What’s a Video Cover Letter?

With the advent of smartphones and tablets, video is now routine. Baby taking his first steps? Video it. Just climbed the Eiffel Tower? Video it. A clown’s on stilts in center city? Video that, too.  Whatever moment you wish to capture, you can do so by video. You can even use apps like Glide for instant video messaging. Not to mention, you can engage in live video conversations and conferencing with Skype and other programs right on your hand-held device. It therefore stands to reason that the prevalence of video would start taking hold in the job application process. And it has.

You might think that videos would be reserved for job interviews. But video can be used in the initial stage of a job application, along with sending your resume. Whereas previously, you would send your resume with a cover letter, or a cover letter email, now you can send a video cover letter.

Here are some tips for preparing and sending a video cover letter.

  1. Prepare a standard video first. As with written cover letters, you don’t need to tailor each video cover letter to match specific job applications. Use a script which will suit your general field of interest, and also demonstrates a bit about you personally. If the situation really warrants, you can create a more specialized video for a particular job – the issue is merely your time. And be sure to make the video short – less than one minute is ideal.
  2. Dress the Part. For the cover letter video, dress as if you are on the job. Show them your work persona not only in dress but in speech, facial expressions, and hand gestures. In short, be as professional as you always would be.
  3. Relax. Video viewers do not expect you to spend millions on your selfie video. They do expect you to show your true self though, so even if you’re nervous, relax, and act like you would on an in-person interview.
  4. Judge Whether It’s the Right Time. It might be presumptuous to send a video cover letter if the application did not require it. On the other hand, you might be lauded for taking initiative if you send it, even if it was not requested. You be the judge. But there’s a better way around this question: Create a professional profile in a job search site, you can upload your cover letter video, and whoever wishes to view it can choose to do so.

Video is becoming as prevalent a form of communication as SMS. Whether live or recorded, using video allows you to represent yourself much more comprehensively than by text only. For job applications, sending a video cover letter provides an opportunity for you to show your all – much more fully than with a paper or email cover letter. By using a video cover letter, the interview process is eased for both you and the potential employer. Now, go write your less-than-one-minute script so you can suit up, smile, and press “Record.” We wish you well in getting a satisfying job, aided by your video cover letter.