Hot New Career Trend: Video Résumés

Chris Dixon wants to be an economist. But even in today's improved job market, college seniors need to find ways to stand out. So Dixon, 22, who graduates from the University of Central Florida this June, figured he needed something that would make potential employers remember him. Instead of typing up a traditional résumé, Dixon decided to go Hollywood and shoot a video version with the help of one of a handful of companies that are turning résumés into indie productions. "It gives me the edge I was looking for to stand out from the competition," Dixon says.

Video résumés may be the next big thing for tech-savvy college students trying to land their first jobs. Already, companies like MyPersonalBroadcast.com, TVResume.com and TheEdgeVideoResume.comare offering services that range from simple video storage on the Web to full production—including a script tailored to your curriculum vitae and advice on your job hunt.

Employers say would-be film stars should proceed with caution. John Dooney, a spokesman for the Society for Human Resources Management, says video résumés can work well for positions that require creativity, like those in the arts or advertising. But for jobs in finance or administration, he says, "I'm not sure how much value they add." And there's the risk of online infamy. Last fall a Yale undergrad sent a video résumé to a Wall Street firm, showcasing his abilities in bodybuilding, karate and ballroom dancing. It wound up being mocked on YouTube.

How do you prevent ridicule? Keep the video short and to the point—no longer than two or three minutes. Speak in bullet points to avoid rambling. "Tell them directly who you are, why you are interested in the position and what you can do for the company," says Irene Dickey, who lectures on marketing and technology at the University of Dayton.

Because video résumés are new, they're still risky. For now, a better way may be to send a written résumé with links to your blog, podcast or a Web site with writing samples, if they're relevant. "Mentioning these on your résumé shows employers your interest in that field," says Dickey. And that's a wrap.

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