Video Resumes – Pros and Cons

Sep 25 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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Video resumes are all the rage these days. In addition to YouTube, the granddaddy of online video, there are dozens of sites offering online video profiles especially designed for job seekers.

Video resumes and video portfolios can be an effective way to stand out from the crowd, show you know how to use basic digital video technology and can help form your personal brand.

There are plenty of reasons a video resume can help you make a great first impression. There are also plenty of reasons video resumes might not be a such good idea for you.

Before you jump on the video resume bandwagon, you’ll want to first consider both the pros and the cons of video resumes.

Video resume cons:

You might be wondering, what could be bad about video resumes? Could video resumes actually hurt your job search efforts?

Remember that video can set your personal brand and create the first impression that employers see. You’ll want to make a careful evaluation if video presents you in the best light.

Before you decide on including a video resume, you’ll want to consider these possible negatives:

  1. You don’t present well on camera: Not everyone is a movie star and not everyone is camera friendly. You might be a very attractive person, who just doesn’t present well on camera. Make sure you get an unbiased opinion, from someone who’s not afraid to be brutally honest before you commit to a video profile. If you’re not sure, before you commit to a video resume site, use a simple video camera or even a laptop (or smartphone) camera to do a test.
  2. You don’t have a lot of camera “energy”: You could look like Brad or Angelina, but if your personality is sour, morose or grumpy, then video is not your friend. If you come across as quiet, reserved or tired, you might want to rethink your video experiment.
  3. You don’t look healthy and vibrant: This is of special concern to age 40+ job seekers, but it applies to all candidates, no matter your age. If you look weak, unhealthy or unwell, video could serve to give employers a reason to choose other candidates. If you were the employer, would you want to hire someone who gave the first impression that they’d need a lot of sick days and might file many health insurance claims?
  4. Employers with DOL/EEOC concerns: Employers who are overly concerned about Department of Labor audits or EEOC complaints may be reluctant to even look at video resumes. Video resumes aren’t discriminatory – However, companies accused of discriminatory hiring tend to be reluctant to even look at resumes including pictures for fear that may add fuel to the accusations.

Video resume pros:

On the other hand, a video resume or portfolio can be a huge help to you in many circumstances. Video resumes can especially be helpful if:

  1. You’re looking for a client facing position: Video resumes can be very helpful for you if you’re looking for positions with heavy client interaction. A video resume or portfolio can give the hiring manager an idea of how you’ll deal with clients, how you present yourself to clients, how you portray trustworthiness, interpersonal skills and how well you can sell. Video resumes can make sense for more than just sales professionals – they can also help candidates for jobs that provide service at client sites, consultants and professional service providers.
  2. You’re photogenic: Fair or not, attractive candidates get hired more often than unattractive job seekers – This goes for men as well as women. If the camera is kind to you, you have movie star looks and you’re great face-to-face, video resumes allow you to get face-to-face more quickly and give you more chances to land interviews.
  3. You don’t have much experience: If you look better in person than you do on a resume, then it’s to your advantage to have your employer first see you in person. If you need the hiring manager to take a chance on you (because you have little experience, you’re changing careers or you have a big employment gap), a video resume may encourage an employer to take that chance on you if you look good on camera.
  4. You drip confidence and enthusiasm: It’s tough to show how much you want a position on a paper resume – but you can definitely show your enthusiasm on a video resume or portfolio. A video resume can also help you demonstrate how confident you are about your ability to bring superior value to the employer. Just don’t overdo it (see “Impossible Is Nothing” link below).
  5. It doesn’t take a village: You don’t need a film crew to make an effective video resume. Most PCs and Macs have the necessary technology to do basic video editing. Unless you’re looking for a job as a film editor, your video resume doesn’t have to be professional grade. If you have a friend to coach you while filming you, that might help, but even that’s not necessary. Just make sure you look good, you look into the camera, you’re confident.
  6. You’re entertaining: If you can make people comfortable (or better yet, laugh) instantly, video resumes may be perfect for you. Just make sure your audience is laughing with you, not at you (see the infamous “Impossible Is Nothing” resume video at http://hereisthecity.com/2006/10/11/nothing_is_impossibl/).
  7. Customized to the audience: Just because you’ve recorded a video, doesn’t mean that one size fits all. Just like with resumes, video resumes are far more effective when customized to the specific employer. Maybe you don’t have to go to quite the lengths as you should on a resume (specific customization of each resume), but for the jobs you really, really want, you’ll increase your interview chances the more you customize. All this means is to record a video resume for the specific opportunity, so you can show the employer why you’re a superior candidate for that individual job.

Readers – Have video resumes worked for you?

Employers & recruiters – What do you think about video resumes?

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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