This is a guide of the do’s and don’ts for making an application video. The same rules apply when making a profile video, which is a little introduction video you might have on certain freelance platforms to show potential clients how friendly and qualified you are. Whether you are applying to job, trying to snag customers with a witty profile, or making another sort of video, these are some simple, straightforward guidelines that will make you look good and up your chances of getting the gig(s). This has been a stumbling block for some Nomad Playground members so we decided to do something about it. Enjoy:
- Know your audience.
- Make sure what you’re doing is appropriate for the context. A language tutoring app, a professional freelancing platform, and a usability testing website all have very different audiences. What would you want to see if you were in their shoes? If you think playing up a certain kind of personality would grab their attention best, try it out.
- Write down what you’re going to say beforehand. You won’t be reading directly from your script once you’re recording, but you’ll need something to work from. You want what you say to come off as natural, but definitely have a sense of what you want to say. It it’s something you’re taking seriously you’ll obviously want to put a lot of thought into this. But even if the gig is not that serious, you’ll at least want to write out the bullet points of what you want to cover before “winging it.”
- Make sure to address any questions or prompts the application has.
- Don’t just list your resume – it’s boring and there’s already a section for them to read it. Put some personality into it.
- Make a good impression right off the bat, and make your best points first. Whoever is assessing the videos will likely decide if they like you within the first 30 seconds.
- Choose a good backdrop.
- Noisy backgrounds, basement lighting surrounded by used tissues (yikes), or anything distracting behind you are no-nos. Make sure the lighting is good and your audio is clear.
- Dress the part/ groom yourself.
- You don’t need to be stiff and formal. Add as much character to your video as you want – that’s a good thing. Just make sure you aren’t showing the side of yourself that looks like you’ve Netflix binged with complete disregard to showers or dental hygiene for three days.
- Make eye contact with the camera. DO NOT read off script while recording (it’s really obvious).
- Speak clearly and consistently. Avoid shuffling papers or pausing to read off your script. Keep the number of “ums,” “erms, “and uhhs” low. If you mess this up don’t worry, you can just do another take.
- Keep it short: 30-90 seconds. Unless specified, no one wants to watch a 5+ minute video – save the stand up special for your youtube channel.
- Shoot a couple takes.
- Remember it’s your show, make some good takes and pick the one you like.
Edit (if necessary)
- There are many free video editing software programs out for both Mac and Windows – use one. This step might feel unneeded for those applying to easier websites, but it never hurts. Some sites have the recording step built directly into their website, making this step irrelevant, but most sites require an upload, which means you can edit as much as you wish.
- Get a second opinion. Have a friend look it over and give you feedback if you’re unsure about anything.
That’s it! If it sounds detailed and difficult, remember that unless it’s a serious job application, there is no reason to put hours and hours into this. It all depends on what level you want to take it to. If you are spending half your day putting together the perfect backdrop, going through several drafts of your script, or adding mind-numbing visual effects during the editing phase, you’re probably overthinking it. Employers are not typically looking for the greatest monologue or most incredible production quality – they’re looking for personality, intelligence, creativity, and a little effort. Have fun with it. Find a balance that works for you, and don’t get too lost in the details.
Good luck and happy recording!