What I’ve learnt about creating online content so far

I’m not a social butterfly, I don’t thrive in a room full of strangers with ease. I am an introvert until I feel comfortable enough to allow my extrovert side to make an appearance. People who know me well enough may find this all hard to believe as they tend to worry when I am quiet! So you can imagine my own surprise that of all the jobs and potential career paths I could have fallen into and have a genuine eagerness to learn more about and some degree of success in is digital communications.

My current employment is in external communications; maintaining the company’s website and social media pages. I have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to explore the world of video, at the moment I have only dabbled in stop motion animation but will be using YouTube editing facilities in the near future. I have been to conferences to increase my understanding and learn from experts who were once in the same position as me; wondering where to start with a social media campaign, what content to share with the world, how to engage with people to create a strong following. Then there is the topic of branding, both for business and personal, that’s right people branding is not reserved just for businesses. Just by how I present myself online through the content I share, posts I comment on even this blog are all part of my brand.

Personal Brand

For the first time I took part (a little bit) on a Twitter chat hosted by Hootsuite called #HootChat. I was a bit apprehensive at first as many of the people also taking part sounded experienced and knew what they were talking about and knew each other, but we all have to start somewhere so in I jumped with my digital arm bands.

The questions put forward for discussion revolved around branding;

  • Do you have a brand?
  • How would you describe your brand?
  • How do you maintain your brand?

This got me thinking about myself and how would I answer these questions, in short the answer is I don’t know, I’m still figuring this out. What I have learnt so far is that I need to think about what is my online persona, is there something in particular I want to be known for?

Original tweet posted my Sarah Picard

Persona Tweet

I am sharing a lot of things around social media, mental health, blogging and artificial intelligence; this is a topic that has caught my eye lately. I want to try and remain a personable by sharing my interests and generally things that happen in my world.


Content is king

Whilst at the Engaging Digital Conference piece of advice given was when generating content think of it as storytelling. Engage, depending on the topic and your personality even entertain your followers through the power of your words. You want your content to encourage people to comment, share and like your posts.

Be selective, just because you have a lot to say doesn’t mean it needs to be said all at once, one of the pieces of advice given at the #DigCommsConf by speaker Oli Lewington was to avoid ‘blasting people with your hose of content’, you want people to come back!

Hashtags are handy but you don’t want them to distract from your message. At the conference during her talk speaker Joanna Goodwin noted that from her experience less hashtags used is more.


Try not to be a complete narcissist and think just because you wrote an excellent article that people will just gravitate towards you. Get involved, share other people’s posts, comment, like etc. I manage to share and like other people’s posts but haven’t been very vocal when it comes to commenting. This is something I will work on but the fact I’m thinking about my personal brand and being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn is a step in the right direction.


‘Video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014, says technology giant Cisco. ‘

I still want to try my hand at creating and using more video in my posts. Video is a great way to tell a story and visually engages followers. I’m still a newbie and have been somewhat lazy in developing those skills myself, until then I will happily share other peoples videos.


Video CV Starring You!

The traditional two page CV is still the most popular and accepted method to apply for a job.  The job market is slowly improving but many people are still finding it difficult to get noticed so are looking to alternative ways to promote themselves and stand out from the crowd. This can involve printing your CV on a t-shirt, handing copies of your CV out on the street, turning it into a website, creating an infographic, creating a social media campaign or creating a Video CV.

In a previous blog post; Video CV – is this the next step for your CV? I discussed the pros and cons of creating such a CV. Instead of a recruiter reading about your skills, achievements, why you are a good fit for a job you can tell them yourself also giving you the opportunity charm the recruiter with your personality, in a strictly perfessional way.

As much as we would like to think that VCV’s are the future, that traditional CV’s are on their way out we know this to be a far off concept. It’s taken this long for companies and candidates to entertain the idea of using video as part of the job search and recruiting process I don’t think the standard two page CV has anything to worry about.

Depending on the job and the number of applications received recruiters are not going to want to spend precious time reviewing a VCV when they can read through a traditional CV in less time. Many people may not feel comfortable in front of a camera and may come across as awkward, not showing the true breadth of their personality and knowledge hindering their job search. These are just two reason why a VCV will not ever truly replace a traditional CV, this isn’t to say we should completely rule out the idea of VCV’s entirely.

Companies and job seekers are beginning to notice the potential benefits of having a VCV as well as a traditional written one. There are more companies specialising in helping to create a video CV, job boards like VideoRecruit allow you to upload a short video alongside your traditional CV.

Companies are also encouraged to create a recruitment video of their own to accompany their job postings. A survey carried out by CV Library found that nearly 80% of job seekers were more likely to apply for a job if there was also a company video attached. The purpose of a company video is to give potential employees a virtual look into what it could be like to work with them, what the offices look like and to gain some insight into the company culture. All this depending on the quality of the video and what information the company decides to share.

There are the pros and cons associated with having a VCV, the main ones related to discrimination be that age, gender, race, nationality not to mention being biased simply based on how a candidate looks despite their ability to do the job and a winning personality, all of which an employer can do in an interview unbeknown to the interviewee.

Don’t let the dark side of having a VCV deter you from stepping into that spot light, if you’re feeling brave then blow the dust off that camcorder and be the star of your very own VCV.

Time to make that recruitment video

With social media playing a much bigger role in every day life, the way society chooses to receive information has adapted. Breaking news is likely to be reported with a constant stream of updates before the major news networks have had a chance to send a reporter to the scene!

We are able to convey a message in 140 characters, text speak has infiltrated language and in some cases becoming the norm.

Take a mixture of words team them up with images and you’ve got yourself an infographic. You’ve heard the phrase ‘a picture can say a thousand words’, hence the growing popularity of infographics. They are usually easy on the eyes and can showcase statistics in a much more user friendly way.

How does this affect the recruitment industry?

newspaper_vector_illustrations_147953The recruitment industry has come a long way from posting jobs in the classified section of the weekly / daily newspapers. You can still find jobs being advertised in the newspaper but the industry has also taken advantage of the technological changes with advertising vacancies online, you can find a job board for almost any employment sector. Job boards not only open job seekers to a much larger number of jobs not just in their own country of residence but across the globe but also allows recruiters to access to a large candidate database.

These changes have increased the level of competition for jobs. It is because of this, the way job seekers market themselves, apply for jobs and the way their applications are received have had to change. Candidates are advised to make their CV’s SEO friendly so they can be easily found by potential employers. How to effectively brand themselves using social media and networking so prospective employers can get a 360 degrees feel for their personality instead of just looking at a bog standard CV.

Candidates who are brave enough have become more creative so they stand apart from their fellow job seekers by creating short movies, online interactive CV’s and video CV’s to accompany their conventional CV.

Job seekers are not the only ones taking advantage of online videoing, some companies will choose to carry out a video interview in order to cut travel time and expenses. There are two forms of video interviewing, two way interviewing and one way interviews.

Two way interviewing involves using video conferencing software such as Skype where both parties can see each other and speak in real time.

One way interviews involves the interviewee being recorded answering a list of set questions from the interviewer. With this method the interviewer can ensure all candidates are asked the same questions and can view the interview several times.

Video interviewing can be effective though not everyone will be comfortable being videoed, this can become apparent through body language and the answers given in the interview.

With a standard list of questions, job seekers can give standard answers they think the interviewer will want to hear. Through dialogue a job seekers personality can be seen, being able to do the job is one thing, being able to work with future colleagues is another.

Online recruitment has made jobs more accessible to job seekers who may not have known about jobs that were in different parts of the country / world, though the quality of applications received cannot be guaranteed. There can be a number of reasons for this:

–          Job seekers are applying for jobs they are not qualified for.

–          CV is of poor quality, even if the job seeker is qualified this is not evident from their CV.

–          The job seeker was perfect on paper, then the recruiter saw their social media pages.

–          Poorly written adverts. Many adverts do not contain relevant information such as location, salary or even a recognisable job title.

–          The job advert contains block text or streams of unnecessary information about the company and not enough detail about the job itself.

So why not create a recruitment video? What information written adverts lack, video adverts can make up for. As well has highlighting the current vacancies, these videos can showcase the company culture and what qualities they are looking for in future employees.

There is the risk of these video’s being over the top and cheesy but also the potential to attract the attention of job seekers who may have glanced over a mainstream job advert but not applied for the position. The feel of the video all depends on the company, companies like Google, Microsoft have a longer, corporate approach to their recruitment videos whereas the video created by Shopify is more relaxed and just as informative.

Looking to fill a vacancy, have a look at these videos from Plexonic, socialdriver and HowToMakeMobileGames. All three videos have a different approach to advertising their vacancy.

It’s time to blow the dust off those camcorders and start making those videos!




Video CV – is this the next step for your CV?

The more traditional CV has gone through a series of transitions keeping up with the different modes of communication. Before the technological explosion of the internet CV’s were physically sent, attached with an application form and cover later. Moving forward to the internet era, CV’s are sent online via email, recruiter websites, and job board application process. Whether a cover letter is still required all depends on who you are asking. Many recruiters would say they rarely read cover letters whereas companies prefer a cover letter accompanying a candidate’s application.

The next step for the CV is not something new. Video CV’s were mostly used to showcase a person’s knowledge and qualifications. A well-known video CV that went viral is that of Matthew Epstein, his comical approach to get himself noticed and potentially hired by Google may not have succeeded but definitely brought him to the attention of other potential employers.

This old but underutilised idea is becoming popular with the up and coming work force. The traditional CV, employers and candidates feel only showcases the skills and qualifications of a candidate and not enough of their personality. This is where the video CV also known as a ‘MeVie’ comes into play. A CV accompanied with a short video for many recruiters would help them to view the differences between candidates who have otherwise on paper looked the same, an idea that is being supported by the UK retail store Marks and Spencers.

So convinced that this will be the next evolutionary step for the CV that there is a new job board on the market called ‘Hello My Name is’. Through this website candidates upload their CV but must also upload a 3 minute video of themselves. This can be a pre-recorded video or one that has been created using their webcam. Point being your profile is not complete until your video has been uploaded. Once completed, the candidates profile can only be viewed by the company they have applied to. Alternatively the candidate can set their profile including video to be searched and viewed by other recruiters. Importantly other candidates do not have access to other candidate’s profiles, only recruiters.

Uploading a short video can be beneficial for those who are taking their first steps into the working world. This would be a good way to show their enthusiasm, what they lack in experience they make up for with their personality and attitude.

In the UK applicants are not required to attach a photograph with their CV, online profiles are different. How would having a video attached with your CV be considered any different? Many would argue that a video would not only reveal what the applicant looks like to the recruiter but much more, their personality and how they may fit in with the company culture.

From a candidate’s point of view, not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera. If such a time was to arise where video CV’s become compulsory I think it could have the opposite effect on some people’s career prospects.

Video CV’s are not for everyone and I personally do not see this being implemented throughout the entire recruitment industry. With the number of candidates applying for one job alone recruiters already implement filters to automatically filter out the suitable CV’s discarding the other. With videos a recruiter wouldn’t have the time to look at every single one.

You can also view this on www.jobserve.com.