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Video résumés have long tickled imaginations in Hollywood (can a blond legally apply to Harvard via VHS?) without making much of a dent in the real world. Enter Aleksey Vayner. The Yale student submitted his video résumé, titled Impossible Is Nothing, to investment bank UBS last fall. It became a YouTube classic, while its karate-chopping, tennis-acing, deep-thought-having star became the joke of Wall Street. But another funny thing happened: Vayner's vanity creation awakened recruiters and job seekers to the possibilities of marrying the video CV to the Internet--and that may just revolutionize the job-search process as we know it.
So who will be the YouTube of video résumés? Jobster, an online job board, is teaming up with social-networking site Facebook to launch a career site featuring video résumés in March. Vault.com another job board, concluded its first video-résumé contest last week, its prize a shot at (what else?) an investment-banking job.
Smaller players 62ndview, HireVue and Resumevideo are all launching widely this spring. Workplace bloggers speculate that YouTube plans to start its own video-résumé channel, although the company is noncommittal. Says Jason Goldberg, CEO of Jobster: "I can see a day when video as part of the résumé is the norm."
Job seekers aren't waiting. On YouTube, there are already 1,590 entries listed under résumé. Not all are what you would call serious ("After losing his powers at the end of X-Men 3, Magneto is forced to apply for a job at the local Starbucks"). The best ones, though, are smart, colorful and effective. Benjamin Hampton, a recent graduate of Washington State University in Pullman, posted a 5 1/2-min. video on YouTube last fall, thinking it would be something different to send to employers. (To view Hampton's video résumé, go to click here. With his brother at the camera, the résumé "took me 45 minutes to film and 30 minutes to edit," says Hampton, 23. But that was enough to impress Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. The public relations firm interviewed him--in person - a short time ago. Not many employers are trolling YouTube for candidates, which is where the new online services come in.
Resumevideo sends online "postcards" of job candidates to a network of mostly not-for-profit employers. 62ndview wants its site to be a portal for job seekers, who would view videos of potential workplaces, and for employers, who could check out potential hires. HireVue sends webcams to job candidates, who use them to answer real-time interview questions. Employers can view the clips immediately online, saving time and money by eliminating the first round of in-person interviews.
The thing is, not all people are cut out for their three minutes of online-video fame. A Vault.com post features a blue-shirted manager with a knee jiggle and a boring spiel. A job-seeking techie on YouTube admits charmingly that he has no experience editing videos--and then packs his with gimmicky cutaways. One software engineer scores his with gangsta rap. And did I just fast-forward through that video on HireVue because of the guy's bad teeth?
The paper résumé is egalitarian, more or less, and that's why human-resources people are wringing their collective hands over visually enhanced job applications. Many recruiters won't even 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. They're worried that video résumés will invite lawsuits by candidates who could claim bias based on race, gender or age--indiscernible on paper but not on video.
No one has yet filed a major lawsuit for discrimination by video résumé. But George Lenard, a St. Louis, Mo., employment lawyer, can envision a case centered on "disparate impact." If an employer requires applications by video, then those without video cameras and broadband-equipped computers might argue they lacked access. Of course, he adds, the live interview process is hardly infallible. He cites a 2000 Princeton study that examined orchestras' penchant for hiring male musicians as an example of "disparate treatment." When screens were put up--now a common practice in auditions--the gender skewing disappeared.
Once the rest of the YouTube generation enters the workplace, "video résumés are going to be as ubiquitous as PDAs or iPods," says Mark Oldman, a co-president of Vault.com. Just leave out the gangsta rap. For your sake and ours.
But when video resumes are good, they can be very good. As is the case with "Hire Me," a new video created by recent Bentley University graduate Alec Biedrzycki, which was released on Tuesday.
This video resume succeeds for several reasons. It lays out Biedrzycki's talents and experience: he graduated summa cum laude with a major in marketing; he had several unpaid internships; he worked on projects with Bentley's faculty; he has studied Japanese. By using his skills as a songwriter and musician, Biedrzycki also demonstrates that his creativity can be applied to a job -- in this case selling himself, but perhaps also in meeting the goals of a prospective employer. Most importantly, the video shows off his personality and sense of humor in a way that is hard to do in a traditional resume or cover letter, and perhaps even in an in-person interview. After watching the video, it's hard not to like the guy
I spoke with Biedrzycki on Friday afternoon and he said that his idea for the video resume was as simple as he describes in the video's opening scene. After sending out countless resumes and cover letters, he decided it was time to do something creative to get himself noticed. A song-writer and guitar player, he wrote a song about his fruitless job search and then enlisted his sister to help him shoot a video around it. That happened on Sunday. By Tuesday, he'd finished the video and by Wednesday he had shared it with one of his professors and mentors, Perry Lowe, as well as other members of the school's faculty and administration. "We all loved it," Lowe told me, "and we were all anxious to (1) help him get a job, and (2) see how viral marketing really works." Which means that the school's faculty and adminstration have been forwarding the video around ever since.
When I spoke with Biedrzycki on Friday afternoon, he said he'd received ten requests for his traditional resume and had already booked two interviews for potential jobs. He'd also just done a television interview with CNN.
Who knows if all this attention will lead to a job. But it's hard to see what bad can come out of it. What do you think?
When it comes to a video resume there is a lot that you need to keep in mind. First off, you must make for absolute sure that the quality is as good as possible. If you send a low quality video resume you are not going to appeal to many hiring managers. But if you send a video resume that makes you look good and is professional, you will definitely be onto something.
In addition to quality, you want to make sure that you do not get too carried away with your video resume. Remember, you are going to have the ability to say whatever you want; just like with a paper resume. But just because you can say whatever you want does not mean that you should go off the deep end. Instead, stick to everything that you would say in a paper resume. This includes information on your past jobs, education, and special skills.
Remember, when you send a video resume the recipient is going to be able to see you. This means that you will want to look your best. Not only should you dress like you are going to a job interview, but also make sure that the background is not too intrusive. If possible, shoot your video resume up against a plain white background. This will help the viewer to concentrate on you, and not everything else.
The main benefit of a video resume is that you can really show what your personality is all about. This is very important to some hiring managers, and if you can put on a good show, you are definitely going to have a chance at the job. But remember, even though you want to do your best, you also want to act like yourself. In other words, be genuine instead of trying to convey somebody you are not.
Video resumes are becoming very popular. If you are thinking about using this method of securing a job you are not alone. Just make sure that your video resume is of high quality, that you dress appropriately, and that you act genuinely.
About the Author: P. Majestyck. Paul Majestyck is global entrepreneur and online author.