Video Résumés Inspire a New Industry: Neo-Creatives
Some helpful tips on taping your (and spelling) curriculum vitae
By Ed Goldman
The story hailed by the headline offered some examples of recent youngish job hunters making it past the hallowed gates of company and consulting HR screeners, and landing positions because of their creative approaches.
Most of the résumés I receive are from people who think my company is a large ad/PR agency (the fact that Goldman Communications has been incorporated since 1985 may be enhancing this mythology, though I’m the entire management and staff).
In short, “creatives” have always been creative. It’s who they are and what they do. Now a new crop of job applicants has sprung up, whom I call neo-creatives.
Not surprisingly, an industry of video résumé producers has come onto the scene. Neo-creatives who were, just a year ago, writing, producing and directing those verrrry local wee-hours TV spots, like for companies such as Doug and Mary’s All-Star Insurance, Wealth Management and Woodshop. (These ads feature not only owners Doug and Mary, but also their triplets Will, Phil and Syl—and, of course, their pet Affenpinscher, Goebbels.)
1. HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR VIDEO RÉSUMÉ BE?
Since no one can agree on the proper length of even a hard-copy, paper résumé—some prescribe a single page, and that may be okay if your previous job was Dictator For Life (which may require security forces but not much explanation)—while some, like the ones assembled by people in academia, show they think a curriculum vitae should be book length and include their junior high school GPA.
A good way to determine the length of your video is to set a kitchen timer, then look into the mirror and start talking about your life. Note the precise moment you start to glaze over and/or visibly slump, then subtract five minutes from that to come up with an acceptable running time. Be aware that this technique won’t work as well if you’re a practiced raconteur, narcissist or filibusterer in training.
2. WHAT ARE THINGS YOU SHOULD BE SURE TO INCLUDE IN YOUR VIDEO RÉSUMÉ?
- Your name;
- Any possible aliases either you or Interpol have routinely employed;
- Your previous position (being sure to say “I worked as a teller” instead of “I did a bank job”—nuance is everything in the world of HR); and
- Reassurance that the interviewer’s grandmother is safe and comfortable and will be returned as soon as an employment contract is signed and a hiring bonus deposited in your credit union “Money Market-Plu$” account.
This is largely a matter of the position you’re seeking. For example, law firms love having their attorneys pictured in front of hard-maple-stained bookshelves containing these essential tomes, according to Oxford Scholastica Academy: “About Law” by Tony Honoré; Lord Denning’s “Landmarks in the Law”; “Letters to a Law Student by Nicholas McBride; and “Learning the Law” by Glanville Williams (the latter with a foreword by his mother explaining why she hated him so much she named him Glanville, which sounds like a village with a lymph node warehouse).
Other backdrops to avoid, depending on the job you’re pursuing, include: (a) a smoky, romantically lamplit saloon if you’re hoping to become a counselor at Alcoholics Anonymous; (b) a visual depicting hyenas feasting in the Serengeti if you plan on volunteering at the SPCA; and (c) a photo of you and your buddies playing a drinking game when applying for work with a bomb disposal unit.
Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).