Hire Me!

Adding video to resumes to outsine job rivals

June 03, 2007|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,Sun reporter

Spotless resume, check.

Cover letter, check.

References, check.

But these days, more job candidates are adding something extra to their applications to stand out from the crowd: Video clips.

Although video resumes have been around for years, the tool is gaining wider acceptance because of the popularity of YouTube and other video-sharing sites.

Advances in broadband technology and the easy use and accessibility of digital and Web cameras also are contributing to a surge in video resume production, especially among younger job candidates who perfected their Internet skills on social networking sites while growing up.

Few employers are routinely asking for video resumes and, some job placement consultants argue that recruiters will never have enough time to sift through many of them. Others worry the new tool could open the door to more claims of job discrimination.

But some workplace consultants and businesses are betting that the trend will take off in coming years as knowledgeable applicants look for one more way to make sure their resumes stand out in the virtual world of job searching.

Tim Kassouf, a recent graduate of Towson University's College of Business and Economics, created a video resume for a job competition in the spring and then decided to keep using it to augment his job search. Kassouf posted his video resume along with a traditional one on his Web site, where recruiters could check out both.

On his nearly four-minute clip, Kassouf, wearing a suit and tie, highlights his academic and extracurricular activities. Achievements include his tenure as president of the college's e-business student association and increasing its membership from 2 to 31.

The video resume "gives an employer a chance to hear me and see me," said Kassouf, who snagged a six-month contract job with a Baltimore-based education company but is looking for a full-time position. "I believe my strength is my personality."

Some workplace consultants see opportunities for job applicants, employers and businesses that produce video resumes.

"It's really the first inning right now for video resumes," said Mark Oldman, co-president and co-founder of Vault Inc., a career-focused media company that operates Vault.com, which has been running a series of video resume contests. "At the very least, it can satisfy the `glint in the eye' test. It could convey passion, enthusiasm and emotional intelligence. That you may not get from a paper resume or paper cover letter."

Some excluded

Not everyone is convinced, though. Some consultants wonder whether recruiters have the time or the patience to watch video resumes. And there are concerns about potential discriminatory practices as videos more readily reveal personal characteristics - one reason why companies stopped accepting photos with resumes years ago.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautions that new technology job tools could lead to unintentional race or color discrimination or leave a disproportionate number of applicants who may not have access to such technology out of the process.

"It's a flash in the pan," said Ryan C. Money, founder and chief executive officer of HireVue.com, a provider of video interviewing services.

Recruiters are time-sensitive and it's unrealistic to "think that they have the time to watch a five-minute video resume when they traditionally take 10 seconds to look at a paper resume," Money said.

HireVue.com considered adding video resume services but decided against the idea, Money said. Unlike paper resumes, there are no guidelines or standardization for video resumes, he said. Examples of video clips range in length, style and substance.

Bill Wiseley, director of client relations for Xsell Resources, an information technology staffing firm in Willow Grove, Pa., said clients are not asking for video resumes, nor are job candidates submitting them.

"We're going to wait it out to see if video resumes become a game-changing trend in all industries," Wiseley said. "It's still 99.9 percent paper resumes."

Yet, that is not stopping job candidates, particularly young ones, from posting their video resumes on YouTube (a recent search of "resume" found more than 5,000 results) and social networking sites like MySpace. A number of job-posting sites like Jobster.com, CollegeGrad.com and Workblast.com have added video resume service for candidates in recent months.

And CareerBuilder.com, one of the biggest employment sites, recently announced that it would add a video resume service by later this month. (Tribune Co., parent of The Sun, partly owns CareerBuilder.com.) Monster.com said in a statement that it's exploring a similar tool.

Some career counselors at graduate business schools are cautioning MBA students about the pitfalls of video resumes. Although traditional resumes have been accessible on the Web for years, most of them are typical in style and format. But personal curiosity among applicants and recruiters alike is drawing eyeballs to video resumes on the Web.

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