Here’s how to stand out from a stack of paper resumes: Make yours on videotape.
Now that the new millennium is under way, video resumes are starting to get some play. They can be the ticket for out-of-town candidates, those who have unique skills, great essays and dissertations, products to showcase, and others who want to show, instead of tell, what they do well.
Should you use a video resume? Perhaps. How about at least adding your photo to your paper resume? Maybe. How about creating a resume enhanced by Powerpoint computer software? Could be a winner.
Some in the employment business say creating a video resume and getting it to decision-makers is easy now and will continue to get easier – thanks to technology.
Anyone with a video camera – whether it’s film or digital, can videotape himself or herself, have it processed and hosted on a server for $89, said Michael A. Patrino II, president of swapjobs.com, an online job exchange.
Swapjobs.com will send back a link that the job-seeker can add to e-mails to employers. If they have Microsoft Windows, they can click on the link to view the resume. Swapjobs.com launched video resumes in 2000 and has produced about 10,000. The process is so simple that “in five years video resumes will be commonplace,” Patrino said.
Think of it as your automated 2- minute elevator speech on video. Jobseekers should use their video time – 90 seconds – to highlight experience, detail some actual examples of previous on-the-job successes and emphasize qualities that fit employers’ needs.
If you happen to have footage of yourself performing a job that is particularly visual, such as leading a seminar, conducting a meeting or even being presented an award, consider adding it. And you may want to use charts and graphs to drive home points related to your accomplishments.
Video resumes can set a candidate apart from others with similar skill sets. “No matter how fancy your paper resume is, it doesn’t show you in action,” Patrino said. “Plain-paper resumes possesses none of the flair, power and dynamics of a strong video presentation that shows more of who you are than paper and ink.”
And they’re not just for those eyeing top-level white-collar jobs. Certain occupations, especially, may benefit from these alternative resumes. These include information technology, sales, executive and creative jobs, such as in graphic design, film, video production and art – where visual samples of work are especially useful.
And, for out-of-town candidates, a video resume lets employers see them.
Don Straits, CEO of CorporateWarriors .com, a Sacramento, Calif., company that produces videos and portfolios, said his clients range from administrative assistants to CEOs. “Video resumes and portfolios apply to all levels. It doesn’t matter who you are.
“Decision-makers are more demanding, there are more candidates than job openings, and technology has changed the way candidate information can be managed and presented to corporate decision-makers,” Straits said.
Rosalie Sheffield, business development manager at Peopleproductions. com, a video production company in Boulder, said she’s starting to see more video resumes.
“I’ve probably seen four or five in the last six months,” said Sheffield. “I think it’s a nice and fast way – especially for those in the graphic arts field – to show what they can do graphically and with technology. And it saves us time and effort dealing with envelopes and hard copy samples of work.”
Sheffield said peopleproductions. com produces portfolios on DVDs for those in the graphics industry, such as videographers, photographers and graphic designers. Costs range from roughly $200 and higher, depending on the length and number of DVDs produced.
Sheffield will consider producing video resumes for individuals, but she hasn’t seen the demand for them – yet. “I could see this as a growing field. Certainly the technology is there and I think it would definitely help job-hunters stand out,” she said.
“Now it’s common for people to e-mail resumes – just attaching them to their emails. So it’s not a stretch that we’re beginning to see Web sites or other kinds of electronic presentations.”
Those who do not choose to produce (and star in) a video resume, might consider obtaining or building a Web site. The costs start with obtaining an Internet service provider. America Online and Comcast allow their customers to create a Web site for no additional cost above the monthly Internet subscription.
But not everyone is tuning in to alternative resumes – either on Web sites or videos.
Kim Baird, an executive recruiter with HR Search Firm in Denver, prefers that applicants spend more time making sure that their traditional paper resume is free of errors, and clearly and accurately communicates work history and accomplishments, instead of sending her a flashy resume in an alternative electronic format.
“You’d be surprised at how many professional-level individuals are forwarding resumes to employers that your high school English teacher would fail you for,” Baird said. “People need to spend more time on the basics.”
Then there’s the issue of time. Baird spends about 30 seconds reviewing a resume. “I would be reluctant to take the time to actually put a VHS or a CD in and watch it,” she said.
However, she acknowledges that some companies might appreciate video or creative resumes. Advertising or public relations employers might be more receptive to these more innovative resumes, versus the typical paper version.
“I would be cautious using a more creative style of resume for most employers and for most types of positions,” Baird said. “Recruiters receive thousands of resumes a month and have a very short window of time to ascertain the qualifications of an applicant. Again, think 30 seconds.”
Are video resumes worth doing? Even Patrino admits, “the jury is still out.”
But, with Internet technology advances, video resumes are one way job-hunters can stand out from the crowded competition, he said.