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.
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.