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The Brave New World of Video Resumes

Ten tips for making your video stand out.

October 18, 2007
Sponsored by Spherion Professional Services

by Brendan Courtney, senior vice president, Professional Services Group

The practice of making and posting video resumes is still in its infancy, but employers are quickly seeing the value of these new tools as a way to help them get a more personalized perspective of potential candidates than they do with the traditional “print” resume. As employers embrace the concept of video resumes with more regularity, they are likely to become more important for job seekers to create.

A video resume is a short video created by a candidate for employment that describes the individual’s skills and qualifications. It is typically used to supplement a traditional resume and performs the same function — to help you get past the initial screening process so that you are considered for an actual interview. It’s important to keep in mind that a video resume isn’t going to get you a job; it is a tool to help you market yourself to prospective employers and set you up for the in-person meeting.

Here are 10 tips for job hunters who want to make a video resume that will stand out in the crowd:

  1. Do a practice version first and make sure that the video is clear and audible, especially if you’re using home-video technology. Shoot the video in an uncluttered area with no background noise.
  2. Make sure you keep the total video to less than three minutes long or you will lose an employer’s attention.
  3. Don’t just read a printed version of your resume in front of the camera. Be prepared and conversational, not stiff, and don’t read from a script. You can either look directly at the camera or have someone interview you, whichever feels most natural.
  4. Tailor the resume to the job you are seeking. Don’t try to create and market one video to employers in different industries.
  5. Keep it professional by dressing in business attire and focus your comments on your career experience and suitability for the open position. Don’t try to be goofy or it will likely turn off an employer.
  6. Be convincing by giving concrete examples of work that demonstrates your capabilities and potential. Smile and be enthusiastic throughout the presentation.
  7. Close the video by asking for an appropriate action, such as scheduling an in-person introduction, and then thank the viewers for taking the time to watch your video resume.
  8. Ask your family members or friends to review the final product before you begin marketing it online. They are more likely to pick up a glitch than you are; if it’s not perfect, start over and try again.
  9. Be careful where you post the video. If you opt for a popular online video Web site, such as YouTube or Yahoo! Video, remember that anyone could be watching.
  10. Be selective about how widely you link your professional video resume to other destinations on the Web. If you have information on your MySpace or Facebook page that you’d prefer employers not see, don’t link them to your video resume.

Of course, don’t expect your video resume to replace your traditional resume. Not all employers are interested in this new technology and some are actually working through a concern they have about potential discrimination issues if they are accused of interviewing candidates based on how they look, rather than their “paper” qualifications. However, as video resumes become more commonplace in this brave new world of digital communications, a well-done video can enhance your candidacy for employment.

For more information visit Spherion Professional Services.

Brendan A.J. Courtney, senior vice president and group executive, Professional Services Group, Spherion Corporation. Brendan Courtney serves as senior vice president and group executive of professional services for Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN).