Why video resumes are the dumbest trend in job search.

A few of you have asked me recently,

Jenny. Should I make a video resume? Will this give me a strategic advantage in my job search?

To which I answer:

No. Unless you are an actress, aspiring supermodel or trying to land a reality TV gig?

Video resumes are just dumb.

And can totally work against your efforts much more than enhance them.

And here is why:

  1. It's hard to do them well. Even if you say worthwhile things, articulate clearly and engage me with your supremely impressive eye contact? If the video quality is even so-so, you will be dinged accordingly.
  2. It messes with standard recruiting processes. Most companies today have very stringent, structured and automated recruitment processes. So unless you're sending that video directly to the hiring manager? That lovely little bit of cinematography may well muck up their process, annoy the HR person receiving it, and reduce the odds that you'll be invited for an interview down to about, oh, zero.
  3. It slows reviewers down and gives them extra work. Most hiring managers view recruiting and interviewing as a necessary evil. They just do. They've got 125 things to get done in their day-to-day lives, and dropping everything to find a new hire is often a real drag. They need to be able to move quickly through the process. Your little commercial? Slows them down and irritates them further. Awesome first impression, no?
  4. They may think your file is spam. Generally speaking, people don't open video files from unknown sources. So unless they enjoy viruses wiping out their hard drives (Most don't, btw)? You may blow your chance for an interview with that fancy schmancy piece of flair.
  5. It may be illegal or against their company policy to even review the thing. You know what EOE is? Equal Opportunity Employer. If you're applying to a company that's serious about EOE, they may not even open it because they're not allowed to make hiring decisions based on race, age, gener or other cultural factors. You put it all out there on video, and they could be in a bit of a legal pickle. Again, not the best way to kick things off with your dream employer.
  6. It's a waste of money. These things aren't so cheap a lot of the time. How much extra money do you have? Not much? Then save what you do have for beer money and bypass the video resume entirely.

Now... I am not saying that having some sort of on-camera presence is stupid across the board. I highly recommend that job seekers set up personal websites (blogs) to build and demonstrate their personal brands. A blog is the perfect place to embed video snippets that showcase your expertise, personality and general awesomeness. And I'll talk more on this very soon.

But video resumes? Yuck. Awful. Useless. Just don't.

Photo: Flickr creative commons: Mr. Beaver