In the last few years, I've seen individuals and consulting firms create Video Resumes to tout themselves, or their consultants to prospective employers and clients.
In a media rich market where you're trying to set yourself apart from the crowd, is this an effective strategy?
After looking at a lot of them, my answer is… Possibly, but not likely!
There are a few that I've seen that I thought were impressive and did a good job of distinguishing someone from the masses. However, the vast majority I've seen probably do more harm than good. Here are some observations…
It's difficult to be engaging on video. There are some people that can demonstrate their personality effectively on video. However, most people appear flat, and frankly, boring. Most people are much more engaging and personable over the phone or face-to-face when they are talking to a live person than they are when talking to a camera. Someone looking at a boring video while deciding whether to bring the person in for a meeting will more likely pass. The document that might have a more engaging person behind it seems like a better bet than a video that is already boring them.
It's not searchable! Having your resume document online through your own personal website, or on a job board like Monster, CareerBuilder, or HotJobs can be a great way to be found. Generally, all the words in your document will be scanned when someone runs a search and it will appear when relevant keywords are entered. A video resume, however, doesn't have that ability. No one will find your video resume, where you talk about your skills with Oracle software, by entering "Oracle" in a search field. A video has very limited value if it's not as widely seen.
It's more difficult to customize. As important as it is to tailor your resume for each opportunity you pursue in order to connect the dots for the potential employer, it's much less likely to be done if an entirely new video has to be reshot in the process. It's much easier, and more likely to be done, with a document that only needs some simple editing.
Viewers are more interested in answers to questions they asked than ones they didn't. Invariably, a video resume addresses questions that the viewer may, or may not, be interested in. They are far less likely to be interested in listening to irrelevant information. However, are forced to listen to it, impatiently, if they still want to hear more. Or they may simply turn it off if they don't. In a resume document, they can simply scan further down quickly. In a video, it's more difficult. When you create a video, you have no way of knowing what they want to hear, and what they don't.
While a video resume seems like a leading-edge idea that could set you apart, it can also more quickly derail their interest in you if the video is a dud. If you try it, be very self-critical and use it cautiously!