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The Career-Search Game Changer: Your Video Bio

by William Arruda, Catharine Fennell  |  
March 23, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How a video bio can help you land your next interview
  • Five tips for creating an effective, high-quality video bio

When you strip away all the basic requirements expected of any marketer—hard skills and experience—what's left? Everything that cannot be said in a resume!

Yet, ironically, those are the critical, personal elements that make a difference in a marketer's decision-making abilities—their soft skills and fit with culture. They are also what will get a hiring manager to take a second look, because they often determine employees' longevity, loyalty, career satisfaction, and productivity.

Hiring managers have a hard job. They must review hundreds of resumes to decide who to interview. It's challenging to discern soft skills in text-format resumes. Even the best-written resume that incorporates all your marketing genius won't necessarily get your name on the interview list.

How to Stand Out

Roughly seven qualified marketers are available for each open position, so you need to think beyond the resume—to clutter-breaking tools—that'll give you the opportunity to express your personal brand.

One such tool that's gaining popularity is a video bio. Video gives you the opportunity to convey soft skills like communication style, passion, ideas, demeanor, confidence, and personality.

A video bio is not just any video, and it's not a video resume. It is a multimedia tool designed to communicate your story (hence, bio), and not simply repeat what's in your resume. In fact, a video bio is everything that cannot be included in your resume. It allows you to share achievements in a storytelling way and helps you stand out from the crowd by making a real connection with your prospective manager.

As a marketer, you know that words account for about 7% of a complete communication. Therefore, your written career marketing tools (cover letter, resume, thank-you note, etc.) limit your ability to create emotional connections with the people who are making decisions about you.

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William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda

Catharine Fennell is an entrepreneur specializing in online video profiling and is president and CEO of videoBIO, which provides affordable Web and professional video bio services to individuals and businesses.

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  • by Michelle Wed Mar 23, 2011 via web

    So many people suggest modifying your resume depending on the position for which you are applying; do you suggest you make multiple versions of your video resume if you are applying for different types of positions? Also, I would love your thought on when you send this resume to a potential employer.


  • by Alex Nathanson Wed Mar 23, 2011 via web

    Another thought for distribution would be to include a QR code on your resume that links to your video bio.

  • by Dan Soschin Wed Mar 23, 2011 via web

    As a hiring manager, I'm not sure how I would view a video bio. It may come across as not very genuine or perhaps rehearsed or contrived. Because it leaves the ability to perfect, it may demonstrate video savvy and product savvy versus actual personality... I do now focus beyond the resume considerably; looking at social media and blogs... so I may warm up to video; but until I meet and speak with someone, it's difficult to judge how well they will fit on my team. More at my blog,

  • by Erin Anne Beirne Wed Mar 23, 2011 via mobile

    Dan, if you research a possible candidate's online presence, would a variety of videos they prepare, especially if they are about a topic they know well as opposed to a "hire me" self-introduction, would that not help you glean a sense of who they are more than a few words on a resume? I think the idea is not to *replace* the face-to-face meeting but to enhance chances of getting one? I thought it was an interesting idea, actually!


  • by Erin Anne Beirne Wed Mar 23, 2011 via mobile

    Alex, interesting idea! Do you think familiarity with QR codes is widespread enough? And what about HR managers who are reviewing resumes at a desk... guess they'd need to pull out their phones to scan them, or is there a desktop reader solution out there? I certainly appreciate the potential of this idea...



  • by Theresa Wed Mar 23, 2011 via web

    I created a visual resume and was thrilled to receive an offer from the first company that saw it. I'm happy to say that it's been an incredible fit--part of which I attribute to my visual resume. Here's a link in case anyone's interested:

  • by Colleen Thu Mar 24, 2011 via web

    Theresa, that's a great example. I think the video resumes can go terribly wrong if folks aren't careful. There can be a delicate balance between trying to be natural/informal and still portraying yourself as a professional. For instance I work at a pretty progressive company where we do some pretty silly (but effective) marketing projects. A video resume done with a flip-cam could totally work for us, whereas a larger, more formal company may not receive it as well. I guess the takeaway is just to know who your intended audience is. If it is unclear, play it safe.

  • by Anita Thu Mar 24, 2011 via web

    Teresa thank you for the video. Think its a good strategy to get out from the crowd. can anyone please share more links to video samples?

  • by William Arruda Thu Mar 24, 2011 via web

    Great discussion!

    Knowing your target audience is critical. Even if you are using a flip - you need to ensure the audio, lighting, etc are high quality. It is valuable to test out different locations and 'sets' and practice so it feels comfortable.

    There are lots of videoBIO examples here: And some here:

    Love the idea of the QR code. Just including the code demonstrates innovation - and right now, video is still very differentiating - giving you a leg up in a challenging job market.


  • by Erin Anne Beirne Thu Mar 24, 2011 via web


    I just sent your link out to a number of colleagues and clients as an example of a creative, innovative way to market oneself! I think it works for seeking either employment or consulting engagement.

    Thank you for sharing this.


  • by Stephanie Kittell Fri Mar 25, 2011 via web

    I think the point about QUALITY vs QUANTITY is a very strong one, and is often forgotten in our highly saturated world of online media. To break through the clutter, you really do have to have a strong focus on quality, and go above and beyond what you peers are doing.

    A professional, polished, and noteworthy video is the perfect answer!

  • by Catharine Fennell Sat Mar 26, 2011 via web

    A managed first impression with video is a great way to increase your impact. Managed doesn't need to look contrived-- sincerity and authenticity are essential in making a connection-- and, quite right, hitting the right tone for the environment you are positioning yourself for is important. If you are a person who is very nervous in an interview setting, this may just boost your chances of making a good impression before getting face to face.

  • by William Arruda Sat Mar 26, 2011 via web

    Couldn't have said it better myself, Catharine. Thanks for adding that.


  • by Amanda D., ABC Tue Mar 29, 2011 via web

    Is the other option to include a link to your video bio on the resume? I too like the QR Code idea, but have even heard of people including a DVD. Really?

  • by William Arruda Tue Mar 29, 2011 via web

    Yes. A link is ideal - using a custom web link shortener -, etc. You can include the link in your cover letter, on the top of your resume, in your LinkedIN profile, etc. I don't think hiring managers are likely to watch a DVD. And remember to post your video with all the right keywords to relevant video sharing sites.


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