Creating Your Movie Trailer

A few years ago I had the chance to co-produce a full-length family film called Treasure Blind. We wanted the opportunity to show our movie at a number of film festivals so we produced a trailer that we hoped would grab the attention of the hosts. As a result, we were invited to show the movie at five different festivals. In the movie industry, a trailer can be your only opportunity to get a good response from the viewers. The goal of the trailer is to get the viewers to take action and see the film. 

In most movie theaters, it is common to be shown a number of upcoming movies to consider attending on release. My response usually falls under one of these three choices: 

  • “Let’s go see this movie”
  • “Let’s wait until it comes out for rental”  
  • “We are never going to see that movie”

The opening lines of a resume are similar to a movie trailer. The “trailer” or opening lines determine whether the “viewer” or hiring manager will:

  • Bring a candidate in for an interview
  • Wait until they see what other candidates/resumes are out there
  • Put the resume on the bottom of the stack

Like a trailer, a resume needs to grab the attention of the reader immediately. The average hiring manager spends less than five seconds reviewing a resume. Your resume must scream “I can meet your needs with my skills and abilities!”  

We were recently assisting a job seeker with updating his resume to identify with a specific job that he was interested in; comparing his key strengths and expertise to the job requirements, he customized his resume to showcase his abilities in a way that mirrored the job description. He peppered his opening statement (his movie trailer) with key phrases to show the immediate impact he could make in the position. He followed with a listing of key strengths and expertise he brought to the position and 4 -5 selected accomplishments to drive home that fact that he had a history of bringing results to his employers.

No one can write a summary statement better than the person writing the resume but with our help and by using the job description to frame his resume, he created a document that got the response “we need to talk to this applicant.”

The candidate was a bit surprised that he got the interview and made the comment to me, “I feel like a thief because I robbed what I said right out of the job description.” When asked how he felt about it, he said “I can do what they are asking for and they certainly recognize it from the very opening statement.” He had created an effective trailer.

Creating a movie trailer is not easy. There is a lot of research that goes into the development to ensure that it does the best job possible in getting people to see the movie. Similar to creating a movie trailer, a job applicant must do their homework on the company and be familiar with the vision and mission, the people who they will be applying with, the people who will make the hiring decision, and the job description to ensure that the hiring manager will notice their resume and call them in for an interview.  

A resume must be created using a skeleton of the job description and add the personalized meat and muscle the candidate uniquely brings to those bones. Network into the potential employer through your LinkedIn connections. Do your homework to find the unadvertised job openings. Find the real needs within the positions you are applying for. Doing all of these things will help you get the same response that a good movie trailer gets from the viewers at the theater – we want to see this candidate (or movie) as soon as we can!

Because he created his own trailer, our candidate is getting interviews and has found that a custom resume with a powerful summary statement gets a response.

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  1. Nicolette's avatar
    | Permalink
    "The average hiring manager spends less than five seconds reviewing a resume." Really? Is it that short?
    Thanks for this article, I'm going to adjust my resume to a cooler movie now!
  2. Russ Knight's avatar
    Russ Knight
    | Permalink

    I've seen people use from 2.7 - 20 seconds as an estimate. I suppose it depends on the hiring manager. The takeaway from this is really "what message are they capturing - in brief - to make them say 'I want to know more'?"

    Thanks for reading and commenting on this.

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