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Why Video Résumés are a BAD Idea

video resume

“First Impressions Video”, “Video Cover Letter”, and “Video Résumé” all sound like creative and unique ways to be remembered by hiring managers. Before you whip out your Sony handheld, have you ever heard of Aleksey Vayner? As a senior at Yale, he created a video résumé entitled, “Impossible is Nothing” for potential investment banker hiring managers, and he never dreamed of the results.

He included clips of his weightlifting expertise, some dance moves that would make Baryshnikov blush (the dance moves – or the outfits – or maybe both), and his own unique diatribe about the ingredients for attaining success in the working world. One of those hiring managers emailed the video to his friends, and from there it went to YouTube, where it instantly went viral.

The media and bloggers everywhere ran the story, thereby making Mr. Vayner’s humiliation total and complete. You might find some YouTube parodies of Mr. Vayner’s video, but the original has long since been removed. Wikipedia and Google have documented Mr. Vayner’s self-absorbed career strategy beyond the video résumé and it makes for an interesting read. A wild and crazy guy for sure.

Besides the video résumé being an ineffective medium for getting a hiring manager’s attention (do you think attractive people might receive a different level of consideration vs. less attractive candidates? Wouldn’t you want to be evaluated on your expertise instead?), Mr. Vayner mistakenly believed that a résumé was about him, and not how his skills, knowledge, and experience could be positioned as the hiring manager’s problem solver.

I think the grammatically incorrect title of the video résumé should have been a clue to its contents – or maybe a warning.

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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

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