How to use LinkedIn's cover story feature to make recruiters stand out
It’s not easy to make your LinkedIn profile stand out among millions of users. One way to impress people is to use video.
In early 2021, LinkedIn launched a "cover story" feature that allows users to embed a 30-second mini introduction video in their personal data. After adding a cover story, an orange ring will appear around the user’s static profile photo. When someone visits personal information, the video preview will automatically play silently in the photo frame. Click on your profile photo to play the full video with audio.
If you are looking for a way to inject some vitality beyond text and images into your profile, then a cover story video is a good choice.
"Video has become an important channel for connection, participation, learning and collaboration, especially in the virtual work world," said Charlotte Davies, a consumer communications and career expert at LinkedIn. According to the company’s recent survey, 80% of hiring managers believe that video becomes more important when interacting with or reviewing job applicants.
Benefits of using cover stories on LinkedIn
Adding a short cover story video to your LinkedIn profile can bring many benefits. First, video enables you to convey your personality and soft skills in a way that cannot be conveyed by written words alone.
"Unlike text-based profiles, videos usually let me understand the candidate's enthusiasm, their communication skills, and whether they are suitable for the culture of the company I am recruiting for," said Anita Mang, President of Mang Career Solutions.
Second, the video creates a more humane element for your personal information. As Davis said, short videos can "make your career story come to life, and share your career goals in a more humane and engaging way."
Third, videos help break the deadlock and allow people to study your otherwise silent and static profile. People who have never met may be more inclined to continue or initiate conversations with people they can see and hear, rather than people they only read on the Internet.
Finally, a profile video can help you stand out from the crowd. Job seekers are flooding in, founders are seeking investment, business owners are looking for customers, entrepreneurs are promoting products, and having a video allows you to distinguish your profile from others.
Jeff Ling, Arc’s senior hiring manager, said: “Candidates with self-introduction videos are more likely to stand out because it shows that they are willing to put in more effort than the average job candidate.”
Tips for emphasizing personal branding
A 30-second video provides you with an additional opportunity to further communicate and strengthen your personal brand, complementing other LinkedIn profile elements such as your main achievements, experience, and certifications.
To make effective videos, remember the "three Ss" of a strong personal brand: appropriate, selective, and specific. Make sure you have a clear target audience. Determine the key headline you want to convey. And define exactly how you want to position yourself.
If you are a little shy or not sure what to say, please consider three questions before recording a video.
Who is this video for?
Which questions do you want to answer?
What action do you want them to take?
Then, explain who you are, answer the questions, and convey the call to action. For example, if you are:
The hiring manager is interested in developing your team, describing the nature of your job, the exact candidate you are looking for, and the steps they can take to apply.
Candidates who want to stand out in front of recruiters, please state exactly the position and key skills you are looking for, and the best way to contact you.
Career changers who are trying to reshape your narrative, selectively highlight only those key transferable skills and experiences that are most relevant to your target role, and encourage people to send you messages when they know a promising opportunity.
Startup company owners seeking funding, describe your product or service, company stage, type of funding you are seeking, and the best way to contact you.
Solopreneur seeks more customers, describe the benefits you provide through your service, and how potential customers can learn more.
Additional technical features to make your videos shine
Just as you want to display high-quality photos on your LinkedIn profile, you need to invest some effort in recording videos that you are proud of, because the quality will have a direct impact on your personal brand.
I don’t recommend reading the script word by word from beginning to end, as this may make people feel too mechanized and staged, which defeats the purpose of doing so. However, capture and rehearse key talking points before recording so you can perform well.
When recording, don’t shoot the story directly from the LinkedIn app, but try to upload a pre-recorded video. Make sure you use portrait mode and try to record in a well-lit room that does not include any strange angled lights that cast shadows. Also, if you are worried that your shaking hands will cause poor video quality, try using a tripod for your phone.
Finally, stay professional. Encourage creativity and show your personality, but made a professional mistake (this is how LinkedIn started in the first place). I have seen cover story videos and people just upload Snapchat montages of their personal activities, or even videos of their cats (I’m not kidding).
"In the final analysis, showing your humanity to hiring managers will make you more memorable than the name on your resume or email," said Textyl founder and CEO Jenny Brown.
Although having a LinkedIn cover story won’t make or ruin you, it can give you an advantage over others who don’t work hard. Taking the time to make a short video for yourself is just another way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.