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DAVID ROSMAN: A video resume could hurt your job chances

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:18 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For those of you graduating, I'm sure the thought of completing your associate's, bachelor's or post-grad degree program makes your heart flutter. For college juniors, believing that a year from now you could be joining the ranks of alumni probably brings a smile. Those of you who just finished your freshman or sophomore years, trust me, you are not on the 20-year plan.

As you enter the “I’m looking for a meaningful career” rat race, you are being folded in with those who are older and more experienced than you and just as hungry as you are. Plus kabillionzillion other graduates. I know you are looking for an edge. It’s not the video resume.

The video resume is being promoted as the newest “tool” for the job search. I spoke with LinkedIn hiring professionals asking for their opinions concerning the use of Internet-based video resumes.

Their general response: Not a great idea.

Kristen Fife, a certified professional resume writer, summarized well the reasons potential employers reject video resumes: They promote discrimination, lack search capability and take too long for recruiters to look at. 

Karen Siwak of Toronto added that if you are not willing to spend big bucks, the video will probably have the appearance of an ad by a local car dealer, “filmed by his brother-in-law after a few drinks.”

Guy Battaglia, owner of the New York recruiting firm TGB Associates, pointed out that video resumes can lead to minority candidates' being accepted or rejected based on what potential employers see, not what the candidate knows. That leads the conversation into the legal zone.

The major problem is discrimination. Factors, such as age, gender, color, height, weight — the list continues — create a potential mine field that the human resource managers are now tip-toeing around. Adding a video to the mix can be compared to hitting a mine in the game “Battleship.” Boom. Rejection. The potential of a lawsuit is outrageous.

As a professional resume writer and interview consultant, Anish Majumdar of Resume Orbit is dissuaded by the idea. His thoughts: “In today's job search marketplace, a video resume amounts to little more than a gimmick. Nothing beats the impact of a clear, succinct and targeted resume.” 

On the other side of the discussion, my friend Christine Hueber, owner of a social media marketing group in San Francisco, wrote that video resumes can be helpful if they are relevant to the position being applied for.

Howard Earle Halpern, a professional resume writer from Toronto, agreed, with a caveat: Not for your first contact. He called video resumes “extremely efficient as intermediate step between paper resume and in-person interview.” 

If you are going to tackle the “See me smile, now hire me” route, follow some simple suggestions:

  • Keep it short and simple: Include just the basics.
  • Timing is everything: Like a resume that is more than one page long, videos that are more than 30 seconds will be turned off. Fifteen seconds is better.
  • Keep it professional: Don't share a “drunken-brother-in-law” video recorded on your webcam.
  • Does it add anything? How will that video enhance your position in the market?
  • Is it needed? Will the video enhance your chances not to be rejected?

As a job seeker, you need to be aware that there is a lot of competition out there for the same job for which you just applied. A resume will never get you the job. It is only a tool to eliminate you from the pack. Getting through the initial selection process is a crap-shoot at best; do not reduce your chances with an ill-planned video.

Another bit of advice: Do not take a rejection personally. Most employers and recruiters do not respond to most resumes. Or you will get an automatic reply, such as, “Thank you for applying to Acme, exclusive supplier to Wile E. Coyote.”

Finally, clean up your social sites and personal Web pages. Google yourself and find out what others are saying. Those sites say a lot more about you than your resume, and that might not be a good thing.

I sit on the side of “no video.” The concept is too risky and can provide a fast-track to rejection. It is a gimmick, and recruiters do not like gimmicks. Unless, of course, you need that audition tape so you can be the next anchor on the "CBS Evening News"or want to replace Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men."

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.


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Comments

David DeCapua May 4, 2011 | 9:26 a.m.

With 20 years experience in search, recruiting and staffing I was always warned about pictures and videos being "discriminatory". I was also told that I wasn't allowed to swim for 30 minutes after eating..... I'm mystified why anyone would raise the discrimination issue with video - there is no legal basis. Even the EEOC is on record that video technology is not discriminatory - heck, Title VII even says that it is not illegal to know the race, age, gender or ethnicity of a candidate prior to an interview. There isn't a recruiter worth their salt that doesn't source candidates from social media sites - guess what? They are seeing more information than every before, including photos, personal information etc. etc. No reasonable person believes that candidates will still rely on "paper" in the coming years (unless they aren't serious about their job search). It's all going digital video whether we like it or not - the key is to make sure you do it right and professionally, which most fail to do....

(Report Comment)
David Rosman May 4, 2011 | 11:38 a.m.

David, Thank you for your comment. Yes, EEOC believes that the videos do not pose a discrimination "threat," and recruiters do surf the net. However, this does not eliminate the fact that discrimination does occur and any recruiter worth her weight in gold will not waste time or money searching for information about ever person who applies for a job. From the SHRM members, that secondary Internet search is only done when the search has been narrowed down to the last three to five candidates.

To reiterate what Halpern said, for the first contact, no. Somewhere alone the line the recruiter will meet the candidate, but getting that far means one must be smarter than the average bear.
David Rosman

(Report Comment)
John Schultz May 4, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.

Did the Missourian just post an article directing potential resume clients to David Rosman's buddies? That's what I'm taking away from this fluff piece. Why the need for names and especially links?

(Report Comment)
Christine Hueber May 4, 2011 | 2:25 p.m.

Thanks for the mention, Dave, I appreciate at you sharing my insights on video resumes.

Best,
Christine Hueber

(Report Comment)
Christine Hueber May 5, 2011 | 1:25 p.m.

Thanks for the mention, Dave, I appreciate you sharing my insights on video resumes.

Best,
Christine Hueber

(Report Comment)
David Rosman May 11, 2011 | 12:37 p.m.

@ John - These are not "friends" but professionals who answered a question concerning video resumes. I purposely left out local resume writers and employment consultants for the very reason you state.

Yes, this is a "fluff" piece, but I need a rest from the world of politics every once in a while. And it is a subject many a MU, CC, Stephens and MACC student has been asking about and information they need to know.

(Report Comment)
David Pedersen May 11, 2011 | 10:12 p.m.

My video resume got me into the door of a lot of great opportunities. The only problem....I wasn't able to capitalize. So far, I've had 73 in-person and phone interviews for various positions at Wachovia bank and some other banks and firms over the years, but I haven't gotten the job yet. I know that my time will come, but it's been a loonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng hall. I know that I just need to keep my head up, and my ear to the grindstone and something great will happen for me. Thanks David, but I still think a video resume is a powerful tool in this technological age!!
my video resume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oHhD3Bk9...

(Report Comment)

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