Résumés in Motion

While traditional work histories still rule, the day may not be far off when video pitches become a standard supplement.
by Francesca Di Megliofrom Newsweek
A keyword search of “résumé” on the online video site YouTube turns up 5,180 results, including videos of everything from someone breaking into his boss’s office to a young person who plays the piano and sings his own praises in the hopes of launching a career in public relations. With all the buzz around video résumés, the B-school student seeking that post-MBA job might think the paper résumé—or its online equivalent—is dead. But at least for this year’s class of grads, the message is “think again”.
Many career-placement directors at top B-schools are telling their students to steer clear of video altogether for now. The reason? While the YouTube generation—the so-called “Millennials” who were born after 1981—might be embracing video résumés, it’s the Baby Boomers who are still doing most of the hiring. “Boomers aren’t going to watch them”, says Everette Fortner, director of career development at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.
Business school career counselors are also wary because of the unprofessional tone of some videos. In the fall of 2006, Yale student Aleksey Vayner sent his video résumé, called “Impossible is Nothing,” to investment bank UBS, and the video quickly found its way to YouTube, where it was mocked, spoofed, and made Vayner the laughing-stock of Wall Street. The lengthy video, which had Vayner waxing poetic about life, breaking bricks with his hands, and dancing with a half-dressed woman, became the epitome of how not to do a video résumé. It has led some people—especially those in B-school—to shy away from the medium entirely.
A Sense of Presence
One of the résumés on YouTube belongs to Allen Ulbricht, a 2003 graduate of Georgia Tech’s undergraduate management program, whose video has him dressed in business casual attire and responding—as naturally as possible—to likely questions for a Web 2.0 gig to which he was applying in December, 2006.
Now the owner of Real Nice Software, which creates custom software for small businesses, Ulbricht says he pulled himself out of the running for the job but is sure his video, an adjunct to his traditional online résumé, would have given him a leg up on the competition. Video will become an expected part of the job application, says Ulbricht, even if it will never replace traditional, written résumés.
Still in their infancy, video résumés have caught on with the creative and with other young people who want to show off their skills—either because of the visual impact or to make up for lack of work experience. “Video résumés animate a job seeker in ways that traditional paper media can’t”, says Mark Oldman, co-president of the career site Vault.com in New York. “You can really get a sense of one’s professional presence, poise, enthusiasm, and passion”.