As companies become more comfortable with video technologies, job seekers may want to consider how to take advantage of the power of video to engage the hiring manager by using a video introduction, also known as a video resume.
Companies such as the nonprofit Music Saves Lives have successfully incorporated video introductions as part of their hiring and candidate screening process for volunteer positions. Chief Executive Officer Russel Hornbeek says: "By requesting and watching the videos we have found those that truly have enthusiasm for our life saving programs. It's great to be able to have our on-site touring staff recognize the volunteers chosen for the event we have them scheduled for."
These video introductions are becoming more common in customer-facing industries such as retail, hotel, and hospitality because they offer the hiring manager an opportunity to observe the job seeker's customer engagement and relationship skills in action.
However, it's possible to successfully connect with a recruiter in a more traditional industry with a video introduction. Mike Ramer, president of Ramer Search Consultants—a professional recruiting firm specializing in the financial, energy, biomedical, and human resources fields—agrees that video resumes are a useful way for some candidates to demonstrate their professionalism and to help them differentiate from the crowd. According to him, "If I received a video resume, I would review it, and if it's impressive, it can absolutely help the candidate."
MyNextGig.com founder and CEO Richard Linden agrees. "These online video introductions are a great way for corporate recruiters to get to know the job seekers beyond the traditional resume and online social networking profile," he says. "Many companies don't like to be contacted face-to-face until the interview. Video introductions allow job seekers an opportunity to build a relationship with the recruiter and on the recruiter's terms."
MyNextGig.com's job board offers job seekers the opportunity to create a video introduction. Its tools allow you to create a digital job profile that showcases your video resume as your application.
Linden suggests you follow these tips to create a video resume that makes a good impression:
1. Appearances are everything. Comb your hair, dress appropriately—in a suit and tie if that's the norm for your field—and consider removing piercings and covering tattoos if your field may frown on them. Be sure to prepare your entire environment; for example, you don't want your piles of laundry to show up in your video's background.
It's best to eliminate all clutter and personal objects, such as photos, unless you purposely want the employer to focus on them. (For example, you're applying for a job at a pet food company, and you place pictures of your dog or cat as "props" in the video. Or, if you're applying for a job at a company that makes running shoes, and you happen to have images of you running in a marathon in the background.)
2. Short and sweet. While you may love yourself enough to fill up a 10-minute video, most employers only skim a paper resume. There's no way they're going to watch something that long. Keep it to around 30 to 60 seconds and no more than two minutes. Your video gives viewers a sense of who you are and how you communicate.
3. Don't be afraid to be creative. Your video gives you an opportunity to demonstrate charisma and passion you'll use while working for them, so don't use this chance to simply read your resume aloud. The best use of a video resume is to show your personality and sell yourself. The more creative the job you're seeking, the more creative your video can be. For example, if you're applying for a design job, show some of your work. Want a video-editing job? You should have a knockout video, fully complete with several effects that display what you can do. The sky's the limit when you aren't confined to paper, but do keep in mind the target audience. If you're in a very conservative field, your video should err on the conservative side.
4. Highlights only, please. You have a limited amount of time to impress a viewer, so don't waste it describing or highlighting experiences, skills, or talents that aren't relevant to your target job.
Now you're ready to create your digital masterpiece to showcase your best skills. Linden also suggests job seekers connect with employers on multiple channels to further demonstrate their professionalism and interest in the position. "These industries are extremely competitive and a video introduction can be the difference in helping you stand out from the competition."
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.