Video Resumes – Not the Next Big Thing (Yet)

My cyber-friend, Chris Russel, of Secrets of the Job Hunt Network, recently shared this information about video resumes:

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 31 /PRNewswire/ — In an increasingly competitive job market, applicants are looking for new ways to stand out from the crowd, but a recent survey suggests submitting a video resume may not be the answer. Just one in four (24 percent) senior executives interviewed said their companies accept video resumes from candidates.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on
interviews with 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked, “Does your company accept video resumes from job seekers?” Their responses:
Yes ……………………24%
No …………………….58%
Don’t know ………..18%

“Before submitting a video resume, job candidates should check with the hiring manager to ensure the company does not have a policy against their use in evaluating candidates,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Job Hunting For Dummies(R), 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

Although there are certainly some great uses for video resumes, for example when the job involves being on screen or making presentations, I was not surprised to learn that they are not yet widely accepted.

My thinking?

  • Viewing video resumes takes too long. Conventional wisdom is saying that resumes receive an 8-second glance. It takes that long to load and press “play” for a video resume. Most employers are too impatient and don’t have time to take these seriously right now.
  • In my opinion, no one should send a video resume without being coached on how to look, what to wear, what to do with their hands, how not to fidget. The list goes on and on. The fact is, looking good on camera requires more than sitting in front of it. The camera itself and the person BEHIND the camera can have a lot to do with the finished product. If you don’t have a coach and an expert behind the scenes, consider the fact that your video resume will look like a 5th-grade humanities project.
  • Many organizations worry about bias. Having a visual as the first impression of a candidate is not traditional in U.S. hiring, and using videos may open the door to charges of discrimination. This is not to say that a video is the only way to see what someone looks like, but using it as a screening tool can open up employers to problems.

The fact is, unless your job requires being on camera, demonstrating your skill (or lack thereof) in this medium is not of much value. Unless you are fabulously attractive, well spoken, coached in the best ways to appear on camera AND have great camera operators and technology to back it all up, stick to a paper resume or consider an on-line resume that allows links and a portfolio, such as visualcv.com if you MUST do something different. (Keeping in mind that most employers don’t have more than 8 seconds for your documents!)

What do you think of video resumes? Does your company allow them? Would you consider using one?

Video resume! You don’t even have any resume! Need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

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photo by ianbwarner

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5 Responses to “Video Resumes – Not the Next Big Thing (Yet)”


  1. 1 Kristi Colvin August 7, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I think the problem with presenting a visual resume is that it is too far from the traditional paper resume, but what I like about VisualCV (I have one myself, at http://www.visualcv.com/kristicolvin/) is that you can present your basic work history information, but add that great presentation, or video, or audio clips or portfolio samples, which can give you that extra edge over other candidates for companies that are truly interested in something they see in your work history. If applicants will look at video as an adjunct to a well-crafted traditional resume, instead of a new-fangled replacement, they might see more acceptance as we all continue to adapt to an ever-changing technology-filled world.

  2. 2 Miriam Salpeter August 7, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Kristi – Thanks for commenting. I think that the online resumes are more likely to be adopted than video resumes, but it is important to remember that if you include a photo in the visualcv, you still invite the same problems with bias.

    In your field, it makes sense to have a portfolio oriented resume. The important thing is to make sure that the online resume is just as well written and easy to read (and skim) as a paper copy and that the links are clear and obvious to a reader who only has 8 seconds to get interested!

    If visualcv authors use paragraphs and links that are not immediately clear, the impact of the online portfolio gets lost in the technology.

  3. 3 John Little August 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    This is a good debate (I remember when it started more than 12 years ago) but there is really only one bottom line today. Recruiters have invested vast amounts of hard earned capital to install scanning software. They scan electronic attachments for keywords. In many cases, and growing rapidly, resumes do not even get the 30 second visual scan (30 to 45 seconds is the research result) from human eyes. They go straight into the database for electronic keyword searches.
    So until recruiters decide they want video resumes, nothing will change.

  4. 4 Miriam Salpeter August 8, 2008 at 11:09 am

    John – I agree. There is a lot invested in the current way of doing things, and it will take a real shift for “new” technology to take hold in a widespread way. I think job seekers need to be smart about approaching non-traditional technology, such as visualcv and others, and use them when they know their targeted employers value and appreciate efforts in that direction. Thanks for commenting!


  1. 1 The Future of the Video Resume « Recruiting Impact Trackback on September 2, 2008 at 11:51 pm

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