Video Resume: Is it Right for You?
Even as the economy begins to make improvements, there are still many incredibly smart and talented professionals looking for work. If you’re one of them, you’ve no doubt been exposed to endless "how–to" tips on putting together a great resume, interviewing well and standing out in a crowded field of desperate job seekers.
To fulfill that last goal of standing out from the crowd, consider creating a professional video resume to invigorate your paper resume. Since they are relatively uncommon, having a professionally produced video resume could be the deciding factor when you are up against other talented professional in your field.
You should tread with caution, however. A video resume done the right way could help you land your dream job, but done the wrong way, it could do much more harm than good. Although there are definite "dos and don’ts" when producing a quality video resume, it could be the perfect way to get your foot in the door of that company you’re just dying to work for.
When a Video Resume is Just Right
Some industries embrace video; others are more set in their ways when it comes to new ideas. In finance or accounting, you may want to stick with the traditional package of a cover letter and resume. If a video resume isn’t relevant to the job you’re seeking, then you may decrease your chances of landing the position.
However, in a creative field such as online media or advertising, or if you’re applying for a public relations, social media or video production position, a video resume should be welcomed – and in some cases, expected.
Submitting a Video Resume Requires Caution
Ask 10 employers or recruiters whether they welcome video resumes and chances are half of them will tell you they don’t like them. Why?
- They do not have the time to watch videos. Traditional resumes are easier to scan.
- It’s not easy to compare multiple videos side–by–side.
- Unlike with the tried–and–true printed resume, there is no standard format for video resumes.
- Videos are one–sided conversations that don’t address an employer’s specific needs.
- Information provided on a video could subject an employer to a lawsuit.
Some companies won’t accept video resumes because of concerns about discrimination claims. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch for job candidates to claim that they didn’t get an interview because of their gender, age, ethnicity, disability or even their hair color – all made clear through the wonders of digital video.
Tip: Check with the hiring manager before submitting a video resume.
Remember, Video is Social Media
A video resume should do more than show an employer your sense of style. It should also demonstrate a smart social media strategy. Before you begin, be sure to:
- Think about your audience and write your script to that audience.
- Establish clear objectives.
- Use your resources to your best advantage.
Social media can engage your audience, encourage sharing and build awareness of your personal brand. If you put together a strong social media plan, you’re more likely to impress recruiters and prospective employers. Before you begin filming your video resume, you need to identify the places online where you will post it. Consider setting up the following social media destinations:
- Personal website
- Twitter account
- LinkedIn profile
- YouTube or Vimeo page (especially if you’re in a creative or media field)
- Google+ page
Tip: Take the time to populate your social media channels with written content, but get rid of the potentially negative photos and videos of any late–night nonsense or college antics. Focus your entire profile on being a trusted and qualified professional.
You Can Produce a Great Video Resume
When you’re producing your video resume, it’s OK to be edgy, confident and creative. Just don’t let edginess bleed over into annoying or confidence to come off as pretension. Here are some definite dos:
- Always smile!
- Say your name (first and last) slowly and clearly, at the beginning and at the end of the video.
- Keep the video as short as possible without losing key points.
- Cover the highlights of your experience and qualifications.
- Include a few of your passions (unless they are ill–advised).
- Wrap up with a sincere "thank you."
And some don’ts:
- Don’t dress inappropriately. Most employers will appreciate professional attire.
- Don’t get too personal. Leave out the part about your car problems or your new pet.
- Don’t make it all about you. Answer the employer’s question, "So, what you can do for me?"
- Don’t. Talk. Fast.
Stand Out With Something Different
Unless you’re super shy, you probably don’t have a problem touting your best features, outstanding work ethic and all–around winning personality. But why should an employer believe you? Research shows people getting ready to buy are more likely to believe a friend’s recommendation than a company’s marketing–speak. It’s the same with employers. So get ready to gather some testimonials.
Sure, you absolutely need to talk about your skills, passions and desire for the job – just save some time for third–party endorsements, too. Former employers, professors or volunteer coordinators you’ve worked with are all great sources for short testimonials.
Tip: If someone agrees to appear on camera on your behalf, don’t forget to show your appreciation. Send a small, inexpensive gift like a plant or bake a batch of cookies.
Test and Retest
Don’t wrap production yet. Put your ego aside and open yourself to honest feedback and constructive criticism. Have your best friend objectively review your video. If he or she declares it share–worthy, then show it to a trusted mentor, teacher or family friend. Listen to the feedback and use it to make your video, version 2.0, even better.
Tip: Ask yourself whether you’re ready for your friends, family and complete strangers to view your video before you post it.