Layoff FAQs and Planning

Planning for layoffs and frequently asked questions

Are layoffs coming in 2023?

Right now, the long-forecasted recession seems to be more imminent than ever. Some economists are predicting more layoffs in the near future.

Why are layoffs happening?

High tech companies sometimes act as the canary in the economic coal mine. High tech companies currently are struggling with access to cheap borrowing and venture capital. Furthermore, consumer spending has backed off. Other high tech companies are cutting back their workforce in anticipation of a coming recession.

Layoffs happen when companies need to cut down expenses. Often, employees are the most expensive part of most businesses and so they’re often the first element to be impacted when recessions happen or business slows down.

What should I do if I’m at risk of getting laid off?

  1. Work on your resume now. It can be hard to re-construct your work experience after you’re no longer with a company. When exactly did you do that project and what percentage impact did it have on the bottom line? Take the time while you’re still employed to get all the information about your current job that you may need to market yourself for your next job.
  2. Build your network. 75% of all jobs are found via referral. It’s all about who you know! Layoffs are a universally traumatic time period, for the people that leave and those who stay. If you are axed, know who you can reach out to for help finding another job and who will be your reference. Also keep in mind that often you can go to work for your competitors (provided there’s not a non-compete in place) or even your customers. Make sure to get personal contact information for people who will be allies in your upcoming job search.
  3. Get on LinkedIn. I often joke that only three kinds of people active on LinkedIn: recruiters, sales people, and job seekers. If you get on LinkedIn and start interacting with people and building your personal brand with insightful posts, you send a strong signal that you are available to work.
  4. Start applying. While you’re updating your resume and solidifying your network, you might as well apply for a couple jobs. You can take a couple of interviews and who knows…maybe you’ll find a great company to work for? Even if you don’t find a job right now, this will help you exercise these skills and get a feel for what the job market is like right now.
  5. Save some money for a rainy day. I’m not a financial counselor, but I will point out that many job seekers feel like they have to say “yes” to the first thing that comes along because they need a paycheck ASAP. If possible, try to save some money to ride out a period of job loss so that you can find the right opportunity and not just an opportunity. Similarly, you can start researching COBRA health insurance options (or other marketplace options) so you’re not left without insurance.
  6. Imagine the worst, hope for the best. While it’s not fun to imagine getting laid off, doing so can help emotionally prepare you for the worst case scenario. Doing this emotional preparation allows you to respond better in the moment and to hit the ground running if it does happen. Job loss often comes with grief and this can help you process your grief faster so it doesn’t get in the way of your new job search.

Who gets laid off first?

Layoffs often affect many people and companies all do it a little differently. Here’s some of the most frequently targeted groups of people:

  • Mid-level managers. Often, companies will seek to downsize by cutting out management. If you are a mid-level manager overseeing a small team, you may be at higher risk if your company were to merge these smaller teams.
  • Less tenured employees. Sometimes there will be a feeling of “last in, first out.” If you were recently hired you may be at higher risk.
  • Higher paid employees. Employees who have been around longer and are paid relatively higher than their peers doing similar work might also be at higher risk of lay-offs.
  • Lower performing employees. Sometimes companies will target specific employees based on performance reviews.

Who can help if I get laid off?

Peak Performers is happy to! Please browse our jobs here! Also be sure to reach out to your local workforce development center and your personal network.

Additionally, make sure to check out our local resources list. Remember, you’re not in this alone.

Artificial intelligence and the work world

Insights into the new world of work

Is artificial intelligence coming for my job?

If your job is repetitive and requires minimal independent decision making, the short answer is yes.

Yes, artificial intelligence, robots, and engineers behind these innovations are coming for your job. 

So, you should take this time to upskill. With the changing economy, it is no longer a viable excuse to say you “don’t like computers” and therefore won’t use them. Furthermore, as a society we should pour resources and training dollars to ensure that no-one who wants to gain additional skills is shut out of a job in the future because they can’t afford it or don’t have access to the technology.

The future of work

What becomes a more interesting question is: 

“What will the future of work look like when we work alongside artificial intelligence?”

In the world of chess, there is not a grandmaster alive who can beat a well coded 99 cent phone app. Computers have come a long way.

And yet it’s important to recognize that computers think and excel at different kinds of tasks than we do. A computer beats grandmasters because they are able to “see into the future” more possible moves ahead and calculate the optimal play in every possibility. They win the war of attrition by consistently making moves that are just a little bit better based on hundreds of thousands of calculations.

However, the moment that you change the rules, the algorithm becomes inoperable. Let’s say that we set up the board randomly or add a new piece that moves differently from the others. The value of humans is that they have flexible, malleable thinking and can make independent decisions without having to relearn the entire game.

Currently, the world’s leading grandmasters (who can beat other humans) are the people who religiously consult computers for optimal plays in practice and then are able to blend this with flexible, independent decision making when playing others. However, it’s also important to note that if you can download an app on your phone and have access to basically the same resources. Novice human players today are vastly better than they were a decade ago.

So how will AI impact your job?

All of our industries are seeing an infusion of AI. For recruiters, we are learning the ways of an applicant tracking system. Similar to a chess program, it’s able to quickly find candidates and also recall past interactions with those people. 

What it lacks is also important to note: the ability to read between the lines on a person’s resume, the ability be creative and see other possible jobs for which they might fit, the ability to have a conversation. Hiring humans is complicated and requires other humans and will for the foreseeable future. 

Even basic communication skills, such as responding to an email, is very difficult for a computer to do well. Language is complicated and built on very complicated and ever-changing rules. However, you can gain a lot from turning on spell check before you reply to the email.

The bottom line: learn to work with computers. They are a tool, not some scary overlord. The most successful workers in the future will be those who can learn to adopt and utilize these new tools.

Are you ready to upskill?

Peak Performers can help you find a new career. If you don’t have many computer skills, check out Workforce Solutions to learn about the free and subsidized programs they have. You can learn in-person with Austin Community College or online with Metrix and IBM SkillsBuild.

Job Search Feedback

Feedback is critical to your job search.

Processing feedback when looking for a job

When you ask a friend to read your resume and tell you what they think, that’s feedback. When you go to networking events and give your elevator pitch, what you hear (or don’t hear) afterwards is feedback. Whether you get called for interviews, that’s feedback. During the interviews themselves, the questions you are asked is some of the most valuable feedback you can get. 

Sometimes feedback is direct: a recruiter tells you why you’re not a fit because of XYZ or someone tells you how to fix your resume. Often, it’s indirect: people don’t call you back, people say generally positive but non committal things, people don’t ask you follow up questions.

Indirect feedback insights:

If you hear nothing. If you hear nothing, this should inspire you to make changes. Hearing nothing is generally a signal of a lack of interest or a mismatch for your target audience. Either you’re talking to the wrong people or the right people aren’t interested in talking to you. Or, you somehow come across as a person who people don’t want to talk too—this is often the case when job seekers talk too much and the people they’re talking to are trying to break away.

If you hear positive, non-committal feedback. I call this the “cheerleader effect.” Perhaps you have a friend or spouse who is emotionally invested in your success, and they feel like cheering you on will help you get a job. While it feels good to receive this, dig deeper and ask people to provide feedback “as if you didn’t know me.” 

You are asked “dumb” questions. Your resume, cover letter, elevator pitch, LinkedIn profile, and even the emails you send are part of your whole marketing package. If you’re getting asked “dumb” questions—ones that you think should be obvious—there exists a communication gap between what you’re saying and what people are understanding. Try recording yourself speaking and printing your resume to read it out loud. What is clearly spelled out and what do you have to “read in-between the lines” to understand? What requires industry experience to understand? I’m a big fan of making it all clear enough for a layperson to comprehend.

Direct feedback insights:

Listen, don’t defend. It can be tempting justify or defend why we’re doing things the way we’re doing things. Direct feedback is a tremendous gift that takes courage to give. Listen to what is said and thank them for their feedback.

Listen to all, implement some. If you ask a dozen recruiters for feedback, you may well get a dozen different opinions. Sometimes we’re tempted to take the feedback of those who are most persuasive. Be careful about the pendulum effect. 

Listen for consensus. What’s more valuable than one person’s opinion is multiple people’s opinion. When you start seeing shared insights, that’s when you should really consider making rapid changes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Learn to adapt and be flexible. Have multiple versions of your resume and elevator pitch and be ready to change things on the fly based on who you’re talking to.

Looking for work? Seeking feedback?

We’re happy to have a conversation with you! Check out some of our many open jobs.

Getting over your interview fears

Job interviewing fears

Interview fears and how to get over them

Interviewing can be scary. You’re meeting strangers, your self worth is in question, and your future income hangs in the balance of this one conversation. So let’s talk through some of the top interview fears and what you can do to combat them.

Common job interview fears

“What will I get asked?”

Most interview questions are NOT unique. There’s “where do you see yourself in 5 years” “tell me about a time…” “what makes you want to work for us” and maybe even “describe your greatest weakness.” It’s all pretty copy/paste until they ask you specific questions about your experience. This fear of ambiguity can best be combatted by practice: look up a list of common interview questions and practice how you’ll answer them. Then have a friend or family member practice interviewing you. Here’s a good list of common interview questions.

“What if they’re judging me?”

In short: yes they are—that’s their job. The best thing you can do is take practice interviews with friends and family members and then ask for honest feedback. How do I seem? Did I say the right thing? Would you hire me? Taking this feedback itself can take some practice: but in general:

  1. Ask open ended questions intended to simulate conversation and reflection
  2. Listen to what they say without defending yourself or seeking to provide additional justification
  3. Move past the cheerleading “you did a great job” and onto the critical feedback

“What if they don’t like me?”

If you make it to the interview, most likely the recruiters/hiring managers have assessed that you’re basically able to do the job. Often they’re seeking to confirm these opinions and then screen you for “culture fit,” which is basically how much they like you or think their team will like you. In general my advice is: smile, make good eye contact if you’re able, and seek to find personal commonalities.

“What if I get nervous?”

Most people will get nervous in the interview. I’ve seen people break down in tears or use the bathroom to vomit. However, realize that the interviewers are probably empathetic people. Politely explain that you’re feeling nervous, do the best you can, and your interviewers will try to give you the benefit of the doubt.

“What if I’m late?”

Preparation is key. Don’t be too late, or too early—I recommend being about 5 minutes early. If you get there before that, go for a quick walk around the block. Look up the route on Google Maps, plan for traffic, and have a backup plan in case the worst happens. 

“What if I say the wrong thing?”

It’s important to realize that in this instance, saying the wrong thing is better than saying nothing. If you never apply or ghost on your interview, you are effectively saying nothing. If you say the wrong thing, you might still get hired. If you say nothing, you definitely won’t get hired.

Final Word: Just Show Up

Showing up and doing the interview, no matter how badly it goes, still gives you a shot at getting the job. You might be nervous or uncomfortable, but showing up is half of the battle. The worst thing you can do is GHOST them. 

And if you’re looking for a job, we try to not have scary interviews! Submit your resume or browse our many jobs!

Asking questions in an interview

Get your interviewer talking!

Advice for creating interview dialogue

An interview is all about you, right? Well, not really. 

An interview is about your potential future employer’s needs and how your skills and experience align with their needs. Also, it’s about how much they like you and see you as a “culture fit” for their team. 

A successful interview is a dialogue, not a presentation (nor an interrogation).

If you’re doing 95% of the talking, you’re doing it wrong. Here are a couple tips:

1) Flip the script

One of my favorite techniques to use in an interview is to start with flipping the script on the interviewer after introductions. Here’s how it might go:

“Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me today. I really admire your company and am honored to be considered for this role. If you don’t mind me asking, could you please tell me more about the role and what kind of candidate you’re seeking?”

Basically, this is asking them for the answers to the test before you take it. Most of the time, they will tell you what they’re looking for. You can then use all of this information to confirm that you’re the ideal candidate while you answer their questions about your skills and experience.

2) Connect personally

I recommend you find some small way to connect to your interviewer personally. Create small talk, listen for their response, and search for personal commonalities, such as a favorite pet, sports team, or even movie you’ve seen. You will have tons of things in common with anyone you meet!

Once you’ve found that commonality, get them talking about it.

“That’s really cool to hear you’re a dog lover too. Can I show you a picture of my dog? I’d love to see one of yours too.”

Reinforce what you have in common in order to make them like you personally and make them evaluate you as a better “culture fit.”

3) Ending Well

Finally, at the end of the interview they’ll often ask “what questions do you have for me?” This gives you an opening to ask questions. 

Focus on open-ended, feel-good questions, such as “why do you love working here?” and “what makes your team great?” and “what attracted you to this company?”

Then, always ask:

“Do you have any reservations about hiring me?”

This gives you one last chance to address any concerns they have and also gives you valuable intel about how you come across in the interview. Also, it will give you insight into whether or not you’re likely to even get the job.

Also, check out our jobs!

If you’re in the labor market, our team of recruiters and hiring managers don’t bite! They’re here to engage you in a conversation, understand your skills, and consider you for our open jobs. Check out our jobs here!

Changing your resume

Advice for how and when to change your resume

Your resume is not a tattoo. Be ready to change it.

A lot of job seekers I work with have played the job search before. This is not their first job…it might even be their tenth. And while this experience can be valuable, sometimes we need to recognize that what worked for us before might not work again. You will need to change your resume

Resumes are marketing pieces that will change based on the current needs.

Tips for changing your resume

Exercise creative writing.

Many of us will be pulled into tasks and projects that go beyond our job description. After a couple years, you have your core job as well as many other miscellaneous experiences. Pay attention to these experiences and be prepared to present them on your resume in order to “check all the boxes” on this new job you’re applying for.

Job titles are more flexible than you realize.

With many organizations, you’ll be issued a cool sounding title, such as “Customer Success Manager.” Or, you might be given a generic title that doesn’t tell an outsider anything about what you do, such as “Program Specialist.” Be prepared to change your job title after the fact to better market yourself. If you want to be completely transparent about it, you can put your functional job title in parentheses.

Curate your content.

A lot of us could write a short book about our work experiences. The problem is employers want to skim your resume, not read it. While reading, our goal is to do a quick evaluation, see if you are in the right ball park of what we’re looking for, and then get you to an interview. This means you will need to leave a good deal of your experience that’s not directly relevant to this job on the sidelines.

Take notes after an interview.

Each time you interview with a recruiter, take a note of 1) what they ask you and 2) why they were interested in interviewing you. If they’re asking you for clarification, it might be worth clarifying something on your resume, and if they are really interested in you because of a certain skill/experience, highlight this in future versions of your resume so that other employers will notice it.

Change your resume regularly.

As you take interviews and apply for jobs and have others give you feedback on your resume, it will change. In order to be as agile as possible, make a habit of changing your resume regularly. So make it routine in order to keep yourself agile. Just remember to save all those earlier versions too!

You should have multiple versions of your resume.

My own position is a mixture of community relations, marketing, business development, and recruiting. If I were to look for a new job, I would create four different resumes focused around each of these core duties. Be prepared to have multiple resumes in order to give yourself flexibility in what jobs you can apply for.

Want more resume tips?

Check out our Youtube Channel!

Also make sure to apply for one of our open jobs!

Career coaches

All about career coaches

What does a career coach do?

A career coach will often help you with several key activities:

  • Editing your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letters
  • Helping you expand your network
  • Advising you on making a career shift or overcoming employment barriers
  • Evaluating job prospects
  • Preparing for interviews

How do I find a career coach?

You can find potential career coaches by simply going to LinkedIn and searching for “career coach.” However, if possible you should find a career coach that has worked with someone you know or is in your target industry. Ask friends, family members, and network connections for people who might be able to help you in your career search.

When should you hire a career coach?

1) If you can’t do it yourself. Some people struggle with composing a resume or need significant help with being able to overcome an employment gap or switching careers. If the difference between you getting a job and not getting a job, it may be worthwhile to hire a job coach. However, realize that they can’t do it for you—they can give you advice and help you craft a well-written resume, but it is ultimately your job search activities that will lead to a job.

2) If you’ve exhausted all your resources. A little while back I wrote “a guide to Austin job seeking resources.” Utilize services such as Workforce Solutions, job clubs, and online resources first before you seek out a coach. Attend networking events and send messages to people you know on LinkedIn. There is a wealth of information out there and available to you as a job seeker. Paying for assistance can expedite the process but make sure you’re not overlooking free resources.

3) It’s risky for you to look for work. If you’re already currently fully employed and planning to make a big career shift, it might be worthwhile to hire a career coach to help advise you. Making a career shift can be really hard, and they may be able help you strategically prepare for this all while minimizing the risk of losing your current job. After all, sometimes the best path is to seek a new role or alternate job duties in your current company instead of quitting it outright.

What should you consider when hiring a career coach?

  • It’s a fuzzy science. Many successful job coaches gain their experience from working in HR or recruiting, or even going through the job search process successfully themselves. Some will go on to gain credentials such as Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). Instead of looking for fancy credentials, look for local career coaches who have helped other people you know or who come from industries you want to focus on. Hire career coaches for their skills and their network.
  • Most will do an initial conversation for free. It never hurts to take a free consultation. At the very least, they may offer some free DIY advice or general guidance to help steer your search, even if you don’t hire them. Just be wary of a hard sell or over-inflated promises. 
  • Most do it to help people. Most people who get into career coaching do it because they want to help people. Many come from HR roles and want to take a more direct role in helping the job seekers they encounter. Yes, they want to charge money for their services but many also have an altruistic motives.
  • You’re still going to do this yourself. No matter how good the coach, they should not write your resume and cover letters for you. They should not apply for jobs for you. And they should not attend networking events for you. At the end of the day, you’re the one that an employer is hiring. 

How much does it cost to hire a career coach?

Business news daily estimates it to be $75-150 per hour with rates going higher depending on the industry and demand.

If this makes you wince, remember that most job seekers go without a career coach. However, recognize that we are each our own small business and sometimes paying for the expertise of a consultant can be valuable.

If you’re looking for a job, we’re hiring.

We’re hiring and would be happy to look at your resume.

Here at Peak Performers, we don’t charge candidates to help them with their job search. We make our revenue from having employees work for the customer and typically will spend some time with a job seeker for free to provide feedback and guidance so they can better market themselves. Our services offer a bit of coaching, but not at the level that everyone needs.

Tips for phone interviews

How to interview on the phone

Advice and tips for having a great phone interview

Following the pandemic, many initial interviews have switched to over the phone. Sometimes this will be followed up with an in-person interview, and sometimes the phone interview is your only chance to land the job. Here is our advice for having a great phone interview to get the job.

6 tips for improving your next phone interview

  1. Dress up (or at least be presentable). There is an unconscious effect that happens when you dress professionally–you generally feel more professional. This small psychological trick can help you perform better. Also, sometimes interviews will be changed to video interviews at the last minute and you don’t want to be left scrambling.
  2. Plan for a spot with good reception. Unfortunately, it’s all too common that a candidate sounds garbled on the phone due to a bad connection or we get disconnected and the interview just ends prematurely. Seek out a place where you can ensure a good connection and if you think there’s any risk of dropping a call, ask your interviewer for a call back number in case you get disconnected.
  3. Minimize distractions. It can be tempting to take these interviews “on the go” like at the grocery store or at a restaurant. Similarly, it might be easy to forget about your barking dog at home because you’re so used to it. Remember that we can hear everything going on the background and might be easily distracted by these small things. Focus solely on the interview and minimize auditory distractions.
  4. Speak up. Most people sound softer on the phone than they are in-person. Also, bluetooth headsets sometimes don’t pick up your voice as well as you think they do. Speak up and focus on annunciating during your interview. It’s also important to start the interview by asking if they can hear you clearly.
  5. Sit up and smile. When you sit up, you naturally project your voice better. Similarly, when you smile, as you would in an in-person conversation, your voice sounds more up-beat and dynamic. These small adjustments can help you sound more charismatic and confident when taking the interview.
  6. Get “in front” of them. If you’re having an interview at 9:00 a.m., email them a copy of your resume and a link to your LinkedIn profile at 8:30. Then send a thank you email right after you’re done! If a recruiter is doing multiple phone interviews in a day, it can be hard to keep them all straight. This helps us differentiate you as a candidate.
  7. Treat it like an in-person interview. It can be easy to treat phone interviews casually. Don’t! Take the time to research the company, connect with the people talking to you, and otherwise make a great impression.

Professional Employment References: A Job Seeking Guide

Professional Employment References

What are professional references?

Professional references are your way of providing proof that you can do a job and that people like and respect you. A potential future employer may ask for these references as part of your application.

You will be asked to include contact information: phone, email, job title, and maybe even a work address.

Do people still check references?

Not all employers will check employment references (even if they ask for them) but you should assume they will. Make sure to include accurate contact information.

Depending on the employer, if they are not able to get ahold of your reference, they may or may not try them multiple times.

Education organizations and competitive, specialized professional fields are more likely to rely on references. Also, if you are struggling to get a job, perhaps due to seeking your first job or after after experiencing a period of unemployment, what your reference says about you can often help overcome these objections an employer has and help you land a job.

Personal vs professional references?

While some applications may call for “personal references,” usually what’s expected are references from people at work.

If you don’t have any work experience yet and an application calls for professional references, you can use places where you’ve volunteered, teacher/professor references, or other respected people in your community. (Just try to avoid sending references from your direct family members; these are not likely to be taken seriously.)

Who can give professional references?

You have a lot of flexibility on who can give you professional references. You can usually include references from:

  • Bosses
  • Co-workers
  • Clients
  • Industry peers

Usually, employment references from bosses will carry the most weight.

When asking people to be references, make sure that you have a solid professional rapport with them so they will say good things about you. Also make sure to get their permission to include them as a reference.

When do I include references?

Include references only when asked to do so.

The mistake I see a lot of job seekers make is listing their references on the bottom of every resume they blast out. You don’t want to over-share their contact information.

Also, you don’t need to put “references available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. This is generally assumed by the employer.

What about reference letters?

Some applications will go a step further and ask for “letters of reference.” This is where a potential future employer is asking you to provide a letter that a previous employer has written in order to recommend you.

This is a bigger ask of someone, so make sure that you save a copy for your records.

Don’t forget to ask for referrals.

Did you know that 75% of jobs are filled by referrals?

If you’re asking people to be your references, don’t forget to ask them for referrals to people and companies they know who are hiring. A personal reference is way more valuable if the person/company knows the other person.

A Better Way to Online Job Search

Advice for Online Job Search

The Problem with Indeed and Ziprecruiter

Here’s how most people look for work these days: they scroll through Indeed or Ziprecriuter, apply for promising roles, and then keep scrolling endlessly. Most of the time, they never hear back. There is a better way to do your online job search.

The problem with this technique is that most jobs posted online are not actually posted on these platforms. It costs companies hundreds or thousands of dollars to advertise jobs on these platforms. Companies, just like you or me, want to save money. In fact, many companies never or rarely advertise their jobs on the prominent job boards such as Indeed and Ziprecruiter.

Also, there’s typically a delay between when a job is posted, when an applicant sees it, and when their resume appears in the recruiter’s applicant tracking system. During this delay, they could have already found someone for the role.

Looking for jobs online–done right!

If you see a promising role on Indeed or Ziprecruiter, by all means apply for it. However, you should also follow these steps.

  1. Look up the company online and visit their job board directly. See if you’d want to work for them.
  2. Bookmark this page into a job search folder in your browser.
  3. Open the page once a week to look for roles.
  4. Apply for jobs that are posted–you’re probably one of the first people to do so!

Use this for Networking

Additionally, use this list of companies to  add connections on LinkedIn to target people who are

  • Lateral connections (people who are in similar roles to the one you want)
  • Recruiters (who will often post the job on LinkedIn and are routinely scanning their connections for job fits)
  • Hiring managers (the ones who might ultimately be offering you a job)

Why this works

While this is more work, it is a much more effective technique because of three main reasons:

  1. Most jobs are not posted on the major job boards due to cost. You see more jobs than what Indeed presents.
  2. You are competing with less people since most job seekers don’t take this step.
  3. It’s estimated that 75% of all jobs are never posted online at all. These are filled through networking.

One more thing…

It’s important to note that some companies never post their jobs on due to the cost. So how do you find them?

There’s a lot of great smaller, local job boards out there they might still use. Locally, you can check out WorkinTexas and LaunchPad Job Board for some examples.

Additionally, I recommend the old-fashioned approach to job seeking. Drive around your city (or explore with Google Maps), take notes of all the companies you’ve never heard of. Then look them up online later.

Are you looking for work?

If so, we’re hiring! Don’t go to Indeed, go directly to our job page. Don’t forget to bookmark it and check back regularly for positions.

 

Video Resumes (and Video Cover Letters)

Tips for Video Resumes

Everything you Wanted to Know about Video Cover Letters

Video cover letters (sometimes called “video resumes” or even “video CV”) were pioneered by TikTok in 2021. Since then have seen more job seekers filming them, and more employers requesting the. A video cover letter can be great to put on your LinkedIn in order to help you “jump off the page” from your resume.

In this article, we address some of the top questions about them. Also check out the video featuring Eliana De La Garza from Austin Community College sharing her thoughts on video cover letters.

What are video cover letters/resumes?

Video Cover letters are short videos that showcase your core skills, your passion, your work experience, and your connection to a company. These are typically filmed and put on your LinkedIn profile or can be sent to employers as a link. Some employers will require video cover letters.

Do I need a video cover letter?

Video cover letters are mostly optional but can be a great way to stand out. Some companies may require a video cover letter as part of their application process.

Who should use video resumes?

All job seekers should be aware of what v. While this medium is not for everyone, here are a couple groups of people who can benefit from utilizing video cover letters:

  • Those seeking customer-facing roles. If you’re looking for a role where your relatability is a success factor, such as customer service or sales, video cover letters can be a great way to stand out and showcase your unique personality.
  • Those seeking to demonstrate tech-savvy. If you are struggling to overcome biases such as age-ism or you are otherwise being judged for lacking technical prowess, a video cover letter can be a great way to “prove them wrong.”
  • To stand out. Most job seekers do not take the time or don’t have the self-confidence to film and post a video resume. Thus, it’s a great way to get attention or even to get a recruiter to slow down and consider your application more carefully.
  • If really, really want to work there. If part of your pitch is your passion for the company, a video cover letter is a great way to express that passion.
  • To tell your unique story. Sometimes, we’re not always the “obvious choice” of a candidate. Recruiters and HR managers are often looking for the obvious choice so this gives you a chance to tell your unique story and why you’d be a great fit!

Where do I find a video resume editor?

You don’t need any special software for filming. Utilize a web camera and off-the-shelf consumer software such as iMovie or an application such as Zoom to film it. If you can edit the video, even better!

Drawbacks to video cover letters?

The most obvious drawback is that in can take some time to put together a video resume, especially if you haven’t edited or recorded video before.

There are also some people concerned about privacy–if this is the case, a video resume might not before you. If an application requires it but you’re concerned about privacy, you can upload it to YouTube as “unlisted” to make sure that only people with the link can view it.

Finally, there are some concerns about bias in the hiring process: such biases against underrepresented groups, women, and people with visible disabilities. Unfortunately, hiring managers will likely be Googling you anyway so if you have a photo posted online, they might well see you anyway. That said, refraining from posting videos and pictures of yourself can help protect you from being subject to this bias.

How do I record a video cover letter?

You can use a web camera on your computer. If you’re filming on a cell phone, make sure to hold the phone in “landscape mode.” Also make sure you’re in a quiet room, have a decent microphone, and have yourself well lit so the viewer can see your face.

You may also want to record yourself a couple of times to practice and to pick out the best segment.

Also, while you want to be personable, make sure that the video cover letter represents demonstrates your professionalism. Don’t get too casual!

What should I talk about on my video cover letter?

Some things you might want to talk about include:

  • Key accomplishments
  • Your vision/passion
  • Where you’ve worked and the kind of job you’re seeking
  • Your connection to the company (if you know someone who works there)
  • Your approach to work
  • And don’t forget to include your name and contact information!

How long should video cover letters be?

They should be short: usually about one minute in length. It can be hard to fit everything in there but remember you’re just trying to give them a sample, not tell them your whole life story.

Difference between “video resume” and “video cover letter?”

For the most part, these terms are used interchangeably. While “video cover letter” is a bit more accurate in its description, a “video resume” is more commonly used.

Austin Strategies for Job Seekers Class

While you’re here, make sure to check out Eliana De La Garza and Austin Community College’s “Strategies for Job Seekers Class.” Kind of like a job seeking bootcamp, this is a free class for Austin locals that can help you answer all your burning questions about job seeking and get you ready to look for work.

Time is money while job searching

Even if You’re Unemployed…

Your time is still valuable

We all know the adage: “time is money.” But it’s easy to forget this if we’re not employed and not currently making any money. Furthermore, it’s painful to think about spending money/time on job seeking activities that don’t pan out. However, it’s critical that you approach your job seeking as though your time has a monetary value. 

Why This Matters:

1) Focus and productivity

Thinking about your time as money means that you will focus harder on job seeking. Each time you submit a resume, scroll Indeed, and drive to an interview, you’ll think to yourself: is this activity worth $XXX / hour? And while much of this activity will not actually yield results, thinking of it this way will help ensure that as little time is wasted as possible. The pain of money lost and the sunk cost focuses us and drives us to do better.


2) Professionalism

If you’re at work and making money, you are more likely to behave professionally. This means proofreading emails, connecting with people on LinkedIn, sending thank you notes, and even making small talk with the people you meet. When we don’t treat ourselves as “on the clock” we might let our guard down–but don’t! Remember: everyone you are interacting with is at work and they expect you to behave the same way.


3) Self worth

When you lose your job, a small part of your identity goes with it. Many of us are at least partially defined by “what we do” and when we “don’t do anything”…who are we? When you think of your time as valuable, you are protecting your self worth. You may not have a job right now but your time and your attention is still valuable and you are still valuable.


4) Business decisions

All of us are a small businesses. We are renting ourselves and our time out to our employer and expecting fair compensation and treatment in return. Sometimes we can get lost in the emotional roller coaster of job offers. Perhaps we find out the compensation will not be as much as we expected? Or maybe we discover the benefits are lackluster? Maybe we meet a few future co-workers and realize that they’re not excited about working there? Thinking of yourself as a business cushions the emotional highs and lows boils these decisions down to a math equation. Furthermore, it helps you be able to engage confidently in offer negotiations if you already know your hourly worth.

 

We Value Your Time

Are you looking for work? We’d like to talk to you about our open roles.