Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why You Shouldn’t Do Video Resumes

One definition of a video resume is a way for job seekers to showcase their abilities beyond the capabilities of a traditional paper resume. The video resume allows prospective employers to see, hear and get a feel for how the applicant presents themselves. While it sounds like a great way to stand out and attract attention, it really isn’t going over well with HR personnel and hiring managers.

Since my business (and love) revolves around video, this may shock you. In my humble opinion, you should not send video resumes in your quest to find employment. And here are a few reasons why I say that.

1. Most HR departments or those in hiring positions have, quite frankly, not got their head around it, and consequently … it can be an immediate turn off.
2. IT Security & fire walls used by many companies may block videos.
3. Even if videos do make it through the security and firewalls, most recipients are hesitant (to say the least) in opening a video link, let alone downloads.
4. There is the question of where to store the videos and the size of the videos being stored.
5. A written resume provides the opportunity for a quick eyeball-scan for certain keywords and phrases pertinent to the available position, while a video resume takes up valuable time listening and viewing 3-15 minute videos.
6. There are also concerns, especially within the HR community, that video resumes will put discrimination tools in the hands of hiring managers (I wonder how many baby boomers are rolling their eyes at this one …. discriminatory hiring practices …. really?)

Now here is the part that might confuse you. It is my humble opinion that you should use video when sending your resume to prospective employers as often as you can.

The difference being that the video should only serve as a brief introductory greeting and direct the hiring personnel to the attached resume …. nothing more. This really should take less than 60 seconds (unless you have an incredibly long and unusual name, of course.)
Below is a suggestion, serving only as an example:

“Hello, my name is Debbie Barth. I am excited about the position you currently have available at XYZ Company. Please find my resume attached. I look forward to talking with you soon. Have a very successful day, and thank you for your consideration.”

Now that part was pretty easy. Obviously, there is a whole lot more involved with sending a short introductory video along with your resume. Here are a few “shoulds”

1. Always be as groomed and as professionally dressed as you would be if it were a true face-to-face meeting.
2. Know, and practice, what you are going to say before you sit down to make the video. Do not look up or down at cue cards. We are only talking a few sentences here, not a resume of information.
3. Do not use music in the background … of any sort.
4. Reduce all disturbing noise factors as much as possible. Phones off, T.V. (duh) off, and radios off.
5. When using video, lighting is extremely important. Play around a little and get the “best light” possible for your situation.
6. Check you sound options to make sure it is recording through your webcam.
7. Allow yourself plenty of time for mistakes and retakes.
8. Talk slowly and distinctly.
9. Relax. Just take a deep breath, and relax.
10. Smile! Let your smile be the first impression of You!
11. When it is possible, call and let them know that you are sending your resume, along with a very brief, less than a minute-long video introduction.
Obviously, in order to create a video, you will need a video camera, flip camera, or webcam. Your email web host will probably restrict most video files of any size, so you will also need to upload your video to a server. As mentioned earlier, most companies are not going to download and save videos sent to them by applicants. There are a few free services that allow you to upload and share your videos. There are also professional services, providing more options, as well.

The benefits of using a professional service for uploading, storing and sharing your videos are many. You want to make sure the service you use:

1. Has a management tracking system so that you will actually know if and when your video was seen, how many times it was viewed, and if it was forwarded.
2. Provided you with professional-looking templates providing your contact information.
3. Is white-listed with a well-known company, increasing the deliverability of your video.
4. Provides in-house technology and security. You may or may not want the world to know of which jobs you are applying.

In my humble opinion, video does have a place in your job search … if done professionally. Use it wisely and put your best “smile” forward.