for your great presentation skills and personality.
Basically, if you believe you have something unique to offer and can communicate this on film, providing employers with the option to click on a link to a video CV may just give you an edge over other applicants.
When not to use a video CV
- If you are applying for a role in a more traditional company.
- If you know you don't come across well on camera.
What makes a successful video CV
- Keep it short and sweet - under two minutes.
- Be creative but professional - dress as you would if you were going for an interview.
- Don't deviate too much from the demeanor you have in the workplace.
- Make sure your back drop is clear from clutter or anything that could give you a bad first impression.
- Don't talk too fast or slow and remember to make eye contact.
How to do it
- Develop it with a structure beginning, middle and end.
- Script it before you begin and don't read from an autocue or notes.
- Introduce yourself clearly, explain why you've created the clip and tell the viewer why you're the right person for the job.
- Give your contact details at the end of the video.
- Ensure you get some objective, honest feedback before you send it to an employer.
- Make sure the video is clear, well lit and in focus.
Have a look at the following tips from the Guardian: How to make a great video CV.
Video CVs in academia
Academic CVs usually much longer than CVs in the private sector. It would be difficult to convey a quantity of information in video format.
Although academics have to present a public face when they give lectures and in other parts of their job, their presentation and communication skills are not judged in the same way as a journalist might be.
Academic employers can be resistant to change but having said that, it is still important to be aware of new ways of presenting oneself because it may be adopted in the future.