Video Resumes: Don't Believe the Hype

I'm a fan of Nick Corcodilo's Ask the Headhunter newsletter and have been for a few years now. I even picked up his book a while ago to get a deeper understanding of his recommended approach to job hunting. And so I was pleased once again to see Nick take on the video resume movement and completely deflate the balloon of hype.

Video resumes prey on the desperation of job hunters. The presumed advantage is that a video resume will help a candidate stand out from the stack of paper resumes. It sure will. While the stack of resumes are being reviewed, the video tape/CD/URL will be tossed into the circular file. No hiring manager is going to want to jump through the hoops of watching a video when they can instead scan a resume? And that's assuming the video gets passed the HR folks who are looking for quick ways to screen out resumes.

I'm guessing the use of video resumes is being spurred on by companies that are looking for ways to profit by creating and hosting such things. And the job boards certainly would like to offer "premium" services in whatever form they may be. In addition to these two groups, I fear that teachers are also pushing video resumes when they encourage students to be creative. But creativity for creativity's sake is a waste of time. The creative display of your credentials has to achieve some goal of interest to those filling open jobs.

The good news is that to stand out amongst other applicants is still relatively easy. In fact, it's so easy that I doubt most people are going to believe me, but I'm providing these tips from my own experience reviewing resumes and interviewing.

  1. Make sure you don't have any spelling mistakes. I don't why it is, but spelling mistakes seem to stand out amongst all other words on a resume. Spell the wrong word incorrectly or have so many errors that the resume screams sloppy and you've just made it easy for me to move on.
  2. Keep your resume short. I get tired after 2 pages. More is not better. It tells me that you don't know what is important about your experiences and that you want me to do all of the work.
  3. Ignore suggestions from recruiters to add things to your resume that you're not familiar with. Trust me when I say I will spot these. Your lack of experience with them will result in you using terms inappropriately. I've busted applicants this way.
  4. Don't stress too much about a cover letter. Chances are it won't get to me. Recruiters often remove cover letters and summarize your resume in the e-mail they send.
  5. Have someone else read your resume. Once you've read your resume 10 times it becomes quite difficult to be critical about what you've written and how you've written it.

If you follow the above 5 tips for writing a resume and ignore the video resume hype, you'll put yourself in the top 10% of applicants. That's not too bad for just a little extra effort, is it?

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