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Lights, Camera, Hired: Unlocking the Power of Video CVs.

By Emma Tee on

Video has become more prevalent in recent years. Alongside the growth of video platforms such as TikTok, we saw virtual interviews boom during the pandemic and more recently have noticed an increasing number of employers ask for video job applications instead of the traditional CV, especially within the creative industry.

And we can see why requesting a video CV is becoming more mainstream.

It’s the perfect way for you as a prospective employee to showcase a little of your personality, blend your CV and covering letter together in a cohesive way, and inject a little zest into your application. In a world of endless applications, it’s also an opportunity to get your application noticed.

What is a video CV and do you need one?

A video CV is exactly how it sounds! Typically, it’s a short video that gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself and describe your background, skills and qualifications, and the reason why you’re the one for the role. Despite creating a video CV, you’ll also want to submit a standard application and covering letter, as it is slightly different to the traditional written one as it’s likely you’re not going to cover every point in your video application.

Of course, a video CV isn’t for everyone, nor is it for every industry. An Accountant applying for a role at KPMG is not going to naturally be asked for or need to create one, but if, for example, you’re in the digital marketing sphere and are looking to join an agency, you might be tempted to strengthen your application and showcase your skills. It might also be that in this industry, you find that you are asked to create one, and if you are really interested in the role on offer, you should be willing to try it out!

What are the pros and cons?

As with most things, there are pros and cons to a video CV.

Let’s start with the biggest pro, which is the way it allows you to show the real you – people buy into people which is why cultural fit is one of the most important factors when hiring. People can be perfect on paper, but if they aren’t the right team fit, it’s likely they won’t be the chosen one, so what better way to show that you’d fit than by introducing yourself?! Another pro is the way it allows you to portray your communication skills, confidence, and knowledge – perfect for those applying to roles that require you to be client-facing or those where you need videography skills.

The cons? Firstly, a lot of recruitment companies and employers have an applicant tracking system in place that works on filtering CVs based on keywords and this type of technology won’t be able to process a video file in the same way as a written CV. Secondly, a video application is time-consuming, not only for the person creating it, but the person on the other end watching it. It’s very easy to skim-read a CV in a minute or so and understand if the person has the skills needed for the job – an inbox filled with video applications would take a chunk out of an employer’s or recruiter’s day. And finally, not everyone has the ability or technology available to edit a video to the same level, so there can be distinct advantages at the first stage.

If you’ve decided, after reading all the pros and cons, that you do want to create a video CV for your next application, then the tips below should help!

Styles and inspo

There are plenty of video CVs that you can delve through on the internet, and you’ll soon come to realise that there can be more to a video CV than sitting down and talking down the lens. If that’s what you want to go for, then do just that, but if you want to inject a little more creativity you’ll soon notice that there are video CVs that contain animation, stop-frame, or are shot as a vlog. Inspiration is out there, you just need to decide what you do before putting filming.


We’ve said it before and we will say it again, preparation is key! Before you press record, you should have a good idea of what you want to say and include in your application. That’s where a script comes in. Your script doesn’t have to be war and peace, it could just be as simple as writing down an outline of what you want to include. Needless to say, without one, you could end up rambling and may miss integral points that will strengthen your application.


There is a reason that most YouTubers choose a neutral background and it’s because it won’t detract attention. If you’re creating a video CV, this is something that you’ll have to consider now too. Make sure you’ve got plenty of natural light (easier said than done in the UK, we know!) and a clear background with nothing lurking that you wouldn’t want to be seen. We all remember this infamous BBC news interview that took place last year – you likely wouldn’t want a similar slip-up!


Once the background is set and you have an idea of what you want to say, it’s time to get the camera out. Although an expensive camera would give you the best quality, you don’t need to go out a buy one for this. If you have one available, great, get it set up! If you don’t then you’ll likely find that, with the right lighting, the camera on your phone is good enough, quality-wise. If you’re sitting down for a piece to camera, you will want to get your hands on a tripod so the image is steady. Leave the shaking camera to Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch – unless you want to go for a horror-themed CV!


When set-up is complete it’s action time. Keep the filming short and sweet, at most you’ll want it to last for two minutes. Remember to remain professional throughout and showcase the skills you have that are relevant to the job description, while letting your personality shine through. It’s also important that you try to keep your eyes off the script you created, we want it to look as natural as possible.

Time to edit

Once it’s shot then it’s time to edit. There is plenty of editing software out there, you’ll likely find that there you have some already installed on your computer! If your editing skills are at a higher level, you could use tools from the Adobe Creative Suite. The editing stage is also where you’ll want to consider adding additional elements, for example, you could add animations or visuals of you carrying out the role that you’re applying for. Not only will adding these elements make the video less two dimensional, but it could also prove that you can carry out the responsibilities the employer or recruiter is looking for.


With anything that you do, you’ll want to get feedback. Share your video with your friends and family as they’re likely to give you the most honest and constructive feedback. Just like you, they’ll want the video to make the right impression so do take on board what they’ve said and make any tweaks you think are necessary.

Fire away

Finally, it’s what you’ve been gearing towards…sending your application out! If you do create a video CV, make sure that you also send a written CV alongside it as it will only strengthen your application.

With video exploding, we do hope that the above helps, but do remember that this is a learning curve! Unless you’re a video whizz, it’s likely that you won’t make a Tarantino masterpiece, but as we see video applications become more mainstream it’s well worth giving it a go!