Tip

Video resume nice, but probably won't land you CIO job

Nathaniel Briggs wasn't particularly surprised that the video resumé he posted on YouTube -- an almost afterthought bid for a CIO job -- didn't get him anywhere.

Seven months later he's still trying to land a CIO gig, albeit through more traditional recruiting channels. He's had some luck and said he is up for a spot in the health care industry.

But Briggs, who at 34 is a self-described "young CIO," doesn't think his two YouTube videos were missteps. Risky? Maybe. But he wasn't

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the first to sell himself on video and he doesn't think he'll be the last.

"You've got the infrastructure being created," the Scottsdale, Ariz., resident said. "You've got all these different factors that point to more use of video, more integration of video."

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YouTube is massive. The generation that grew up with online video is entering the workforce. Forrester Research Inc. in March noted that videoconferencing may see a nudge forward as technology improves and companies consider "green" initiatives. And that all should eventually coalesce, Briggs said, into more acceptance for an employment pitch that doesn't come on paper.

"That's going to become a communication pathway that is sort of like online dating, [which] 10, 15 years ago was scoffed at and now it's a standard," he said.

Briggs didn't get any bites from his video resumés. He made two, one more formal than the other. He posted them to YouTube and let it go from there.

The more proper one finds Briggs in a blue button-up shirt with no tie against a blue background. It is nearly two minutes long. In the video, Briggs mentions a "long, natural experience of solving problems through logic." He details his career successes -- 14 months as CIO at GPS tracking unit seller DirectTrack LLC -- and places the Web address to his written resumé across the screen.

"Nathaniel Adam Briggs," he finishes. "A powerful, effective and results-driven CIO."

The second video is busier. Wearing a red shirt and adopting a more informal tone, Briggs ends up pointing at the camera and making jokes, even using the word "damn" at one point.

"The video -- you're really putting yourself out there for judgment, which could be a real weakness," Briggs said. "You're not able to gauge the audience. You're putting a lot out there."

Briggs said he really believes there will one day be value to the video resumé. As a CIO, he would give serious thought to hiring someone who applied by video, he said, provided the video was good and showed that person had a passion for IT work.

But the pragmatist in him knows his is unlikely to go anywhere. And he knows he's already working in a tough field. Despite working in IT his entire adult life, Briggs is getting by as a consultant right now while he works on his one-man startup, eGenerations.com.

"It's a really small list, and the competition is pretty damn stiff," he said. "You've got some people with unbelievable backgrounds."

Martha Heller, an executive recruiter at Z Resource Group Inc. in Westborough, Mass., said she has never had a hiring committee ask her for video resumés. And she's never handled them herself. That said, the idea isn't completely wild, but job seekers should be careful, she said.

"I would really caution anybody who's considering using a video resumé on their search. They have to know the full gamut of the potential audience for this resumé, depending on the company," she said.

Once you put
it out there anybody can look at it.

Martha Heller
executive recruiterZ Resource Group Inc.
"Once you put it out there anybody can look at it and these Web 2.0 tools are being adopted at different rates by different organizations."

Heller said one of the trickiest things about a video resumé is being sure not a single person who takes part in the hiring process will be turned off by it. Sure, she said, a future boss may think video clips are a great idea. But will the human resources staffer who first receives it? Will an entire hiring committee?

"It is rare, when I sit with an entire interview committee, that you find everybody on exactly the same page on what is needed and exactly on the same page with their own use of these new tools," Heller said.

That said, in exactly the right situation -- and there will be more as more people take to Web 2.0 technologies -- the video resumé may be the differentiator that gets a person hired.

"Most people hiring technologists are looking for somebody who is a passionate user of new technologies, particularly, for example, if you are hiring for positions in the digital media world," she said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Zach Church, News Writer


This was first published in July 2008

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