Should I Use a Video Cover Letter to Stand Out? |

EP 1037 Video cover letters are a growing trend. Should you use one as part of your job hunting?

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The question is – – should I use a video cover letter to stand out?

Like many things, the answer may be yes or no… I don't have enough information in your case to go hard and fast rule but let me summarize my thinking.

Most of you are not great actors or actresses. You think you are but most of you actually stink. Many years ago, when video, was a new phenomena, I received a video from a job hunter who read his resume in front of a blue backdrop.

It was the most boring treatise imaginable.

Most of you don't talk to the camera well; you can read the speech but do you think that's going to be exciting for someone? If you sat in the audience of the theater and someone read to you (I'm going to pick something up and read to you exactly is on the piece of paper and every once in a while looked up), is that interesting for you to listen to?No. Does any personality come through? No.

It really depends on who you are and how well you communicate.

There are many people that are sensational communicators; they have a lot of energy and passion; they can deliver a cover letter that speaks to the listener and grabs their attention. They have the ability to say, "This is how you describe the job and the experience that you're looking for. This is what I have done." They can do it so well that the phone will ring before the video is over.

Then there is most of you who will write a speech, you'll tape it to your monitor, or you'll be holding your phone there in front of you, and will be looking at the camera and then looking down at what you wrote, and look at the camera and what you wrote, and you're going to be awful.

The right answer is going to be the one that is right for you; I don't want to give a general rule but the reality is most people are atrocious in front of the camera because you're not well practiced enough.

I've done more than 2000 YouTube videos; I host podcasts; I'm relatively glib. I spent most of my career as a headhunter where nothing is prepared in advance and every conversation is different.

Most of you don't have that kind of experience and, if you do, have not learned how to translate that experience to be in front of the camera. The result is you are far better writing than you are in person.

That's the general statement. Now, let me add an extra layer.

Unfortunately, in this world, there was a lot of discrimination. By letting someone see you, you open yourself up to it and to mockery.

You can mark before wearing this coach hat and that's fine but if you're out there looking for a job and someone is watching your video and says, "was with that Coach hat he's wearing," or, "was with that shirt he's got on," or, "she comes across like an idiot," they are not evaluating for who you are and what you know, they are distracted by something. That's my other reluctance.

Unless you have a great delivery that is completely captivated, you expose yourself on the basis of bias to unnecessary rejection.

As a result, using a video cover letter can work or not work; you have to know yourself well enough to answer whether it can work for you.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1000 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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