If you want a little entertainment, you could check out a movie or head to the bookstore. But you might have better luck firing up YouTube to watch the latest crop of video résumés. Since the start of the recession, thousands of unemployed hopefuls have posted clips of themselves wooing imaginary recruiters, and many seem to have gone mad in their quest for a job. They look tired, they look bored, they look angry. They talk about themselves in the third person. And they don’t mind making their private ambitions public. As one candidate told the camera, “I just want to commit my life to, you know, a job that, you know, my life can be committed to.”
Video résumés aren’t new, but as high unemployment drags on, they’re increasingly pitched to job hunters looking to stand out. Colleen Aylward, CEO of video service InterviewStudio.com, says she sees a new competitor launch just about every week. The services are popular with career counselors as well. Todd Lempicke, founder of OptimalResume.com, says more than 260 colleges, libraries and job centers will be offering his video services to their constituents, double the number in 2009.
A video résumé can run you anywhere from $7,000 (for “executive Web portfolio” packages) to $50 (for guided tutorials that have candidates recording presentations with a webcam). And, of course, many folks take the DIY route. When done right, the results can be impressive: It’s a chance to flaunt engaging qualities that a paper CV can’t capture. But more often, the effort goes horribly wrong.