Behind the Times?
Posted by lanaksolberg
I usually think of myself as pretty on top of it when it comes to social networking and being technologically savvy. As part of that, I recognize that it’s important to maintain an online presence that is attractive to current and potential employers. I’ve maintained an account on LinkedIn for years now, and update it semi-regularly with my professional experiences and development. Rich Maggiani and Ed Marshall’s article, “Using LinkedIn to Get Work,” made me feel like I am doing a lot of things right. Then I read chapter 8 of Eric Qualman’s Socialnomics…let’s just say it made me feel a bit behind the times.
I’ve never considered creating a video resume—it’s just not something that ever occurred to me. In my current position, I’ve reviewed resumes of applicants for open technical writing positions and have looked at personal websites and LinkedIn profiles, but never a video resume. I have to wonder if it would add as much value as Qualman claims. He states,
“Recruiters can quickly screen through potential hires in minutes versus all the guesswork associated with traditional paper resumes” (p. 226).
I can’t imagine that a video resume removes as much of the guesswork from the hiring process as this implies. Hiring managers still have to read between the lines and figure out what candidates are really about. After all, a video resume (like a paper resume) is created with the intention of shining the best light on the applicant. It’s essentially a commercial designed to make the applicant look good. (Maybe it’s the technical communicator in me, but I think I’d rather read a professional document about a person than watch a commercial for them.)
Job searching and recruiting varies greatly by industry. I’m just not sure video resumes in particular are the best fit for technical communication. Perhaps Qualman is assuming the advertising industry, which would probably work a lot better for this type of format. Other tools such as professional profiles and personal websites seem to be a much better fit for technical communicators. The ability to display and link to work samples is also invaluable, but probably more beneficial to some people than others. Many communicators who work in a corporate environment write proprietary information for their company and can’t share work samples at all, let alone make them publicly available on the Internet. Again, this may be a better fit for advertising or even freelance writers.
Despite seeming focused more on job searching and recruiting in a marketing or advertising field, much of what Qualman highlights can be applied to technical communication. I’m curious, though, would you find video resumes much more helpful than traditional paper resumes when it comes to hiring a technical communicator?
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