Your Video Resume: Don't Be Dave!

If you think video resumes are a good idea, check out Dave's Awesome Video Resume, the first in the "Don't Be Dave" series of videos on how NOT to conduct a successful job search. This hilarious spoof on video resumes, courtesy of Pongo Resume, features fictitious job seeker Dave Hetherington, who makes every possible mistake a job seeker can make when crafting a video resume.

As I watched the video, I quickly recognized how many of these same mistakes are made on the traditional resumes that land on hiring managers' desks every day. Here are my top nine and recommendations for quick fixes.

1. The Mystery Professional.

Dave claims he can be anything to any employer. But he never tells his audience what his professional identity is. Many of the resumes I read don't explain this either. Often they lead with the chronology or education sections without any "teaser" for what's in store.

The fix: Include a professional headline at the top of the resume explaining what you do. No one has time to guess.

2. The Jack of All Trades.

According to Dave, he "mostly works with children and computers" Which one is it? Having multiple targets on one resume is confusing. Employers want to know that you have strong skills in the areas that are important to them.

The fix: Don't mention irrelevant skills; they generally won't score you any extra points.

3. The Motivated Team Player.

Dave manages to rattle off every personal attribute he can think of. He claims he's dependable, motivated and all the other "fluff" words job seekers continue to include on their resumes. Without any proof of these attributes, these words are meaningless.

The fix: If working on a team is critical to the job you do, give the employer an example of when you did this successfully. If you are a strong communicator, prove how you influenced someone to your way of thinking. Just because you say something, doesn't make it true. You have to prove your competencies to any employer in order to be seen as a credible applicant.

4. The Task Master.

Dave talks about some of his skills (sort of) yet he never explains what he has achieved or the value he has created within the organizations he has supported. When you are up against hundreds of applicants with similar skills, you are unlikely to stand out by just talking about stuff you do. Your job tasks are not unique.

The fix: Highlight the way you execute on those job tasks -- that is what differentiates you and makes you successful.

5. The Time Warp.

Dave proudly claims that he is proficient in Works and Windows 98.

The fix: Don't bring it up. If your technology skills are not current, don't think that mentioning outdated software will help your case.

6. The Bore.

Dave's video resume is close to two minutes. Since most hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds viewing a resume, the chances of a hiring manager sitting through the whole thing are slim to none.

The fix: Keep it short. If you can't capture your audience within the first few seconds, you will never capture them. The same is true of traditional resumes.

7. The Contextual Train Wreck.

Dave says, "smart, capable, motivated, and good looking -- I'm those five things." Luckily, Dave didn't list accuracy as one of his top skills!

The fix: Always proofread your resume and make sure everything is consistent and makes sense within the context of the resume.

8. The Slob.

I don't know where Dave is sending his video resume, but my guess is the employer may have taken him more seriously if he had gotten a haircut and trimmed his beard before making the video resume.

The fix: Even with a traditional resume, neatness counts. Before interviews, print your resume on high-quality resume paper.

9. The Cheese Doodle.

Dave's presentation is just plain cheesy. He is a classic cliche and uses goofball analogies and visuals to try to sell his candidacy. Sometimes people do the same thing with traditional resumes. My favorite story about a cheesy applicant was someone who sent their resume in a shoe with a note that said, "looking to get a foot in the door of your company."

The fix: Focus on facts and value, and hold the cheese.

Pongo Resume's clever video reminds job seekers that gimmicks are not the way to land a job. A well-written resume that targets the employer's needs, communicates value and demonstrates enthusiasm for the job is still the best way to stand out in a job search.

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