There’s No Such Thing as a Video Resume

A proper video bio that tells your story, and doesn’t simply repeat your resume, requires more than you and a video camera.

By William Arruda and Catharine Fennell

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When you strip away all the basic requirements that are expected in any given role — hard skills and experience — what’s left? Everything that cannot be said in a resume! Yet, ironically, these are the critical personal elements that make the difference in decision making — your soft skills and how you fit within the culture. This is the tipping point that will get a hiring manager to take a second look. They often determine longevity, loyalty, career satisfaction and productivity for employees.

Hiring managers have a hard job. They must review hundreds of resumes to decide whom they would like to interview. It’s challenging to discern soft skills in text format resumes. Even the best-written resume won’t necessarily put your name on the interview list. With about seven qualified candidates for each open position, you need to think beyond the resume to career marketing tools that give you the opportunity to express your personal brand. One job-seeker tool that’s gaining popularity is a video bio. Video gives you the opportunity to convey soft skills like communication style, passion, ideas, demeanor, confidence and personality.

A video bio is not just any video and it’s not a video resume. It is a multimedia tool that’s designed to communicate your story (hence bio) and not simply repeat what’s in your resume. In fact, a video bio is everything that cannot be communicated in your resume. It allows you to share achievements in a storytelling way and helps you stand out from the crowd by making a real connection with your prospective manager. Because words account for approximately 6 percent of a complete communication, your written career marketing tools ( cover letter, resume, thank-you note, etc.) limit your ability to create emotional connections with the people who are making decisions about you. When you combine those traditional career documents with video, you present a holistic view of your candidacy. You need to think of your video bio as an important element in your career marketing package and build a strategy that tells the whole story.

Extract the Best of You

As with all of your career marketing materials, quality trumps quantity. Yet the easy availability of video cameras — Flip videos, iPhones, etc. — gives us the false impression that a video bio is a do-it-yourself project. A great video is tough to do on your own, which is why career-minded professionals are investing in professionally produced, shot and edited video bios with a specific process that’s designed to extract the best of you, your performance and your message. No matter how advanced the technology gets, the formula for the content and direction that goes into the video is what makes a great video.

Here are five tips for getting the most from your video bio:

  1. Start with your personal brand. Know what you want to say and what personality characteristics you want to convey.
  2. Think strategically. Define what you want to include in all of your career marketing materials and ensure that together they tell a clear, complete and compelling story.
  3. Prepare. Just as professional athletes spend hundreds of hours preparing for a few hours of play, the right preparation will ensure the best outcome. Don’t get in front of the camera until you are confident with what you want to say.
  4. Commit to quality. Hire the right resources or work with a one-stop-shop video-bio producer. Ensure the proper audio, lighting, etc., to position yourself in the most positive light.
  5. Spread it everywhere. Upload it to video-sharing sites like Facebook, YouTube, Viddler, TubeMogul and Vimeo. Include a link on your resume, in your LinkedIn profile and on your blog. Use it in your e-mail signature. Tweet your video to your followers.

If you are looking to tune up your resume and define your personal brand, and you are already prepared to invest in resume writers and career coaches, put a video bio on your to-do list. It could be the difference that will get you that much-coveted interview.