Career Center Blog

April 15, 2013

Grapevine better bet than Vine for hiring success


I've gone on record before about saying that video resumes are not always the best job-seeking method for several reasons. Mostly it's because they worry HR people about potential discrimination lawsuits, and they don't present much more useful information beyond what a standard resume can do in a fraction of the time.

But that was about 20 months ago, an unfathomably long time in web development years and well before apps like Vine swept the mobile space like a whirlwind in 2012. A cross between Twitter and an endlessly looping GIF file, Vine is a smartphone app created last June by Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov that lets you create short, continuous videos that can be shared in various social networking sites.

Since its release, and its later purchase by Twitter, two things were virtually certain about Vine: 1) it would be used for, let's just say, "not safe for work" purposes, and 2) someone would try to get hired with it. The former problem happened almost instantly, as it does with every new internet tool (ahem). The latter followed closely last fall with the posting of what is being called the "world's first Vine resume."

Created in October by New Yorker Dawn Siff, a seasoned broadcast and digital journalist, the Vine clip contains a total of nine words -- "journalist, strategist, manager, deadline Jedi, idea machine, Dawn Siff" -- spoken by Siff directly into the camera, describing her basic work ethic. For each word, a new prop magically appears through quick edit cuts. The whole thing lasts only six seconds, although technically it's endless, since it repeats the same scene ad infinitum until you close the file.

There's no doubt Siff's Vine video is clever, engaging and well made. Compared to PDF files of static resumes, it clearly stands out. But is it the right kind of attention? For Siff, the answer is a resounding yes, since she landed a job as project manager at The Economist Goup about six months after the video was posted.

Being named as a "first" in this embryonic field means her views spilled way beyond the intended hiring-manager audience, into the Twitterverse and even national television, thanks to a spot on NBC's Today Show.

So it looks we've turned a corner and created a whole new way to get noticed, right? Well, look a little deeper and you'll see that Siff was already most of the way over the goal line at The Economist through deployment of old-school methods. As she admits freely on her Tumblr account, "I actually got this job through old-fashioned networking, a referral by a friend," Siff said. "But I would say that the Vine Resume did impress them once I was in the door."

After the third or fourth iteration, however, Siff's perky mantra begins to plant the seeds of a headache between the viewer's temples. Beyond the production values, it's really just a string of job titles and buzzwords that have no support from facts or concrete results.

Siff also posted a graphic on Tumblr showing that, in the six months since she posted the video, she had joined two networking groups, made 10 networking calls, attended a dozen in-person meetings and six networking events, took 64 hours of continuing education classes to brush up her skills, and had nine job interviews, plus two informational interviews.

That hardly sounds like the next web-based gimmick -- it sounds more like a reward for hard work in the networking trenches. So if you try to follow Siff's climb up the Vine, don't forget to fertilize that soil and water those roots.

Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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