Friday, January 21, 2011

Beyond LinkedIn — Creative Ways to Land a New Job

There was a time when careers advisors would warn jobseekers against printing their resumes on pink paper, using strange fonts or including pictures to make their names stand out in the pile. It was enough to have good skills, solid results and a persuasive cover letter to grab attention, they would say. The rest was up to the interview. Not any more. In an age of almost 10 percent unemployment, LinkedIn profiles, job sites and social media, tech-savvy jobseekers are using all their skills to grab attention and win an interview.
YouTube is for Lolcats and Video Resumes
It worked for Justin Bieber, and for countless other amateur music stars who shot footage of themselves singing into the vacuum cleaner, uploaded it to the Web’s biggest video site and found a record contract and a new career waiting in their comments. Almost. But these things are rare. The more usual route, even for bands, is to build an audience on the pub or student circuit then watch bootlegged versions of their gigs appear on the site once they’ve made it. For people looking for jobs whose descriptions don’t include bad haircuts or television-tossing though, video resumes are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to Word docs and PDFs. Search on the site for “video resumes” and you’ll be offered a list of more than 235,000 results, including both resumes themselves and guides from “experts” explaining what to include and how to make a good impression.

And for some people, it seems to work. When Graeme Anthony began searching for a job with a PR company in England he uploaded a video that showed himself sitting at a table with a guitar in the background. Having introduced himself, he then invited viewers to click through to other parts of his resume, with the clicks leading to new, more detailed clips. It was all well done, very professional and won him a job with a PR company.
But not all video resumes are that well done. Too many look dull and lifeless, with little to offer the viewer but an audio speech. While written resumes needed very little writing skills, the best video resumes need some pretty keen awareness of video editing — and of copyright too.
If the technical challenge of creating a video resume isn’t a big enough hurdle, there are also a couple more.  The resume has to be seen, first of all. Serious jobseekers can’t expect to upload the story of their life and wait for the offers to pour in. Employers, like everyone else on the site, are looking for lolcats not potential employees. Even Graeme Anthony’s video was unlisted and viewable only by those who had the link. The video might be the resume but you’ll still need a cover letter to persuade people to look at it.
And there’s also the matter of being taken seriously. Some of those 235,000 results for video resumes include some pretty toe-curling spoofs.  You don’t want to look anything like Dave.

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