The Pros and Cons of a Video Resume

The Pros and Cons of a Video Resume was originally published on

The Pros and Cons of a Video Resume

A video resume is a high risk / high reward job search tactic.

It is a supplemental approach that is increasingly welcomed by major employers (many of whom use video questions as part of their screening process). Video will never replace the resume, but it can be a worthy medium for a career story if done right.

Some video resumes are produced as a 1-3 minute “short” elevator pitch, while others are created to answer specific questions. The question-led video resume can be effective, as the hiring manager can select from the answers that interest them. A great video resume should answer the following question:

“What would my future boss want to know about me?”

Not: “what do I want to tell them?”

If you create your video resume from the point of view of a curious hiring manager, you have a chance of capturing their interest.

Let’s now have a look at the opportunities and challenges as well as the more practical questions of creation and distribution:

Opportunities with a video resume

Your future boss can meet you. Albeit virtually. In a remote world filled with virtual meetings, we are conditioned to meeting people on a screen. The proliferation of video resume software attests to the fact that this is an increasingly acceptable medium within any job search. People will watch it, but you need to ensure that you ace the content.

You can bring your personality to the table. One of the challenges of a resume is that you need to somehow include aspects of your personality. While video is still a somewhat forced medium, at least you can stare into the lens and “be yourself.” There should be zero acting involved. If your future employer thinks that they are hiring someone else, at least one of you risks disappointment.

Great for people-facing occupations. Where personality and influencing skills are paramount, a brief video resume can give a future boss a taste of your charisma. Our visually obsessed brains will remember even a minute of compelling video, so if you back yourself as a people-person, a video resume could offer you that crucial advantage. It shows that you value making a personal connection.

Challenges of a video resume

A poor video can overshadow an amazing career. If the production or content of the video misses the mark, the resultant judgement can stay with a hiring manager for the rest of the process. If you think that they are going to invite you to an interview anyway, do not send the video unless it is top quality. It should pass the “you would show your worst critic” test.

Difficult to tailor the content. Deciding which details of your career story to include in a video resume is challenging. While you can tailor your resume for each role to include or omit certain details, it is impossible to shoot a fresh video for each role. If you consider the number of outtakes that you have to perfect those 2-3 minutes, coming up with a video tailored to each role 15-20 times a month is a big ask.

You dictate the conversation. You might think that telling a hiring manager everything that you want to about your application is a good thing, but if they need to wade through 3 minutes of video resume to get to the snippet of information that they are interested in, you risk them switching off after the first 30 seconds. A resume lets them seek out the information that the need – quickly and efficiently.

A video resume simply may not be accepted. Few employers will ask for a standalone video resume (outside of the normal videoed Q&A session) and there are two reasons why it may not be viewed at all. Firstly, the ATS software may not recognize the format and let it fall into the recruitment black hole. Secondly, some employers wish to create equal recruitment opportunities (bias and diversity), so video may be seen as an unwelcome influence.

How do I write a video resume?

Creating a video resume is obviously incredibly complicated (we recommend the following in-depth article on the topic), but here are a few core guidelines to get you thinking:

  • Write a script, shoot a test video resume, get feedback, then edit the script.
  • Get the right equipment or use widely available video interview apps.
  • Think carefully about attire and background – choices will be noticed.
  • Film as many takes as you need – you won’t get it right first (or fifth) time.
  • Consider including visual elements into the video – snapshots from your career.
  • Use the best possible video editing software. Avoid music or other special effects.
  • Include an online resource_location to both your full resume and your resource_locationedIn profile at the end.

Video resume distribution

Some candidates submit a standard resume and cover letter and then have a supplemental video resume ready to go if they are successfully invited to an interview. As mentioned above, there are risks involved when you send an unsolicited video. Submitting a video to an already interested hiring manager before you meet them in person is a way to break the ice and tee up some topics for further discussion during the interview.

A popular option is to include the video resume on social media channels. If you are asking a contact to recommend you to a connection, a video is easy to view on a mobile device and will likely be opened more readily than a resume. The potential future boss can then open your resource_locationedIn profile and away you go. Ask people to share your video – if it is a quality production, you never know what might come of it.

Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact "resume rules" employers look for. Easy to use and done within minutes!