Video Resumes in the Job-Search Toolbox

Here’s how one company takes a multimedia approach to personal branding.


A few years ago, the idea of posting a video highlighting your professional and academic achievements online was regarded as a novelty. Some job seekers tried it, but they risked public scorn.

Aleksey Vayner was perhaps the best-known poster child for video resumes gone wild. Created in 2007, Vayner’s seven-minute self-promotion for a job at an investment bank featured the Yale student displaying his nimble ballroom footwork and his ability to slice seven bricks with a single karate chop. The video was leaked to YouTube and quickly became an unintentional Internet comedy sensation.

Now, many hiring professionals consider the video resume to be a plausible recruiting tool. A search on YouTube for “video resume” produces nearly 13,000 results. Some are slick and well produced; most are clearly homemade efforts with low production value.

videoBIO is one company that has capitalized on this corner of personal branding. It develops short, Web-based video biographies that use a script, are shot in a studio and professionally edited. Most of videoBIO’s videos are shot for executives and entrepreneurs, but increasingly for job seekers. “Usually the people that come to us are professionals,” said Catherine Fennell, CEO of videoBIO, based in New York with offices in a number of large cities internationally. “They care very much about their professional reputation. They want a slick, clean, professional message… to come across as accessible and as personable as possible.”

Show your colors

When a client contacts videoBIO, preparation begins long before the day of shooting. The subject receives a producer, who begins to work on a script, Fennell said. “We encourage people to think about what they want to say and to establish a key message framework.”

Once in the studio, the videoBIO team aims to keep people unfamiliar with being on camera calm, cool and collected. The script is available on a monitor, but it is there only to add comfort, Fennel said. The shoot takes on the feel of an interview with the subject talking to the producer. Eventually, the conversation teases out the information in the script, she said.

“You need to be authentic,” she said. “If you are a fan of purple and you love purple suits, then we would really encourage you to wear one. This is really not about trickery. While we are focused on making you look like a superstar, we are also not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

videoBIO employs a white background for most videos. “The star of the video bio is the person talking,” she said. “So we try to take the backdrop away and all the business around it. We really like the clean format because it takes out all of those distractions.” A variety of different video formats or ‘enhancements,’ including spliced-in B-roll and on-site interviews, are also available.

No attachments

Thinking of sending a video resume as an attachment with your resume and cover letter? Not a good idea, Fennel said.

“I am not going to send an attachment file. I am never going to send a disc to a hiring manager – that is really old school.”

Instead the finished product is delivered to the client within a few days as a QuickTime file or as a hosted videoBIO link ( name here ) that can live in an e-mail signature or on a resume. The emphasis is on formats that are easy to share. Clients can also use an embed code to place a YouTube like player in a document, e-mail signature, Web page or LinkedIn profile.

Not all recruiters are used to receiving video resumes, but eventually the video resume will be a standard, Fennell said. “It is just a matter of how long it takes.”