Sunday, July 6, 2008

Video Resume

You've sent in your resume, but you know you're competing against 200 other resumes. How do you separate yourself from the rest of the pack?

How about trying a video resume?

Video resumes are more like cover letters than resumes, since they allow you to highlight certain parts of your experience that you feel make you the best fit for the position. You don't want to stuff all of your resume into the short time that you have in a video resume. Although popular, video resumes remain somewhat controversial, for various reasons. First, human resources managers oftentimes do not like to take the extra time that it takes to view the videos. Also, they feel that it may open them up to charges of discrimination since they are able to see the person's physical appearance on the video.

Also, the usefulness of a video resume varies depending on the desired position. The video format would obviously be helpful for someone who is showing off his work in multimedia production, while it would not serve a purpose for someone applying for a position in accounting.

However, if you have weighed the options and have still decided to create a video resume, there are several things that you need to keep in mind.

Like written resumes, video resumes are ideally adapted for each specific application and are not posted publicly. However, always assume that the video could become public, as one Yale student learned the hard way.

Follow the same guidelines as a written resume.

-Keep it short and focused, watch for grammatical errors, etc.

-Ask yourself why you are a good fit for the company, and try to express this in the video. When possible, craft the video specifically for each position.

-Mention your name in the video, and place in titles at the beginning of the video.

-Dress professionally, just like you would to an interview.
Silence your cell phone beforehand.

-Speak clearly and enunciate your words.

-Make sure the background is clean and non-distracting; nothing gives managers a worse impression of your organizational abilities than a messy room with dirty laundry on the floor.

-Focus on professional achievements, not personal tidbits. Hiring managers are not interested in you as a person! (Well, not exactly, but your favorite movie quote will have little impact on their hiring decision.

-If you mess up, refilm the video or edit it carefully. It only takes a couple minutes, and it is well worth the effort. No verbal filler, such as "um, let's see...", should be included in the video.

-Don't go crazy with special effects, transitions, or other graphics, unless you are a bona fide multimedia expert and are selling this ability to the hiring managers. Graphics can be very distracting, so just use visuals to highlight the most important parts of your message. If you don't mention something, don't put it in a graphic.

Finally, if you have a script, (which is a good idea if you have trouble with spontaneous remarks) don't read it while you're filming. Instead, memorize it and deliver it as naturally as possible. The audience will know if you're reading a script.

Good luck with the resume!

P.S. One last tip: don't ever tell someone that you're applying for THEIR job.

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