Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Video Résumés: That’s a Wrap! You’re Hired! - Part One

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. Video résumés (Video CVs, or ‘visumés’) were first introduced in the 1980s for use and distribution via VHS tape. While the idea never took off beyond the videotaping of interviews, with the modern capabilities of transmitting streaming video via the Internet, video résumés may be taking on a renewed popularity.

A video résumé is a way for job seekers to highlight their abilities beyond the capabilities of a traditional paper résumé. It allows prospective employers to see, hear and get a feel for how the applicant presents themselves. This short video, 3 minutes or less, typically describes the individual's skills and qualifications and can be used to supplement and not replace a traditional résumé.

While a video résumé does introduce applicants on camera, the value that such visual imagery adds is debatable. A text résumé allows for specific pieces of information to be compared across candidates. When the information is delivered verbally, hiring managers will be left to glean the details themselves.

The paper résumé is egalitarian, which is why human resources professionals are wringing their collective hands over visually enhanced job applications. Many hiring managers and recruiters won't even bother to accept CVs with photos attached for fear of lawsuits. Some companies even block out the candidate's name, citing studies that showed bias toward the white-sounding ones. In such a litigious labour environment, they are worried that video résumés will invite lawsuits by candidates who could claim bias based on race, gender or age, that may be indiscernible on paper but not on video.

But, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. There are places where you can post your video résumé that will not conflict with a company’s policy of refusing to view video résumés that are submitted by potential employees. The options include the following:

  • Including a link to your video resume in your paper/online resume

  • Including your video résumé or a link to it in your professional profiles on your social networking sites

  • Sending the link directly to your networking contacts

If you have decided that producing a video résumé is yet another tool that you wish to add to your personal marketing collateral toolbox, it is important to keep in mind that a video résumé, like a traditional one, will never to get you a job. When done well, it can assist you in marketing yourself to prospective employers. Conversely, when it is done poorly, it can hinder your chances of getting an interview and even knock you out of contention.

“Career Matters” is an on-line community blog hosted by Mary Salvino. It is designed for those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. Alternatively, you can e-mail Mary directly at