Friday, March 14, 2008

The Purpose of Puppets and Video Resumes

I recently had the chance to experience the hilariously raunchy Broadway musical Avenue Q at the Colonial Theatre and found its satirical theme of finding one's purpose in life to be quite ironic.

As the cast (including Princeton, a recent college grad) sings about being broke, unemployed and dreaming of finding that purpose, I couldn't help but laugh as I realized I'm sort of in the same position. I'm still dependent on my parents, I'm only an intern who will soon need to find a job and I might not be trying to find my purpose in the deep, philosophical way but I'm wondering how long it's going to take to find a job and where that job is going to be.

So it's no surprise that I've been beefing up my resume, getting my portfolio and references lined up and of course, searching the possible job prospects that are out there. But I always have to wonder, how will I, among the hoards of other candidates, stand out to employers?

I'm confident that with my experience (three 6-month co-ops and an 8-month part-time internship at newspapers and PR agencies) and my education at Northeastern, that I have a lot to offer and will eventually find a job once I start looking. (I won't start until April or May since I will be heading off to Europe for three weeks and won't be able to work until June).

Regardless, there are a variety of ways for students to display their work. I came across a video resume on YouTube and was surprised that given all of the emphasis on video and multimedia in my classes, that I hadn't considered this before. I won't be heading out and creating one as I'm not a fan of the camera but for those who don't get camera shy, this is a great method.

The video I stumbled across was for a videographer who will be graduating this May.

This makes sense. A videographer creating a video resume. But I looked a little further and found an engineer's video resume.

They're both completely different but yet effective. Of course, the handy paper resume will always be needed but this is definitely a more creative way to feature yourself--especially for journalism students who are learning new multimedia tools to create these types of packages. So learning these skills to create journalistic stories may just help them find a job. While a candidate's portfolio will speak for itself, those interpersonal and communication skills are what video resumes will get through to prospective employers.

Time explored the video resume in this February 2007 article, noting the collaboration between online job boards such as Jobster and social networking sites like Facebook to launch career sites featuring video resumes.

One issue raised by Time was the possibility of discrimination based on gender, race and age, although there have been no cases thus far. It does open the possibility and then there is the argument that those lacking the technology may therefore lack access to the job:

But George Lenard, a St. Louis, Mo., employment lawyer, can envision a case centered on "disparate impact." If an employer requires applications by video, then those without video cameras and broadband-equipped computers might argue they lacked access. Of course, he adds, the live interview process is hardly infallible. He cites a 2000 Princeton study that examined orchestras' penchant for hiring male musicians as an example of "disparate treatment." When screens were put up--now a common practice in auditions--the gender skewing disappeared.

All issues aside, the idea of the video resume completely changes the job seeking strategy. No one is able to predict for sure whether this will take over or simply be a flash in the pan but with the increasing technology and the need to stand out in a crowd, video resumes offer a solution.

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