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Beware The Video Resume

Before you turn the camera on yourself, know that this new job-hunting tool may be more risky than cool.

Can a shining personality trump lackluster qualifications? A handful of young job seekers are hoping so - and starring in video versions of their resumes that they post online. Websites like are selling video resume storage space, assuring recent grads (experienced folk so far have ignored the practice) that they'll stand out from the paper pile.

But career coaches are not sure they're ready to endorse the trend. Dan King, the principal of Career Planning and Management Inc., a consulting practice in Boston, says anytime you deviate from the traditional process, you might be at an advantage but could also get burned. While you may indeed differentiate yourself, he says, recruiters accustomed to giving each resume a 30-second glance might disregard videos completely. They can't scan a video clip into a database nor pull it out of a file for quick reference. And don't forget about discrimination issues - videos put race, age, and weight in the spotlight.

Many big firms that rely on regulated campus recruiting programs, such as Ernst & Young, prefer you stick to the written tradition. Jane Mahoney Outar, the associate director of Boston University's School of Management Career Center, says her staff is still trying to determine the "usefulness and effectiveness" of video resumes. "We have not been making them part of the portfolio of tools we are using with students."

Broadcasting yourself may have its perks in creative industries, but at Boston-based ad agency Arnold Worldwide, director of staffing Diane Proctor says video resumes wouldn't entice her any more than paper ones. In fact, she's never received any.

There is one thing all career coaches and human resources departments seem to agree on: Video resumes are little more than an enhanced marketing tool and will never replace solid networking skills and the interaction involved in a face-to-face interview.