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Mideast edition, Sunday, August 5, 2007

Job seekers and technophobes beware. Just when you thought you’d finally figured out how to craft the perfect paper resume, enter its video counterpart.

When you combine widespread Internet usage with today’s user-friendly, high-quality video technology and add a healthy dose of monitor-tethered job seekers from the YouTube and My- Space generation, chances are good that the practice will eventually take its place among the ranks of accepted job search techniques.

Will you be ready? What can you expect? Do you have to run out and purchase a webcam today?

What if you consider yourself technologically savvy if you can control the garage door remote? Do you even stand a chance under those circumstances? The questions go on and on.

Let the answers beginFirst, if you want to be a banker, a lawyer, a civil servant or anything resembling conservative with a capital C, relax. You may not have to be ready anytime soon. Hiring managers in conservative industries usually don’t embrace cutting edge technological practices that haven’t been given the societal tried and true seal of approval.

If, however, your career ambitions lie elsewhere, in, say, any other career field where the murky middle ground is more revered than avoided, then you may find that you are smiling and saying cheese sooner rather than later to get the competitive edge over other equally talented souls.

When that will be, however, is uncertain. The jury is still out on the issue. While some employers welcome the use of video resumes, others are not quite so ready to jump on the silver screen bandwagon.

According to the 2007 Video Resume Survey by career publisher Vault Inc., 89 percent of employers revealed that they would watch one if it were submitted to them, but only 17 percent of those surveyed had actually viewed one sent to them. Fifty-two percent of the 309 employers surveyed indicated that they thought video resumes were a good way to assess a job candidate’s professional demeanor and presentation.

Some human resource and hiring managers, however, expressed concerned that the use of video resumes would allow employers to make hiring decisions based on appearances and that could open up a legal and expensive can of worms.

There are other concerns as well. Not all video resumes are created equally. You might have all the bells and whistles imaginable to create your resume while someone else might only have the bare, low-budget essentials.

Employers aren’t the only ones who are wary. Many job seekers share the same concerns. And, let’s face it: Some of us have a face meant for radio and can better communicate relevant skills, abilities and personal qualities on an in-person basis.

Replacing paper?Will video resume ever replace the paper deal? My crystal ball says no. When an employer makes a decision on whether or not to hire an individual, he or she considers the whole package and not just what is seen on a three-minute teaser. Chances are good, at least in the next few years, that decisions to hire candidates won’t be based on the video resume alone.

That same crystal ball also says that they will nevertheless be increasingly used in conjunction with traditional paper resumes and in-person job interviews.

While you may not need to run out and produce your video resume today, keep your eyes and your mind open for the day, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, when having one might give you the edge over the other guys.

Janet Farley is the author of “The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide” and “The Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success.” Her column appears monthly in Stars and Stripes. She can be contacted at: janetfarley@hotmail.com

Tips for producing resumes

Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, the following tips and techniques might be useful in producing your resume or in at least thinking about it:

Set the stage. Hide the kids, the dog and anyone or anything else with a tendency to make unwelcome background noise.

Dress the part for your own screen resume just as you would for a face-to-face interview. First impressions are lasting and often irreversible.

Introduce yourself before you launch into why you are the perfect candidate for the job. It’s like putting your name on the top of your written resume.

Short is sweet on paper and on the small screen. Keep your production to a minimum, lasting about one to three minutes.

Eye contact and pace of speech is a plus anywhere. Don’t avoid looking into the camera. Don’t rush through your spiel or sound like you’ve memorized your words. Try to come across as natural and, whatever you do, don’t read your resume while the red record button is on.

Make sure you keep it real and relevant. Focus on your professional achievements and qualifications as they relate to the position at hand. This might be a good time to pull out that 30-second elevator speech. It is not the time to launch into your personal life history, no matter how utterly exciting it might be.

Avoid the gimmicks. If you want to enjoy a good laugh, surf YouTube and get your kicks off the failure of others. Don’t jeopardize your own chances with being cutesy.

Wrap it up nicely just as you would in person. Thank the employer for consideration and express your anticipation in hearing back from him.

You’ve made your video, now what?Once you’ve created your resume, what then? You have several options.

If you have a professional Web site, you can post your video resume there and link back to it throughout your job search.

Another option is to upload your resume into an applicant database such as HireVue, Resume Video or Job Match Pro.

Finally, you can always e-mail it to an employer directly. Before you go that route, however, make sure the employer welcomes them first (unless of course you’re going for the surprise attack approach).

So, skip the striped tie. It does make you look fat. Brush your teeth and comb your hair. It's show-time!

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