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How to Make a Video Résumé

Ready for your close-up? Get in front of the camera and star in your résumé

Check the set. You don't want any background noise, say, a barking dog. Be aware of what's behind you. Some healthy plants, or fresh flowers in a vase are good. There's also something nice about a handsome bookshelf, and it makes you look smart. Watch out for trashy novels. You may opt for a wall hanging that says something about you, say, a framed award you've won. A photo of you actually doing the kind of job you're seeking is another possibility.

Lights, camera, action. If you're using a laptop with built-in camera, set the computer so that the lens is at eye level. You'll want light on the front of your face. If your room has a window, face it, or put a small light on the desk in front of you. Gaze straight into the camera like you're looking into your interviewer's eyes. Talk directly to him or her — your choice of gender.

Your script. Begin by introducing yourself with your full name, say what you do, and briefly describe the type of position you're seeking. Speak clearly, confidently and conversationally: not too fast, but with a punch of energy.

Pay attention to your body language. No hair twirling around your finger, lip biting, squinting or excessive blinking. Don't slouch. Describe your top jobs and accomplishments as a list of concise bullet points. Use strong verbs like "managed," "created," "operated" and "designed." Reel off three of your best attributes. In other words, lay out what would make you a great employee.

It's a wrap. End it with something simple like, "Thank you for considering me for the job." Smile, and keep looking into the camera until you stop recording.

Take two … or three. Plan to run through a few practice taped sessions. Ask your friends or family to critique the video. Save the version you like to your desktop.

Distribute it — selectively. There's no need to splash it up on YouTube. Include a link to your video résumé in both your paper and online résumés. Put it up on your own website, if you have one. Send the link to your networking contacts. Upload it to your LinkedIn profile and any other job boards that can take videos.

Scene Two. Once you're comfortable in front of the camera, you might consider a live video interview. If a prospective employer isn't local, offer to do a Skype interview. Go to Skype.com on your browser to get started. Use the same rules for preparing your set as when you were creating your video résumé.

If you suffer from stage fright, or worry you don't have the technical skills to take this bold move, check out your local libraries, community colleges and other venues where training is offered.

Then powder your nose, and break a leg.

Kerry Hannon, AARP's jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.

Remember to go to the AARP home page every day for tips on keeping healthy and sharp, and great deals.

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