Despite the career-crushing video resume of Aleksey Vayner that spread virally across the Internet a few years ago, it looks like more and more job seekers continue to jump on the video resume bandwagon, thinking that a video resume is a way to differentiate themselves in a competitive job market.
Stories on video resumes (such as the recent Hire Me video where a college grad sang a song to employers explaining his background and asking for a job) seem to be fueling the video resume frenzy.
But if you think that video resumes are a better alternative to traditional resumes, think again. These days we all want our information fast. Everyone needs to be a master scanner just to keep up with the incredible amount of information that is put in front of them each day.
And the process of reviewing resumes is no different. No one is actually reading them through. Hiring authorities are giving them a quick glance and/or using applicant tracking systems to slice and dice your data and determine a match between your candidacy and their open job. Hiring managers are looking for keywords and impact verified by strong metrics: the facts ma'am, just the facts. So in today's fast-paced world, why would anyone want to look at a video resume ... or video resumes from 500 applicants? Currently there is no real way to parse the information; few will take the time to view the video or even fast-forward through it.
Here's what several hiring experts have to say about video resumes:
Bill Gaffney, an executive recruiter for Amaxa Group:
"When I and many of my counterparts look at a resume, the second thing we look at after experience are the accomplishments. With a paper resume, I can find this information in less than a minute. But there is no way to quickly spot accomplishments on a video resume."
"In addition, HR departments are required to keep resumes they receive and accept. A video requires much more storage than a Word document and can prove more cumbersome for companies."
Gaffney viewed one video resume, and here is what he said:
"The job seeker doesn't tell me what he does. He doesn't talk about what he has accomplished for his former employers. Listing computer skills is a waste. Anyone from 5- to 45 can do a pie chart and most of the other things he talks about. Unless he is focused only on a leading-edge start up, this is too glitzy with no content. I doubt any HR person would look at this for longer than five seconds."
Tony Deblauwe, founder of HR consulting firm HR4Change:
"Most managers want to go through selection quickly. Video resumes require more time."
Deblauwe also offered feedback on a video resume:
"I don't 'get' his brand and I am not sure what he can do for the company. The presentation is disjointed and seems amateurish. Hiring managers would kill me if I made them sit through this."
Sheila Wyatt, of HR Geek 4U (and a former HR professional at several Fortune 100 firms):
"Unfortunately, there are still hiring managers out there who have biases because of age, sex, ethnicity, etc. To me, a video resume is just as bad as putting a picture on a resume. I want the hiring manager to initially determine the candidate's qualifications based on what is put forth on paper so they can be as objective as possible."
Here is Wyatt's input on another video resume:
"The video is choppy and not well organized and the references to other companies (Microsoft) and other people (Karl Rove) have nothing to do with Trent. To quote the video, no I don't really know Trent Willis at the end of the video."
Now, this is not to say that video and other rich media have no place in your job-search campaign. Very brief presentations that deliver a message of value can be created through tools like Visual CV, a personal Web site or blog, or a presentation on Slideshare that is linked to your LinkedIn profile.
But use these tools as an additional way to support your candidacy or as a follow-up to complement a first interview -- rather than as your initial strategy for getting the hiring manager's attention.