Acing Your Video Cover Letter

Written by Brian Power
Graphic Design by Amanda Goodman

Setting the Stage

“Only one may enter…A diamond in the rough.” This foreboding “Aladdin” quote may reference a cave full of treasure, but it also aligns well with applying for jobs. It’s challenging to stand out when creating your application package. Luckily, we’re here to help you shine bright like the diamond you are! In this post, we’ll go over the intricacies of making a video cover letter to help your application stand out.

What is a Video Cover Letter?

A video cover letter is pretty straight-forward. It’s a short video presenting the contents of one’s cover letter verbally instead of on paper. Picture the opening to a Youtube vlog that gives the audience a sense of who you are and what you have to offer. In this instance, the subscribers are the employers out there. Your cover letter tells what you have to offer; now it’s time to make it personal by putting a face to the application. All you’re going to need is a computer, a working camera, and that star-studded personality.

From Letter to Script

Now don’t let the word “script” intimidate you. This doesn’t mean you have to be the next Steven Spielberg. Morphing your cover letter into a script is all about making it personal and getting it to roll off the tongue. Make sure to treat this as an interview by speaking directly to an employer. Give specific reasons on why you’ve got the skills to give this company chills. Go over your accomplishments, but don’t overdo it. Your resume will take care of that. It’s all about providing the employer a sense of your career-winning personality. Since you will read this cover letter aloud, try to use words that are easily spoken and fit into your vernacular.

Practice, Practice, Practice (And a bit more practice)

Now that you’ve got the pages, do what all great actors do; talk to yourself in your dressing room! More accurately, bump up the font on your computer and read that script over and over again. You’ll be able to read off the screen while recording. Also, being comfortable with the material will smooth the process. That comfort will emanate confidence, and a production like yours deserves all the confidence in the world.

A videographer looking at his camera preparing for a shoot in his home.

Prep Work

Now it’s time to set the stage. This part is crucial, so let’s take a look at some of the essential steps you’ll need to take to get ready.

  • Start with finding a camera. Webcams are good, but nowadays, most phones have higher resolution. Try to prop up your phone horizontally for the best image quality. 
  • When setting up the camera’s frame, make sure you’re in the middle of the screen with enough space above your head to avoid feeling claustrophobic.
  • You’ll also want to pay attention to the backdrop. Find a neutral background or a professional setting to set the scene.
  • The lighting department is also crucial. Taking advantage of daylight by sitting near a window is a great way to decrease the shadows on your face. If there are still some dark spots, don’t be afraid to break out a flashlight or two to fill in those tricky areas.
  • Last but not least: audio. A great video can be ruined if it doesn’t sound crisp. Using an additional hidden phone to record audio is a classic trick. If that’s not doable, make sure your camera’s microphone isn’t covered or obstructed in some way.

When it comes down to it, think of “The Office”. Jim and Pam may already have a job at Dunder Mifflin, but when it comes to their confessionals, they’ve got that professional look down. Emulate their style of dress too!  Business casual is always a safe bet, so plan your wardrobe accordingly.


Quiet on set! It’s time for your close-up! You’ve got your script ready to read, your camera and lighting picture-perfect. Now it’s time to start rolling. Hit record and run through the whole script you have written. Even if you nail it the first time, run through it a few different times. Change up your cadence and try new ways of approaching what you’ve written. We can put it all together with the power of movie magic later. Remember when you’re recording to speak articulately and full of energy. Smiling helps, but being yourself is paramount when selling yourself to employers.


After gathering all the footage you need, it’s time to put it together. Editing can seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of free and intuitive programs to use.

  • iMovie is perfect for Mac users, and is a simple and free online video editor for all platforms. Both will walk you through the steps of stitching your video together. 
  • Once you’ve got your clips in a program, go through and pick out the best pieces of each to cut together. 
  • The blade tool is your best friend here. It can look like a razor blade or scissors in these programs and lets you cut clips where you want them to start and end. 

Now that you’ve got all the parts together, you can export your finished video cover letter.

Wrap Party

After gaining the know-how of creating a video cover letter, it’s good to remember why you’re making one. Employers can look at hundreds of applications a day. A video cover letter will help you stand out and increase the odds of an employer noticing you. It’ll help you bring your A-game before an interview, but that’s not all you need. After an interview can be just as important! Once you’ve made a video cover letter, it’ll be easy to change parts, refilm things, and personalize it for applying to other jobs. Now it’s time to start your production! Get out there and be the star you are!

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Have a Super Day!