Video is the new Black. Right? I mean when you see that “play button” triangle, aren’t you just compelled to click it?

Video is the highest online activity, according to Pew International’s recent report. No wonder we are seeing so many video résumés these days.

In fact, I did a search for “video résumé” on Youtube and got 14,600 results!

Most of them SUCK!

Let’s think about this for a second. If a résumé  does a horrible job communicating personality, why would you think reading your résumé on camera would be any better?

Most video résumés are bland, and have no narrative quality, no drama, and zero entertainment factor.

The sad part is, all the tutorials on how to do an online résumé want you to read your paper résumé looking at the camera, with a suit and tie in monotone voice.

It’s like we forgot what makes good film interesting; factors like drama, narrative, characters and visual effects. The film industry has it down to a formula — haven’t you noticed that most of the movies that came out last year were all identical? (just kidding, there were actually some really great films this year … but still.)

Why do we think being professional means having no personality?

The following are the top 3 mistakes video résumés make and what you can do differently.

Video Résumé Mistake 1: Read Your Résumé to the Camera

This is the most common video résumé mistake – boring. Remember in your creative writing class, when they told you, “Show it, don’t tell it”?

Video gives you so much opportunity to show and demonstrate who you are. I mean, you may or may not be handsome or pretty and all that, but people want to see and experience when they watch a video. If you wear your suit and begin rattling off your past experiences, don’t expect people to watch longer than 10 or 20 seconds. HR professionals are busy people.


  • Use drama to hook them right away. This one is funny — not very professional but full of drama, Ray’s Résumé
  • Use video testimonials from past bosses or old co-workers for social proof
  • Show footage of your old company’s offices, websites or products to visually represent your experiences
  • Don’t just tell them about it — be creative and find a way to demonstrate what you do well. One of my favorite examples of this:  Pizza Hut Résumé

Video Résumé Mistake 2: Ignore Your Personality

Your personality is going to be one of the ONLY things that differentiate you in today’s “employer’s market.” Believe me, there will always be someone more experienced, more educated, and more qualified than you. But there will never be another you.

Stare at the camera and rattle on about your education and you’ll be shut down FAST.


  • Focus on character development, Ben’s Résumé focuses on personality up front
  • How does your video image tie into your brand? Guatam’s Résumé is in black & white, and remains professional,  yet manages to communicate why he is different from everyone else.
  • Here’s a perfect example of PERSONALITY:  How Geeks Look for Work

Video Résumé Mistake 3: Single Shot

Most video résumés are single shot and single take, even though most computers these days come with free video editing software (yes, even Windows comes with this stuff these days).

Film is supposed to be visually interesting, so even if you don’t want to use a soundtrack, you should at least use a B-Roll. B-roll is when you cut away to another image to create a sense of transition, and more practically to cover up a bad take.


  • Film your résumé in at least two locations and cut between both on the final product
  • Don’t be afraid to use headlines and subtitles in the film to create context and transition
  • Vary your costume and setting to create an illusion of the passing of time

Just Do It

Chances are you are not going to get it right the first time. Most people take the easy way out, put on a suit and tie, stare at the camera, and read. This is a cop-out. Put some effort into your video presentation.

Your first results may be terrible. But keep trying.

My friend and fellow Social Media Trainer Laura Roeder is fond of saying that if you are comfortable on film, then practice getting better. If you are not comfortable, then practice getting comfortable.

If you are inspired to start your video résumé, I’d love to see! Please send me the link in the comments below.