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Video Resume: Choosing the Right Background

Video Resume: Choosing the Right Background

Kris Rzepkowski / IT Hire Wire

June 08, 2009

I’m actually not listening to a word you say. Your skills and professional background are of no interest to me. Instead I’m fixated on a different background – that 70’s paneling in your bedroom where you shot your video resume. Welcome to the world of DIY resume video creation and one of the more important choices in your production, what’s behind you. I’m continuing my quest to help IT people everywhere create their own video resume by documenting the process of doing one for myself.

In this installment, I find out that the background of your video resume can either add to, or detract from your presentation to prospective employers. Where you are matters as much as what you are talking about. You’ll see more in my first exploration: The Whiteboard Background.

While I might not end up sitting in front of a whiteboard for my video resume, it got me to thinking about some other potential options.

5 Good Video Resume Backgrounds Around the House

Unless you are looking to get really adventuresome, odds are that you will shoot your video resume at home. Here’s a list of a few ideas to stage an interesting background at home:

1. Home office: Sit at your clean, uncluttered desk with your laptop. Show your tools.
2. Kitchen: If you have granite counter tops show them off. They make you seem more valuable.
3. Study/Den: Make sure there are a few books in the background. They make you seem smarter.
4. On the couch: Think Diane Sawyer TV interview. It makes you more seem more relaxed.
5. Wall with framed art and greenery: Neutral and professional

5 Bad Video Resume Backgrounds Around the House

For every great video resume setting at home there is an equally bad idea. Here’s five that come to mind.

1. The bedroom: Don’t even think about it, unless you are looking to make it in a certain industry.
2. The bathroom: The fact I get inspired in my shower caused me to consider it briefly. Don’t.
3. The backyard: Really. Unless you work outside, which most IT people do not, outdoor shooting offers all sorts of distracting sights and sounds that add no credibility to your video resume.
4. The garage: No one wants to see your bike, beer fridge, or woodworking hobby
5. The car: Action movies seem like they’d be fun, just not for communicating your potential IT prowess

All of this poking around the house got my wheels spinning about ways to make it seem like I’m not at home shooting the video resume at all. My first thought was obliterating the background altogether. I see an awful lot of this at conferences and on the celebrity red carpet interviews. Throw up a sheet behind someone especially with a bunch of sponsor logos on it, and voila.

I intentionally used a blue sheet in my previous attempt because the nerd in me REALLY wanted to know how to do bluescreen/greenscreen chroma-key. You know the technique where you can make it look like you are on the Death Star battling Vadar. Well, it turns out, the technique is pretty challenging. If I choose to go this route, I will need to refine my lighting and background material so that I look a lot better than in this example.

So, what do you think are the best ideas for a video resume background? Do you think it makes a big difference? Feel free to submit examples of what you think does or does not work.

- Kris Rzepkowski

About Hudson IT Hudson IT serves as a trusted resource for clients seeking high-quality technology professionals. We seek candidates interested in contract/consulting for Hudson and for placement directly with our client companies with diverse skills – from web design to systems implementation, network planning, program management to performance integration. More information is at Get the real story from the real pros on our blog, IT Hire Wire.

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