MTV’s Ryan Kahn Tells TheGrindstone Why Video Resumes Are Not Just For 22 Year Olds

Hired!'s Ryan Kahn

According to a new study by The Ladders, the average recruiter spends about six seconds reviewing a resume and making their initial “fit/no fit” decision. The study also said that additional graphics or video will not do much for you but after talking with Ryan Kahn of MTV’s Hired!, we beg to differ. Kahn says videos are the future of resumes.

Quickly becoming the most nationally recognized career coach Ryan Kahn is star of MTV’s Hired! and author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad. Over the last decade, Kahn has placed thousands of college students, recent grads, and job seekers on the path to their dream career. Kahn is an experienced speaker, giving presentations and keynote addresses at colleges and conventions across the country. Kahn also acts as a topic area expert for the media with his advice featured in hundreds of news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and US News & World Report.

When I talked to Kahn the other day he said he had just gotten off the phone with a producer who was sick of looking at paper resumes because it just wasn’t giving him a good idea of who he would be interviewing. “A one minute video tells so much more,” said Kahn. “It is a great way to get a gauge of the person being interviewed and it doesn’t take much time. It is a win win for both parties.”

Though he says the video resume is being more embraced in younger, technology-based industries, we are going to start to see this in other fields as well (just be careful that you don’t make yourself stand out so much that you go viral on YouTube.) Yes, college students may start to soon think video resumes are the norm but for a person who is a bit older, this can set you apart from your peers. Nontraditional resumes are a smart way for middle-aged applicants to show they are as tech-savvy as younger workers. But presentation resumes won’t work for every profession or industry. The more creative the field, the more likely an interactive resume will be perceived as an advantage rather than an oddity, career experts say.

In some circles video resumes have gotten bad reps. They are deemed as unprofessional and passe. But if you do it right they can give you the extra edge. If you’re creating a video resume, dress professionally, speak clearly and not too quickly, look at the camera and stick to the point. You also want your background to convey what you are trying to represent, said Kahn. “Don’t have beer posters in the background,” he said. “That is your moment to sell yourself.” This goes double if you are doing a video interview as well.

But Kahn is clear to say that just because you are making a video resume, it doesn’t mean you should throw away your paper resume. You need to send both. “People that are smart are doing the video cover letter. So if you can put together a quick snapshot, about one to two minutes long, that is a great thing for someone to be able to reference. You send it and say I’ve attached a resume video with my regular resume and it will really standout.”

Video or Skype interviews can also be a great solution if you are an out of town applicant. It is a way to move past what seems like a dead end. But Kahn warns that before a Skype or video interview be sure to get all the technology kinks out. And if you are not used to seeing yourself on a camera do a few run throughs so you don’t wind up watching yourself throughout the entire interview.

Here are five tips you should keep in mind when making a video resume:

1) Make sure it is appropriate: This may change in a few years but at this point don’t just create a video resume because you can, create one because it’s relevant to the job you want to do. If you’re applying for a role in the online, media, social or creative professions, then it’s more likely a decent video resume will have the desired effect, i.e., getting you invited for an interview.

2) Don’t just read out your resume: The whole point of a video presentation is to offer a potential employer greater insight into you than a traditional resume can, so just reading aloud the contents of your CV is a waste of everyone’s time. “Tell them why you would be the right person to hire and what you can do for them,” says Mario Gedicke, account manager at, a video employment platform.

3) Keep it short: Kahn said it should be one to two minutes tops.

4) Be Creative: Be creative, whether that’s with the concept of your pitch, use of humor, clever production values or unique editing.

5) Make sure it passes the share test: Don’t put content out there that you wouldn’t be prepared to see go viral. It’s unlikely your video resume will become an overnight Internet sensation, but imagining that scenario is a good test to make sure you could cope if it did.

You can follow Ryan Kahn on Twitter at @RyanKahnHired.

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