The Good and Bad of Video Resumes

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by Alex A. Kecskes

You're looking for that ideal job and you want to stand out among the thousands of applicants who have sent in resumes. What to do? Add a video to your resume, of course.

Job search sites like and currently accept video resumes and even provide helpful suggestions for getting the most out of your "3 to 5 minutes of fame." In addition, 62ndview, HireVue and Resumevideo have all launched video resume sites.

Resumevideo sends online "postcards" of job candidates to a network of primarily not-for-profit employers. In contrast, 62ndview is a portal for job seekers who want to view videos of potential workplaces, and for employers who wish to 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.

Regrettably, up till now, employers have been reluctant to view video resumes in evaluating job candidates. A survey from staffing agency Robert Half International revealed that only 24 percent of the nation's 1,000 largest companies said they accept video resumes from prospective candidates. The reason most often cited by employers: video resumes could open them up to age, sex or racial discrimination lawsuits.

Aside from these obvious hang-ups, employers also tend to look more favorably at attractive candidates. (A number of studies have shown that good-looking people get better jobs and are promoted more often.) For this reason, HR experts suggest that you should always include a hardcopy resume and well-written cover letter with your video.

That being said, consider these guidelines for creating an effective video resume:
  • Keep it clear, short and simple—no longer than 2 minutes.
  • Don't film yourself with cluttered backgrounds, pets, or distracting posters on the wall.
  • Close windows and doors to silence any background noise.
  • Make sure you're centered in the middle of the screen from the chest up.
  • Avoid the "regurgitating the text on a paper" resume—memorize and summarize.
  • Eschew fancy editing gimmicks, special effects or stunts—no Karate katas.
  • Act with confidence and dress professionally.
  • If possible, have a friend watch and critique the video.
  • Above all, smile, act naturally and be yourself.
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.



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  • Sheila H
    Sheila H
    While video can be "cool", I'd think it would be really difficult to get it "right" for most employers which tend to be pretty conservative.  But maybe no.  
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