It’s no secret 2020 was a challenging year in many ways. As most of us look forward to putting this year behind us, many companies may be gearing up for new year hiring as new budgets come into play in early 2021.
This brings up the relatively new idea of a video cover letter. What is a VCL, you ask? It’s just like it sounds, it’s you, talking about you and your skills, and is sent to a hiring authority at a company you wish to work for along with your CV or resume.
What are the upsides of a VCL? From a speech coach’s point of view, there are benefits and risks. For example, if you say that you have excellent communication skills, your VCL should make those evident. A warm smile, a clearly-worded, and articulate script should also be evident. Having a great voice tone, eye contact with the camera, and good posture as well as fresh, clean clothes all can carry the day.
What is the risk of submitting a VCL? Let’s say you don’t demonstrate a clear and personable communication style despite making this claim on the CV or resume. Perhaps you’re not feeling energized and present yourself in a rather mundane way…in addition, the background is messy, your cat is licking itself in the background, there is a TV on in another room…all of these can end your job search before it really begins. So if you choose to prepare a VCL, it’s got to be a great selling tool for you.
What follows are some guidelines for preparing a VCL.
1. Shoot the video from the chest up, let’s see your face and make good eye contact with the camera.
2. Lighting, background, and framing all count. Make sure your face is not in the shadows, you’re centered in the frame and the background is clean and sleek.
3. Be prepared to shoot a few versions until you get it just right. These versions should be a minute or less, so make the content count. Get feedback from others who know you well and be prepared to even do a second round of recording.
Many of the same things you would put in a traditional cover letter should also go into a VCL. Begin by introducing yourself, smile, have good eye contact with the camera, indicate the position you’re applying for, talk about the skills and experience you have and how you would contribute to the organization, close on a positive note and thank the viewer for watching. YouTube has a number of ‘how-to” videos on this topic so do some research before launching into your own VCL! Good luck and prepare your VCL with great care.
Senior Communication and Speech Coach
The Speech Improvement Company, Kerala, India