How the video resume captures employers' attention more quickly

Sept. 8, 2014
The doctor received her postcard and happened to be in the market for a new hygienist. On the postcard was her digital resume address so he went there and found that she had also posted a video resume.

By Doug Perry

In the last couple months, I wrote about two of the three most powerful job hunting strategies that helped my wife, Tracie, get multiple interviews and ultimately a permanent dental hygiene position in a very saturated job market.


Other articles by Doug Perry:


Indeed, postcards and a digital resume (website) were pivotal to the outcome. But they were only part of the story. The biggest factor, in my opinion, was the third strategy, which was a video resume.

As Tracie was later told, the doctor received her postcard and happened to be in the market for a new hygienist. On the postcard was her digital resume address ( so he went there and found that she had also posted a video resume.

He was highly impressed to see that someone had done so much to market themselves. More importantly he was able to connect with her. Never before had he been able to see and hear who a job candidate was before he had even met them.

Watch Tracie Perry's Video Resume

It made his decision to interview her easy. In fact, he was ready to hire her. So he invited the staff to come in and view her video, after which he said, "I think she's the one we want. What do you think?" Everyone agreed.

How is that possible? They had never met her in person, scanned her resume, or talked to any of her references. Nope, what they saw and heard was way better. They saw her personal brand, her genuineness, who she really is as a person, and decided she was a great choice.

What do dental offices look for in candidates? They look for you, but are they finding you? They want to know how approachable you are, how friendly you are, how passionate you are, how well you will represent them and care for their patients. It's very difficult to get that from a piece of paper and they only see that when they decide to interview you.

But what if you never get to that point because you don’t stand out? What if all they see is an average (or less than average) resume and cover letter among dozens of others. You won't get a shot at the job unless you do something to differentiate yourself.

A video resume, by itself, stands out and will impress. A video resume that is well done, will do for you as it did for my wife and knock it out of the park!

The Nuts and Bolts

So how do you create a video resume?

I realize even the word "video" probably scares many hygienists. It sure did for Tracie. In fact, it took a lot of coaxing to get her to agree to it. Like many, she thought of all the reasons why not to do one: "I don't like the sound of my voice," "I don't look good on camera," "That will take too long," "I don't want to memorize a script." She protested for several reasons against it.

None of that needs to be the case. You can actually create a great video that will generate solid interest from employers and you don't even have to own a camera or expensive video editing software.

So here’s three options for creating one, and then I’ll finish with some tips to make it great.

Getting it Done

Option 1: Hire a Professional Videographer

I'm guessing most you know you can hire a professional to create a video resume. That will cost you anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand depending on how cool you want to make it, and who you hire.

They will interview you, maybe interview a reference or two, and film you at different locations doing different things, showing you are a real person (humanizing you). The end result would likely be pretty awesome and will make a huge and immediate impact for you.

Not only will it showcase you as a great hygienist, but also highly-innovative for having a video resume, and that's a trait every employer looks for.

Option 2: Hire a Student Videographer

Lots of high school and college kids out there love making quality videos these days/ The barriers for them to do it in the past no longer exist.

Some students would love to do it just for the experience, while others need gas money. But this is a great option if you want something like what we did for Tracie but don't have much or anything to spend (which we didn’t at the time).

Contact the local college or high school and ask the media arts teachers (very important) who they think would be reliable and do a good job. If you find a student that wants a little bit of money for their efforts, ask if you can see some of the work they produced and give them a timeline you need it done by.

Option 3: Do it Yourself

You can absolutely shoot and edit a nice video of yourself; people do it all the time. Truth be told, most modern smart phones shoot excellent quality video and there are lots of free video editing tools and apps you can get (such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie for the Mac).

Just set up a tripod (or prop your phone up), practice what you want to say, gather some photos, and/or text you want to display and start filming/editing.

Another great way to create a video is to create a video resume that only has text, pictures, and music using Microsoft PowerPoint or some other presentation software. Create it just as you would any slide presentation, save it as a movie file and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. Here’s an example of one we did for Tracie recently. Click here to see this video.

Make it Great and Keep it Real

The most important advice for any video I can give is to keep it short, simple, and succinct. Somewhere between 45 and 75 seconds is the goal. It's not much time, but keeping it within that length will ensure employers will see the whole thing and not get bored.

If you do a video with you in it, pay close attention to the following:

  • Lighting: Make sure the room or setting is bright
  • Background: Video yourself in a relaxed setting (sitting down) with a nice background like a living room or family room — not a blank, white wall
  • Sound: Make sure it's quiet and in a room that doesn't echo like kitchens sometimes do. If you have access to an external mic and recording device that’s all the better
  • Background music: Add a little flair with some background music. It will create a mood or interest, but keep it conservative, upbeat and very light in volume

Should you script it out? I would avoid reading from a script or too much memorization of a script because it takes some of the spontaneous out your presentation and makes you appear less genuine. You want a video like this too ooze with both professionalism and reality — keep it real.

If you need a script to help guide your thoughts and what you want to say, that's perfectly fine, but don't memorize it word for word. Let your passion for dental hygiene come from you, not the words on a piece of paper.

Video resumes are an incredible way for you to take your job hunt several notches higher, and will likely make your search for a great dental hygiene job a very short one, indeed.

Doug and Tracie Perry are co-authors of the 2012 e-book “Landing a Great Dental Hygiene Job. Together, they own, a career website for dental hygienists, where Doug writes new tips each week and offers his dental job marketing expertise as well as one-on-one coaching, resume writing, and several other related services.