How to make video introduction for job search in Canada?

About video introduction

Why is video important for foreign workers?

Because foreign workers have several big disadvantages when it comes to job search in Canada:

  1. In most cases they cannot meet employers in person, face to face, before they get work permit
  2. Canadian employers are not sure if foreign worker can speak English/French well enough to do the job,
  3. Canadian employers may be apprehensive in terms of personal and cultural differences which may be in the way of successful cooperation in the workplace (for example attitude towards women in higher positions etc.)
  4. Canadian employers cannot easily check foreign worker's references (due to language barriers, time differences etc.) therefore they need additional assurances foreign worker really can do the job
  5. Because of LMIA process hiring a foreign worker is a costly, time consuming and laborious process - Canadian employers want assurance foreign worker is "worth the trouble" of going through all that process.
Good video introduction can successfully alleviate all of these potential problems for the foreign worker: your employer will hear your English, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your skills, you can show how nice a person you are...

Is video introduction recommended for everyone?

No it it not for everyone. For example if you feel extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera you may convey the wrong impression to your potential employer, in that case it is better just to rely on your resume. The purpose of video introduction is to enhance your chances of being hired, not to diminish them.

Is video introduction replacement for resume?

No, it is not. You will still need a good, professionally done resume. That is why we do not call it video resume (as some call it) but instead we call it video introduction. Video introduction is providing potential employers with additional information, something what is not already in your resume.

How long should my video introduction be?

Keep it under 3 minutes (ideally around 2 minutes). Video is very rich medium - if one picture is worth one thousand words then one minute of video is worth a million pictures therefore your potential employer will have plenty of additional information if you put together well thought out video introduction. Another important thing: employers do not have time or patience to watch long videos.

What should I put in my video presentation?

The purpose of your resume and video introduction is to convince your potential employers in Canada you are the right person for the Skype interview. Please do not have illusions Canadian employers will give you a job offer only based on your resume and your video introduction. They will also have to speak with you before they decide they want to hire you (or in more practical terms: before they decide they want to apply for LMIA for you).

Having that in mind you will put in your video presentation everything that will show your potential employer that you have skills and experience to do the job well, you will show that you will get along with your co-workers in Canada and you will also explain to employer that you are reliable worker who won't leave the job a month or two after you start working n Canada.

In your video introduction you will demonstrate your skills: for example if you are a cook you can quickly prepare a simple dish; if you are a computer programmer you can write a few lines of code to show how you solve some common programing problems; if you are applying for supervisory position you can ask your former coworkers to say something nice about you as a supervisor etc.

You want to impress your potential employer with your skills, knowledge and with your personality.

Make sure you look presentable in your video and ideally you will memorize all lines before you start speaking in the camera (improvising on the spot may look spontaneous but often it turns out to be too unpredictable).

When you speak try to use some technical words specific for your occupation, something that would show you have knowledge and experience in your area of expertise.

What should I NOT put in my video introduction?

Do not put in your video presentation anything that will hurt the prospects of you getting a Skype or telephone interview (ultimately preventing you from getting a job offer).

Keep in mind every single thing you put in your video must work for you and not against you.

For that reason do not put in your video anything about your private life (probably there is nothing wrong with casually mentioning that you have family and children, if that is the case, however there is no need to show them in your video), about your religious or political believes (unless you are applying for a position in a church or some other religious institution), do not put anything about your hobbies (unless they are closely related to your occupation and consequently may sound good to your prospective employers). Employers are not interested in your lifestyle either.

Try to anticipate who is going to watch your video - for example if you think your video will be watched by an HR manager you will profile it in a way that it makes sense to them. On the other hand if you think your video will be watched by a hands-on manager or a supervisor who know your job inside-out then you will create video for such situation.

How difficult is to record a video?

Much like preparing your resume this will depend on your skills and abilities. Nowadays practically all cellphones have a camera therefore practically anyone can shoot a 3 minute video. How will your video look in the end depends on many factors and some of them are:

- it will depend on your occupation (for example it is easier to show how good roofer you are than to show in a video how good accountant you are, however video introduction may be beneficial in both situations),

- it will depend how well you tell the story and how clear you are about the message you want to send to the employer (for example repeating your resume word by word in front of your camera may not be the best way to utilize this powerful medium),

- it will depend on your technical skills. Chances are you will have to do some basic editing of several shorter video shots (trimming video clips, cutting out sections you do not want in the video, adding some basic titles or subtitles such as your name, name and role of other people who may appear in your video - for example your former employer or your friends etc.). To do that you will have to rely on computer software such as Windows movie maker (free) or any similar computer program.

- it will depend how closely you follow our recommendations listed below under "technical considerations".

If you want to read more about video presentations check out our second page on this web site that deals with video presentations.

Technical considerations

You do not have to be a professional videographer in order to make a decent video introduction of yourself. (Although it may be a good idea to hire a professional or semi-professional to do that work for you). However if you want to make a watchable job search video we recommend that you follow these tips:

- Sound in any video is extremely important. Make sure your Canadian employers can clearly hear what you (or someone else in the video) is saying. Avoid background noise, try to be close to the camera so that your voice is clearly recorded,

- No one likes shaky videos - put your camera (or cellphone) on some sort of firm surface so that your camera does not move (too much) while you record. Ideally you would use a tripod but not everyone has a camera tripod so use what you have just make sure your camera is stable.

- Avoid low lite or too much light situations - lighting is very important for videos. If you record outside your face may have strong shadows because of too much light. If you record indoors with low light situation this may not be ideal either. Try to find some compromise between those two extremes.

- You do not have to look straight into camera all the time

- Do not zoom in and out, do not pan, do not use transitions when you edit videos, do not use background music, do not add to much title/subtitle text, do not do any fancy stuff which will prevent employers from focusing on what you have to say

- You can record some of your narration separately and later add it to the footage of you demonstrating something for example. Not everything you say must be on camera, some narration may follow some other action on the screen,

- Keep in mind every single detail in the video is telling a story - for example if you are sitting in your chair or sofa while recording your video be aware what is behind you. Is it books that are in the background? Or a nice picture? Or dirty dishes? You do not want something in the background which will draw attention from what is happening in the foreground (what you want to show). In a video everything counts, be conscious of that.

- Ideally you would record in HD (720p) however even formats smaller than that should be ok for the purpose of video introduction

- Upload your video introduction to Youtube or Vimeo where your Canadian employer can see it when you send them the link. Youtube has option of private videos where only people who have the link can see the video (no one can randomly stumble upon such videos doing Youtube or Google search

Is that all?

One more thing: when you finish your video it would be highly recommended that you ask your family and friends to watch it and give you feedback - the more eyes see your video before you show it to employers the better.

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