Viral Spiral: Video Resume Pros and Cons

Posted by The Editors on August 15, 2011
Viral Spiral: Video Resume Pros and Cons

After watching the most entertaining video resume I’ve seen thus far, I started to think about the advantages (if any) that a video resume brings to the recruiting table. There’s so much hype surrounding this new trend and it seems millennials are eating up any and all opportunities to impress recruiters. And if they have the video-editing skills to do it, why not?

But no matter how entertaining and tech-savvy they look, video resumes have the potential to backfire big time. After scouring the Internet for the best and the worst of ’em, I decided to take my typical approach to deciding whether something’s worth the effort: I made a pro/con list.



Shows off creativity

Creativity overload

Demonstrates sense of humor

Too many jokes can be offensive/cheesy – and make it seems like you’re making a joke of the process

Highlights specific skills from resume                                           

Highlights irrelevant skills

Personalizes application by targeting different companies/positions

Lots of time spent re-doing the video to address different companies/positions

One more opportunity to enhance your personal brand

One more opportunity to damage your brand

A chance to actually show your verbal communication skills

Could expose weaknesses in verbal communication skills

When researching this topic, a painful experience at times, I came across a Forbes article that provided some great answers on how a video resume should be used and by whom.

If you’re applying for a position that requires some risk taking, creative thinking, and an interest in following trends (i.e. arts, advertising, journalism, PR), the video resume could push you to the top of the candidate pool. Unlike investment banks or government agencies, less traditional methods of applying are more likely to appeal to companies that value creativity. I’m not saying a prospective accountant can’t pull off an effective video resume, but it’s important to think about the overall atmosphere and goals of the company to which you’re applying.

How to Make it Effective

1. Have a clear hook
If you want recruiters to watch more than thirty seconds, you need a hook. In simple terms, this means grabbing the viewer’s attention right off the bat.

Exhibit A: Matthew Epstein’s video. He’s got the music, the two-step dance routine, the brandy-like substance, and the mustache (oh, that mustache) all working for him. He made me curious. Why wouldn’t I tune in to see what else he has up his sleeve?

2. State your purpose.
Just like a standard resume, the recruiter wants to know what you’re trying to get out of this position and what you can offer their company.

Exhibit B: Theo Ramsey’s video. This guy does multiple things right but mainly he tells his audience what he can do for their organization. It’s amazing how many job candidates forget to mention this huge caveat. Don’t get too caught up in trying to put on a good show that you forget why you’re making the video in the first place.

3. Let others talk for you.
No one wants to hear the same person talk about himself for five minutes straight. If you have solid references willing to go in front of the camera, then go for it! Check back to Theo Ramsey’s video to find a good example of including references.

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