Video Resumes: Are They for You?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But would a so-called video resume by another name be on the tips of our collective tongues? Let’s examine this phenomenon and see if we can make heads and/or tails of it, shall we?

First, let’s look at the name. It’s not, in fact, a resume. A resume outlines your past work experience and job qualifications. What we’re talking about is a recorded elevator pitch; a chance for you to put on your best interview outfit and try to be impressive while not looking self-conscious. And this is a best-case scenario. (Worst-case would be a video of you reading your resume.) To discover the origins of the video resume, you’ll have to take a trip with me – back to before there were blogs; to a dark time. It was a time that I first arrived in New York with the big dreams of making it on Broadway. I always stuck with stage work rather than on-camera, but I had plenty of friends who did TV and film work. Know what they all had? Video resumes. Except back then, we called them “reels.” They were video clips strung together with pieces of work taken from actual TV shows/movies/commercials that they had done, mixed in with audition pieces specifically selected for the roles or jobs they were trying to get. For actors, the video resume was and continues to be a great tool.

“But Dave, I’m not an actor. Should I have a video resume?”

Let’s say you’re a financial analyst. Will a video resume tell me as much or more about you than a traditional resume? Nope. Even if you were to create an advanced spreadsheet (with pivot tables!) in real-time on camera it probably wouldn’t help your chances much (but it might well go “viral” among the HR set.) What if you’re a writer? Nope. I don’t really want to see you read from your selected works. Marketing Director? No again. HR Manager? Please no.

Salesperson? Aha! I believe we’ve stumbled upon the one area for which video resumes might actually catch on! If you present for a living, you might want to have a video resume in your bag of tricks. If I see your resume, like it, and see that you’ve attached a link to your video resume, I might actually click to see if you’ve got the goods. If you can sell yourself into an interview, you have a shot. If you can’t sell yourself, then how are you going to sell my product? Either way, you’ve probably just saved me some time. So thanks in advance. Oh, and if you decide to do a video resume please make it look professional. Just like you wouldn’t want to distribute a hand-written resume, you don’t want a video representation of yourself to look like it was done with a flip camera or a phone.

In my opinion, the video resume is never going to catch on in a major way. Employers, and especially HR people, are going to continue to shy away because of the legal implications (video resumes, like pictures on resumes, can open the door to all kinds of discrimination complaints based on ethnicity, age, gender, etc.) So for all the marketing dollars that these video resume companies are putting into making you believe you can’t get a job without one, you’re better off putting that time and effort into making sure your traditional resume is the best marketing tool it can be.

Do you have a success story to tell about your video resume? Have an opinion on them? I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments/questions below. Or email me at


3 thoughts on “Video Resumes: Are They for You?

    1. I don’t see a time in the near future when companies will start developing new application systems for the purpose of video resumes. First there are the legal implications which I mentioned. Second, accepting video attachment files can quickly eat up storage space.

      Most of the video resumes I’ve seen are housed on the web, and candidates send a link so that an interested recruiter or hiring manager can view the video on the site where it’s housed.

  1. I have a (maybe) stupid question…for Conde, do I set up an account on the website CondeNastCareers to be considered for an informational or is there another process?

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