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Chip Rogers

Video Resumes - Good but Dangerous

By Chip Rogers Posted March 20, 2013 4:12pm (EDT)
Video Resume Presentation

Video Resume Presentation


Video resumes have become a widely-used tool to distinguish an applicant’s talents & experience from the heap of paper most employers face when filling a job.

Yet, the use of this approach can backfire if not done properly.

The professionals at ACareerJob.net have created a list of 5 mistakes to avoid when creating a video resume.

#1: Improvisation The man or woman without a plan is doomed for failure. A video resume is not the time for stream of consciousness-like musings. Make an outline. Be concise. Know what you want to say and stick to the script. Practice. Let recruiters know exactly what you’re looking for and what you bring to the table. Also, keep it brief. Think of your video resume as a sneak peak to the show. No longer than 90 seconds is a good rule.

#2: Being Someone You’re Not “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.” ~Self Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson Or simply put, be authentic.

#3: Being Way Too Formal Formality is the job of the traditional resume. A video resume is a great opportunity to add value. It’s a real life cover letter. Never repeat exactly what’s on your resume. Use the opportunity to tell a great story that highlights your skill. Relax. Speak as if you are talking with a friend.

#4: Taking Yourself Way Too Seriously It’s not only about what you say—but how you say it. This is a chance to shine. Be creative with your presentation and don’t be afraid to incorporate (appropriate) humor.

#5: Not Closing The way you close a video resume is just as important as how you open it. Make it easy for recruiters to contact you by ending with contact information: email address, LinkedIn profile, personal website and phone number. Briefly restate key goals. And thank viewers for their time.

So now that you know what NOT to do, what SHOULD you do?

Mashable.com has 5 ideas for making a great video resume.

1. Make Sure It's Appropriate Don't just create a video resume because you can, create one because it's relevant to the job you want to do. If you're applying for a role in the online, media, social or creative professions, then it's more likely a decent video resume will have the desired effect, i.e., getting you invited for an interview. Don't send a video resume to a more traditional type of company that won't "get it." You might do your chances more harm than good.

2. Don't Just Read Out Your Resume The whole point of a video presentation is to offer a potential employer greater insight into you than a traditional resume can, so just reading aloud the contents of your CV is a waste of everyone's time. Use the video to help the employer get a sense of not just what you have achieved, but what you are capable of achieving in the future. "Tell them why you would be the right person to hire and what you can do for them," says Mario Gedicke, account manager at Mayomann.com, a video employment platform. You can, however, highlight particularly relevant info from your resume. "Focus on your experience and skill set (and possible education/training) especially relevant to the position," advises Tyler Redford, CEO of resumebook.tv, an online resume management system.

3. Keep it Short "Keep your video resume short," says Gedicke, who advises that a one-minute mark is ideal. Redford agrees that a video resume should be "short and sweet." He suggests staying within two minutes. "Keep in mind that recruiters would likely want to use the video resume as an initial filter for applicants," Redford says. "However, recruiters do not typically want to use the video resume in lieu of a real, in-person interview." Think of your video resume as your own personal teaser trailer. In the example above, the clip is less than one minute and 20 seconds in length, while the extra time is made up of a bloopers reel accompanied with credits, a clever way to show off your personality (and that you don't take yourself too seriously).

4. Don't Be Afraid to Be Creative If you're opting for a video resume, then go the whole hog and make it spectacular. Be creative, whether that's with the concept of your pitch, use of humor, clever production values or brilliant editing. However, stay classy. "Be creative, but professional. Do not deviate too much from the demeanor you would have in the workplace," says Redford. Gedicke suggests this should extend to your wardrobe too: "Dress professionally, just as if you are going to an in-person interview."

5. Make Sure It Passes the Share Test As with all online life, don't put content out there that you wouldn't be prepared to see go viral. It's unlikely your video resume will become an overnight Internet sensation, but imagining that scenario is a good test to make sure you could cope if it did. Imagine your friends and family watching the clip. If the thought of that embarrasses you, then don't submit it.


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