No matter what your field of expertise, if you’re an online freelancer, you need to have a decent video profile. Working online has so many advantages, but one of the disadvantages is that you can’t meet people face to face. This makes it far harder to make a good first impression, and we all know how important those are.
We’ve been designed by evolution to be attracted to human faces and are thus far more likely to feel identified with someone once we’ve seen them and heard their voice. It’s easy to brush someone off when all you have to go on is a text description and hard to feel totally confident in person based solely on their portfolio of work and curriculum vitae, no matter how impressive those things are. These might be enough to get you an interview when you’re searching for a longer-term or full-time job, but in many cases interviews are no longer even part of the hiring process for online freelancers who work project to project.
With that in mind, here are our 3 top tips for creating a simple yet effective video profile no matter what industry you work in:
Make an instant impact
Once again, it’s all about first impressions. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this fact. Studies suggest that it takes less than 100 milliseconds to decide how we feel about someone based solely on their face, and these judgments tend to stay the same even if we have more time to make them. That might sound harsh, but it’s also an incredible opportunity. If you can ensure that you give off good vibes straight off the bat, the battle is basically already won. That means looking friendly, well-groomed, confident and relaxed.
People’s judgments may be hard to change but they are certainly not set in stone. The substance of what you say still matters, but when and how you say it is just as important. Of course, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that matters. Try to project a confident and relaxed tone and speak clearly, meaning not too fast and at a normal audible volume.
The serial-position effect is a psychological principle that describes the way we tend to remember the first and last part of a list, speech, video, etc. So, say what you need to say right at the beginning of your video profile and always finish strong, the rest is mostly just noise.
With a video profile, less really is more
When it comes to maximizing the effectiveness of your video profile, it’s important to keep things simple. Don’t try to tell your life story, be careful not to oversell yourself to the point of sounding arrogant and forget about gimmicky tricks such as special effects, costumes or pretentious poetry that nobody even understands. There are a place and time for these things, but it’s generally not when you’re trying to introduce yourself to a potential client. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, meaning ultimately you’ll need to decide what is appropriate based on knowledge of your own industry.
The purpose of a video profile is simply to introduce yourself, make a good first impression and give potential clients a glimpse of what to expect should they decide to work with you. The substance comes later, during the interview process and once you land the job.
Get the basics of videography right
Before you freak out and start thinking that you’re no videographer and can’t produce a decent video on your own, just remember, we used the word basics for a reason. Most smartphones or entry-level cameras are more than capable of producing the quality you need to create an attractive video, so don’t worry about your equipment. You also don’t need to learn everything there is to know about filmmaking. All you really need is a basic understanding of the simple do’s and don’ts for filming this specific kind of content (video profiles, vlogs and interviews).
Here they are:
- Your face should be clearly visible and you should position the camera so that your head and torso fill the frame.
- Choose a nice, quiet location to shoot in. There should be enough natural light and the area should be clean and organized. If you plan to shoot outside or in a large indoor area, you should use a microphone.
- Place your camera or phone on a solid surface or tripod to ensure your footage is stable.
- Do multiple takes so that you have some options to choose from.
- Download some easy-to-use, free software to edit on. While this is not absolutely necessary, a little bit of post-production will add the finishing touches to your video profile and it’s really not as difficult as you’d expect!