I recently had the chance to chat with Ana Lokotkova, an amazing career advisor. She’s a talented professional with incredible energy, and I love her attitude about helping people “rock their career brand.” Ana focuses on telling career stories to showcase job seekers’ unique qualities to get employers’ attention, and she has great advice to offer about doing so.
Our conversation was about LinkedIn video and how job seekers can leverage it to stand out from other job seekers. Using LinkedIn is crucial for a job search in today’s world, but even with a top-notch profile and an impressive work history, you might end up getting lost in the crowd among others in your industry. Using LinkedIn video can help you stand out—read on to find out how and why Ana recommends you take advantage of this tool in your job search.
Jessica: Why should job seekers use LinkedIn video as a job search strategy?
Ana: With more companies switching to applicant tracking systems (ATS) and letting computers decide who is or isn’t a great candidate, it has become more crucial than ever to find other ways to stand out in the job market and attract employers. LinkedIn video is a great networking tool, and with so few people doing it on the platform, it’s a sure way to set yourself apart from hundreds of other candidates.
Jessica: What are the benefits of using LinkedIn video during your job search?
Ana: Here are three of the main benefits I see of jumping on the LinkedIn video train now, before everyone else does:
• It’s a powerful personal branding tool. According to recent research, around 70% of employers use social networking sites to screen candidates as part of their recruitment process. When employers check you out online and come across your videos, they get a unique chance to see you in action.
• If you’re concerned about running into age-related prejudice based on your resume, use LinkedIn video to show your energy and other aspects of your experience and/or personality that throw any prejudice out of the window. Plus, you get to demonstrate how you keep up with latest trends—LinkedIn video is definitely one of them.
• Showing up on video helps you build a greater sense of trust with your LinkedIn network, and adds personality to your online presence. When people see you talking about a certain topic, it feels like they are getting to know you better. They see your passion and expertise in action rather than on paper, which in turn makes them more likely to want to connect and/or partner with you.
Jessica: Great! So how can people leverage video on LinkedIn as part of their job search? Can you share some of your top tips for doing so?
Ana: There are a few key tips I have for LinkedIn videos. First, keep your videos short—I recommend aiming between one and three minutes. Second, keep them simple. You don’t need to give an in-depth scientific lecture or a full-length, detailed biography. Third, pick a very specific topic. When you choose to talk about something very general, it’s harder to keep your message short and for viewers to easily digest the information.
And finally, remember that your videos shouldn’t be all about you. Do you like talking to people who always talk only about themselves? You can add elements of your personal story, but always keep your target audience in mind. What do companies where you want to work care about? What are they struggling with? What makes them tick?
Jessica: Excellent tips! On the other hand, what pitfalls should job seekers avoid when making a video for LinkedIn?
Ana: The first thing I’d advise is that you avoid posting the first video you shoot—you may be too tense and sound forced or even awkward. Instead, record a few practice videos before you publish your first LinkedIn video for everyone else to see. I’ve come across some examples where I felt so bad for the person talking, because it was so obvious how uncomfortable they were during recording. Your first few videos may feel pretty unnatural, but it gets so much easier with practice—I promise.
I also advise against filming with a background that is too distracting. I’m not saying it needs to be plain and boring, but you still need to be the center of the video. You wouldn’t want to annoy your viewers with something that is constantly turning their focus away from your key message. A background’s impact gets overlooked very often with DIY videos.
When you do publish a video in a status update, avoid linking to an alternative video hosting platform in your main post. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t want you to take people away from LinkedIn, and it may lower your visibility. If you’re publishing a video post, upload your video directly onto LinkedIn.
Jessica: How do you recommend they use the video? You mentioned a status update, but what about posting it in an article, or adding it to their profile? Some other way?
Ana: I think you could try all of those things. You could do one to two introductory videos to attach to your profile, but those would only be viewed when someone actually lands on your profile.
If you want to get more people interested in your profile and wanting to connect with you, it’s best to use video as part of your status updates on LinkedIn. If you post regularly on LinkedIn, you can mix it up by adding video every once in a while, giving your posts a bit more personality and attracting like-minded people on the platform. People who take a couple of minutes out of their day to watch your video are much more likely to become closer connections and turn into stronger ties in your network.
Jessica: Do you have any tech tips we should be aware of? Do you recommend adding subtitles or having it professionally edited or is it better to forego the editing for a more authentic feel?
Ana: I’m a big proponent of the principle “Done is better than perfect.” That doesn’t mean you can post whatever, but don’t let your inner perfectionist stop you from getting started. Like anything else, it’s a learning process, and your next video will be better than your last one.
One thing you can do is to make sure you have good lighting—that directly affects the quality of your videos. These days, you can record great videos with pretty much any smartphone. You don’t need sophisticated video equipment to get started. You might find a good spot with enough daylight, or buy a small ring light on Amazon.
Having good sound is also important. Make sure you don’t get a lot of background noise in your videos. If you have a microphone, that works great, or you can even use your phone headphones while getting the hang of what works best for you.
There are lots of very user-friendly video editing tools for do-it-yourselfers, like iMovie, for example. Sophisticated editing isn’t what’s going to attract employers’ attention, unless video editing is your profession.
I do recommend including closed captions in your videos. People might be watching your videos at work or in public transport, and it’s important to give them an option to follow along with their sound off.
Jessica: Once videos are posted, how do you think recruiters will respond on LinkedIn or what responses have you seen?
Ana: Recruiters generally appreciate an opportunity to make their candidate screening process easier. Remember—you can always refer people to your videos, or send them a link to one or two videos that are most relevant for a certain job opportunity you’re considering. If watching your video makes it easier for them to understand why you make a great fit for a specific role, or even makes you a stronger candidate, I’m sure they won’t be against it.
Jessica: And how do you think prospective employers view videos from job seekers? Is it a positive? Does it give the person a competitive edge?
Ana: I can’t speak for all employers, but a few hiring managers I’ve spoken to have shared with me how much they appreciated candidates with active online presence in general, and video presence in particular. Video gave them a sense of the candidate’s communication style and personality, which was “a breath of fresh air” after reading through piles of almost identical, boring resumes.
It may not work for 100% of employers out there, but if I were a job seeker, I’d want to make sure I’ve tried to explore all possible venues of getting employers’ interest, and learned to leverage multiple tools to set myself apart from the crowd.
Jessica: Thanks, Ana! So much great information about how to use LinkedIn video to propel a job search.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Ana, and thought she provided excellent ideas and insight about using LinkedIn video to help you get attention from recruiters and employers and stand out in the crowd. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m a big proponent of telling your career story—talking about the WHY, not just the what—in your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Using Ana’s advice, you can add another WHY to the reasons employers should consider you the best candidate—you go the extra mile. Plus, each video you produce can address other WHYs. As Ana mentioned above, recruiters and HR managers are perusing hundreds of pages of resumes and cover letters, many with identical (and boring) words and phrases. A LinkedIn video is an impressive change of pace, and might be what makes them stand up and take notice of you.
If you’re looking for more job search or general career advice, I recommend that you follow Ana on LinkedIn or visit her website, CV Labs. As you can tell from this Q&A, she stays up-to-date with the most current trends of the job market, and is a valuable source of information overall. Her insight will certainly help you as you work towards your career goals.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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