College to Career Transition: Paper Resume Vs Video Resume?


There has been rising controversy about the use of video resumes versus the paper resume. For sure, the importance of having an effective resume cannot be overemphasized. In the recent past, it’s been known that most ‘experts’ advice that your resume be as concise as possible.

On the contrary, I say GO FOR THE KILL.

You have to do ‘extraordinary’ things to get ‘out of the norm’ results. So please include all relevant experience you have when applying for a job. Just make sure it is appealing, readable, and transitions well.

While some people argue that encouraging too much detail in a resume might make a candidate seem over qualified, or result in the listing of irrelevant ‘stuff’ for certain jobs, I think that’s nonsense. With the recession still hovering around, (and companies being as capitalists as ever) I believe that employers will rather hire someone with a multifaceted experience than hire different people to do the same job. Don’t believe the 90’s hype!

Very recently, a newer form of introducing one’s self to employers is via the use of video resumes. Video resumes had previously been used frequently by artists and the likes to audition for roles etc, and while its use is  still not currently very popular, it is gradually gaining traction. In fact traditional recruiters and experts still advice against it because they believe paper resumes are more effective. However, I think they do distinguish an applicant very quickly.

In using a video resume, there are pitfalls one should be aware of. These are:

  • The tendency to veer off topic
  • Be over the top
  • Be too long
  • Be boring
  • Encourage employer discrimination

These are all qualities that your paper resume may not show (except for being too long and in some cases employer discrimination) until your interview.

So in attempting to use a video resume, I’d advise to send both paper and video resumes separately to increase your chances of being reviewed.  Also make sure that your resume is relevant, contains the key points on your resume, and is just long enough to entice but sell yourself to your potential employer.

If one decided to try the video resume, here are some tips to keep in mind;

  1. Be concise: Keep it as simple as possible. Ideally, your video resume should not exceed 35-45secs. Introduce yourself, highlight your tangible experiences relevant to what you are applying for, and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Very few pop ups or lists can help highlight what is not said like skills, contact information (should be at beginning and/or end), etc.
  2. Clarity: Do not beat around the bush. Use employer’s keywords to enhance your pitch and briefly explain why you should be the preferred candidate.
  3. Presentation: Your appearance and environment matters. Record over neutral backgrounds, and make sure there is nothing in the background that might pose a distraction. You want to be the focus at all times.
  4. Attitude, Mood and Body Language: Be pleasant but not a clown. Be professional but not rigid (too serious). Be mindful of not just your speech, but that of your body’s as well. People are attracted to positive energy, pleasing personalities and confident posture. Smile, be energetic and try to minimize the transitional ‘uhms’ and ‘wells’, as well as any exhibition of nervousness. Hence, practice, rehearse, and practice again before recording. Also try different takes and ask for different opinions.
  5. Be Company-Specific: Just like your cover letter, you do not want your employer to think that you are using a general video resume for several applications. Specifically address your audience, which means mention the company you are sending your resume to, so that your recruiters think the video was specially done for them. It makes a difference.

Thus, while some experts will campaign for the exclusive use of paper resume, I say use Both! There’s no harm in increasing your chances of being seen. You can also find out what a Company’s resume policies are ahead of time, otherwise, use both.

As a recruiter, I use video resumes to complement paper resumes. At other times, I value video resumes over paper ones because they show gut, initiative, and boldness from an applicant. These are all qualities that I might need for certain positions, and having a video resume saves me the hassle of not interviewing people who I otherwise might have called based on what’s just hiding behind text.

Leave me your comments about your take on the paper versus video resumes. I’d like to know what you think. Also check out the other parts of this College to Career Transition Series.

Chike Ukaegbu
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3 Responses to College to Career Transition: Paper Resume Vs Video Resume?

  1. Pingback: College To Career Transition: The Relevance of Past Work Experience to Your Job Search | chikeukaegbu

  2. Pingback: College to Career Transition: How To Proactively Secure Your Dream Job | chikeukaegbu

  3. Pingback: College To Career Transition: How to Successfully Navigate The Job Market (Job Application) | chikeukaegbu

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