I recently created a video cover letter for a job that I was applying for. As a video content creator, this was a no brainer. This is why content creators like Peter McKinnon and Lizzie Peirce started Youtube channels. Their content acts as a prolonged cover letter for them. From coaches to mechanics, there are all types of other professionals using video to show their work and have fun on social media. So why not a video cover letter?
With the increasing accessibility of video and the reality of whole generations that have become digital natives, some have gone so far as to say that we are witnessing the death, if not a growing ineffectiveness, of traditional cover letters. I’m a content creator, not your hiring manager so let’s say that creating a video is a valuable skill much like writing. If done right, it can be a personal and engaging way of getting someone’s attention.
Here three tips for creating video cover letters and some resources that will help you on your journey.
KEEP IT SHORT
I tend to overthink things. What can I say, it’s a superpower. But, like writing a concise cover letter, you need to reign that in and hit the main points. Some say 60 seconds or shorter, but I’m a rebel. My cover letter is 1:45 because of the introduction I crafted for the company. I wanted to demonstrate what I could accomplish for them. What’s the moral of the story? Do what’s right for your industry and the job you want.
FIND YOUR HOOK
The best way to keep your video cover letter short is to “find your 'hook' and discuss one tangible thing about you that will grab the viewer and make them want to interview you." For me, it was my rich experience in digital media production and storytelling that would help them fulfill their mission and engage more allies. Each of the three points I talk about follows from there. I repeated this twice: once in the beginning, and second at the end.
KNOW YOUR LIMIT, PLAY WITHIN IT
There’s a saying where I live, “know your limit, play within it” meant to promote responsible gambling. I’ve been watching the government-sponsored commercials since I was a kid, so it’s stuck in my head. But it’s applicable to more than gambling. Say, your video cover letter for instance. Everyone has different levels of competency with video production. Whatever your skill level is, don’t go too far beyond that.
Almost everyone has access to an HD or 4K video camera on their phones, so I’ll share some resources to help you get started with your phone:
Sunny Lennarduzzi provides an engaging script template for Youtube that can be adaptive.
Here are some quick lighting tips. The cheapest option is using light from your window.
Looking for a cheap lighting option, check this article out.
AUDIO IS SO IMPORTANT! Here are some quick tips on recording and gear.
Here is a handy list of video editing apps for your phone.
Here are some quick editing tips for beginners
How can we help?
If this resonates with you, feel free to reach out. Let us know what challenges you’re struggling with when it comes to video.