The Ultimate Exercise In Personal Branding

14 12 2011

What do you bring to the table?

With the state of the economy and the current unemployment rate, this job hunt hasn’t been as easy as expected for a recent MBA graduate. I’ve always envisioned myself thriving in a creative marketing environment, but my traditional .doc resume and cover letter weren’t getting through to potential employers.

I came to the conclusion that to prove I could make it in a creative environment, I needed to take a creative approach to find the right job. So I embarked on the ultimate exercise in personal branding and developed a video resume. After all if I’m going to be an effective marketer, I have to at least be able to market myself, right?

The Process

First, I needed to ask myself what do I bring to the table? Why should an employer hire me? I know I have a lot to offer an employer, but I wasn’t even getting a chance to plead my case in an interview. However, by creating a video resume I was able to offer a potential employer a glimpse of my experience and my personality. Essentially, I was giving them a preview of how I would fit into the office culture.

All-in-all, the video took me about 2 weeks to produce. Keep in mind I had no prior video editing experience nor any sort of professional equipment or software. I simply used the webcam on my Macbook Pro to shoot the video and iMovie to edit the footage. A lot of time was spent reshooting the video based on feedback from friends and learning how to actually use the iMovie software. The video quality isn’t the best, but I believe there’s a little charm in the low budget feel to the clip (sort of like an indie film).

Recommendations

While I’m not an expert on the subject, I can offer some suggestions to anyone looking to create a video for the purpose of personal branding.

1. A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure you have some images to illustrate your point. Images will help a potential employer visualize your accomplishments. I used images to hide the transitions because I recorded my video in segments.
2.  Time is money. Many recruiters have to sift through hundreds of resumes just for one job opening. AKA they don’t have a lot of time, so highlight some of your key accomplishments and wrap it up. My video is roughly two and a half minutes.
3. Engage, engage, engage. The clip must be engaging. If you’re just reading your resume from a piece of paper there’s no point in creating it in the first place. The idea is to bring your prior experience to life and to introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through a bit.
4. Music is good. Some well placed music in the background can help liven up your video. I went with the instrumental to a song called Be by Common because it’s upbeat and inspirational.
5. Make life easy. Upload your video to a site like YouTube or Vimeo to make it easier on an employer. Chances are they won’t want to download a file to their computer for fear of getting a virus. Providing them with a simple link to click to a trusted site like YouTube will give your video a better chance to be seen.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” 

In conclusion, when the traditional way of doing things isn’t working, sometimes you need to take a different approach. I realize my video resume isn’t going to be for everyone, but at the very least it’s going to get someone’s attention.

The Final Product

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2 responses

18 01 2012
T Abedin

I would like to know what type of response you have had since you have made the video resume available to the employers. Have you been successful yet in landing that job?

23 01 2012
jeffwalsh

The response has been great. I’ve been on quite a few interviews where they specifically cited the video resume as the main reason for interviewing me.

And yes, I have since landed a job. Thanks for asking.

Good Luck!

-Jeff

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