While numerous reports of disappointing job growth and the inability of college graduates to obtain meaningful, i.e. high paying, jobs seem to portend a bleak employment outlook, a recent Forbes article suggests that job seekers may need to polish their screen presence. Traditionally, job seekers have relied upon that all important resume to gain access to the employer via a face-to-face interview. More and more, however, employers are seeking the candidate who not only looks good on paper but whose looks are good as well.
Technological advances have ushered in creative ways to sell oneself including info graphics and video resumes that allow employers to expand their applicant pools and to get a good “look” at applicants before deciding to bring them in for the interview. According to Rezscore, a company that uses algorithms to aid job seekers in the creation of the most effective resumes, the resume itself has an interesting history.
The first resume, it seems, was written by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1482. By 1950, resumes became an expected part of any self-respecting job search and around 2007, resumes, which have become increasingly more interactive, began to surface in video form on YouTube. While some baby boomers may not be fully onboard, video resumes, like Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, may be here to stay.
A video resume is a short video filmed by job seekers and designed to give prospective employers a sense of the applicants’ personality, confidence and presence. The video resume is not intended to replace the paper document but instead it is meant to supplement the resume by providing a visual that cannot be gained from paper. Some companies that use videos as part of their recruitment processes have stated that they are able to tell if a candidate would be a good “fit.” Critics of video resumes suggest that video resumes just give employers more opportunity to discriminate.
Proponents suggest that discrimination already occurs during the screening and interview processes and having the opportunity to actually see candidates may or may not increase the incidence of discrimination. In any case, video resumes may be the future cornerstone of the prospective employers recruitment strategies. That being the case, many job seekers would do well to strive for the screen presence needed to stand out from the crowd.
According to Forbes writer William Arruda, there are some things applicants can do to really shine. It is important for applicants to ensure that they are comfortable with the technology used. It is also a good idea to make sure that the prospective employee is dressed professionally and that the surroundings do not distract the viewer from concentrating on the applicant.
He also recommends practice, practice and more practice. Knowing how to look directly at the camera gives the illusion of eye contact, and being as genuine as possible goes a long way towards preventing the recruiter from clicking off. Similarly, submitting a video that makes the applicant seem stiff, silly or unprofessional, as in a sloppily put-together attempt, can do more harm than good.
As for content, guest blogger for Rezscore Robin Ganek offers these tips for delivering a 30-second elevator speech that could also work well for a video resume. She suggests one statement that sums up past achievements and showcases the applicant’s unique talent or passion. For the second statement, her advice is to say something that demonstrates ambition, i.e. the desire to do even more in that particular arena.
While some may balk at the prospect of speaking into a camera in order to get a foot in the door, video resumes may be here to stay. Video resumes allow employers to cross geographic lines that may not have been possible just a few years ago. They also allow employers to make decisions based on the applicants physical appearance, their communication style and their demeanor that just are not possible to make based on reading a resume. For some applicants this may be good news. Other job seekers might need to take advantage of the numerous services available to help create video resumes, polish up their screen presence, get out the old video camera and yell, “Lights, Camera and Action!”
By Constance Spruill