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I saw a few tutorials explaining how in general to embed a video into a PDF and it got me wondering if I should put a video into my resume. Considering that my education, work history, hobbies, references, volunteer gigs, etc., take up almost two pages, I feel like a video in the about me section would save a bunch of space. I could speak not only about myself and summarize the resume, but I could also delineate why I would be a good fit and the like.

I couldn't find any such examples, however, so I'm curious if this has been done or avoided?

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    Does this answer your question? Are plain or attention grabbing résumés more effective?
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 5:26
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    I've never in my life seen a pdf file that contains an embedded video. I just spent 5 minutes googling trying to find an example but couldn't. (Tutorials yes, examples no.) Instead I found several examples of people complaining that they couldn't get a video to play without changing some preferences, rebooting Windows, etc. I get the impression that this is an experimental feature that was added in the days of Adobe Flash and can't really be expected to work reliably nowadays.
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 10:23
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    You could improve your question by adding what benefits do you see in doing this over just attaching the video with a resume as a separate file? If you have credentials that take up 2 pages, that sounds like an opposite of a problem. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 12:56
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    Why are you including your hobbies in your resume? Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 14:40
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    @crass_sandwich maybe it depends on culture but I would say it's not that strange to do. Googling "Should I include my hobbies in resume?" gives both results that favor it or are against it.
    – Ivo
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 6:38

10 Answers 10

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Avoid like the plague!

Firstly you're effectively "hiding" your key information behind having to watch a video, this is antithetical to the whole point of a resume which is to get the pertinent information to the person reviewing your resume as quickly and as easily as possible. Having the person sit and watch a video to get this is going to take extra time and effort compared with quickly skim-reading the document to see if you warrant a closer look, depending on the person reviewing your resume and their situation it could get absurd; Perhaps they don't have the means to listen to the audio on their work device, perhaps they have accessibility issues that mean they use a screen reader etc.

These factors make it much, much more likely that the reviewer simply isn't going to bother - when I've been hiring and I've been doing the first pass on the submitted resumes the first step is to whittle it down to manageable numbers for considering who to bring in for an interview. It's not unusual to have a couple of dozen resumes at this stage that I need to reduce to half that, which means that the cuts here are about speed, and are often brutal. There's not a chance in hell I'm sitting through an embedded video at this stage, which means all those things that might make you a suitable candidate are "lost" and the result would be that your resume would be the easiest cut from the pool.

Imagining for a moment that your resume did make it the next stage - which is a more in-depth review of the important points then something I (and others I've known) do is - make notes on a copy of the resume itself. Highlighting things I either think particularly stand out for the candidate or concerns I'd like to investigate at interview. It's pretty hard to do that on a video!

Then, if we take this a step further and it gets to the interview stage it's common to have a copy of the candidates resume printed for reference during the conversation. Again, this is completely unworkable with a video.

Secondly, while it's a particularly American thing, the emphasis limiting resumes to two pages is motivated by the notion of distilling the really important information into an easily digestible volume. Circumventing this "limit", whether it's by embedding a video or setting the font size to 4pt doesn't negate that driver - and it's going to cause you much the same issues that simply submitting a three or four page resume would. If you're in a locale where the two-page "limit" is king and you're struggling to make it fit then the answer is to re-work the resume's content so that it does fit. Whether that's cutting content that isn't really relevant to the role, or using more concise, efficient wording.

Finally this would make your resume fail hard should any employer be using an applicant tracking system that does an automated pass through the resume's text.

So, no don't do this unless you particularly enjoy not getting hired. If you're going for a role where producing videos or marketing content like this would be part of the role then you could do a video like this as part of your portfolio, but it should be in addition to a conventional resume not a substitute for it.

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I would not suggest doing that.

In several cases resumes are automatically processes to look for keywords and filter candidates. Having a video there will surely cause unpredictable things that could cause you to not be considered.

Besides, having it in written form makes it more concise and to the point. Having a video there opens possibilities for mistakes or error or "this does not work on my PC", hindering your chances to land an offer.

If the recruiter wants to check some point or skill again (that they perhaps forgot briefly) they can just read that part again. Instead, on a video they would have to search the moment where you mention such aspect, making the process to the recruiter more complicated.

Bottom line, is not something I would do, nor something I suggest you do, nor something I have seen done.

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    Plus, sending large files by email by itself is antisocial - in many places you would be blocked by size limits on attachments, and on others you could overflow the mailbox of the person you are trying to impress and seriously annoy them. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 8:07
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    The combination of video and PDF in particular is rather fragile. It's been totally broken in the past (as it used Flash internally) and the newer versions aren't as portable.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 10:44
  • In tighter security environments, the file may end up being blocked and will never get to HR.
    – danak
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 22:29
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Avoid including any nonstandard thing in your CV. Videos, sounds, animations, external links, interactive duck, anything.

You want your CV to be as standard as possible. For one, assume there are dozens of CVs submitted to the position, and one manager running through all of them. In the initial pass, they will spend like 10 sec per CV to filter out the good-looking candidates, whose CV they will actually read. They'll look for info in standard places: face, bullet point list of experience, skills, etc. in their own sections. If they can't find it immediately, they'll be at best mildly annoyed and likely just discard the CV.

For two, non-standard stuff can break things. Your CV may look epic in the latest Adobe Reader, but will the company's licensed HR software from 2007 (or that outdated FancyPDFViewer2014.exe on the manager's PC) display your fancy video and cool animations properly? Will it disrupt some automatic filtering routine that was never prepared for embedded media? Will it ourtight crash the software, making people think you sent them a virus, and get your e-mail on the company blacklist?

And even if you pass the junk filter and don't crash anything, the manager simply won't watch it. They can glance through a block of text in a few seconds to find what they're looking for, but they won't spend time to watch a random guy's 3-min sales pitch. But even if they wanted to, it's likely they can't. They can sit in an open office and have no earphones. Maybe no audio output at all. Or they could be commuting on a train. And what if they print the CVs they receive?

TL;DR - You must not hide information behind anything. Assume that anything that's not visible immediately will not be looked upon at all. A video or audio is simply not compatible with the hiring process.

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    I'd fight back at the idea of not including external links - if they're links to websites under your control for personal project portfolio examples, or if they're links to company websites of companies you worked at, I'd think they'd work fine. The one issue being that your links shouldn't be like this and more like this - http://example.com; that is, they should be print-accessible (Personally, I'd recommend using URL shorteners for particularly long links, like YouTube video links, so that it at least can be typed out easily.). Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 22:28
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    @AlexanderThe1st External links to protfolio/references are fine, of course. What I meant is do not include links to info that should be in the CV, for example a link to OP's video on YouTube.
    – Neinstein
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 6:33
  • Even just non-standard colors and layouts can cause your resume to end up in the circular file. As you say, if he hiring manager can't find reasons to interview you in a few seconds, they're not going to bother. Furthermore, at that stage, they're generally looking to cut some huge pile of resumes into a number of people they can talk to, so often they are looking for any reason to remove one from consideration. "Doesn't understand industry norms about resumes" is one such reason.
    – stannius
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 16:13
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    @AlexanderThe1st Link shorteners that don't immediately show the domain they go to are a red flag for many people. So the youtu.be shortening YouTube does is ok, but a service like bit.ly would make me drop the CV immediately.
    – Mast
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 20:05
  • @Mast: I guess I could see that - my immediate thought is that there usually is a way to have an external URL shortener give you a preview of the page (Bit.ly uses a "+" appended to the end, and the one I was more familiar with, TinyURL, requires prevuew.tinyurl.com/<aliasCode>) - that said, I guess I am also thinking of a way to reduce the watch=<watchCode> part that doesn't really get shortened. Typing the watchCode incorrectly in manually gets you something wildly different than if it was a simplified code (Though I recognize Bit.ly doesn't seem to do that at least for the free.). Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 21:46
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Your CV must be entirely printable (in black-and-white), no exceptions ever

Your CV forms the basis for both you and the interviewer to talk around your experience and skills. That means both you and the interviewer need a readable copy of your CV to refer to whilst you're talking. It's perhaps less important for you, because you should be able to remember what you did, but it's absolutely vital for the interviewer. Video can never meet that requirement.

Outside of the interview, applicants' CVs will also be passed around interviewers and other HR-related people during the recruitment process. Whilst this may happen on PCs/devices, they need to be quickly able to compare applicants' CVs, and this can only be done with readable text. Videos don't cut it. Interviewers will also be very unhappy at being expected to sit through however many minutes of video, instead of quickly reading through text. Remember that the limit on the number of pages of CV is not just for space, it's also for how long an interviewer is prepared to spend assessing your CV.

As for length, CVs are normally 4-6 pages long. Unless you have a tablet whose screen expands to cover 4-6 pages of surface area (hint: they don't exist!), the only way for the interviewer to quickly jump around the applicant's CV during the interview is with a hard copy of the CV. Best practise for interviewing is therefore always that the interviewer prints out a copy, because there is no alternative which works as well. Since most offices use laser printers, this leads to a further limitation that it must be printable in black-and-white. There is no reason that the text of your CV needs to be in colour.

And for a final reason to avoid video, it makes the file much larger. Many corporate environments limit the size of files that can be emailed. A large PDF may simply be blocked, and your application will never make it through.

So the absolute best case possible is that your potential employer will ignore the video entirely. That's literally the best you can hope for. Less good is if the interviewer views your expectation that they'll sit through your video as complete arrogance in taking up so much of their time; if they're charitable then you may still get an interview, but it's more likely that this will cause your application to be instantly rejected. And the worst case is the CV is simply blocked by email filters and you never even get it in front of a human being.

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    I'm mighty curious as to where in the world CV's are normally 4-6 pages long. Where I live they are usually 1 page. Comments above mentioned that in the US it is usually 2...
    – Basya
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 15:36
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    Certainly in the UK anything above 2 pages would be getting me mildly irritated and thinking "is this candidate just listing everything they have done and sending the CV to every company they can think of?"
    – Dezza
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 15:41
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    @Basya In the US at least, a resume and a CV are not the same thing. A resume is typically 1-2 pages long, and is the more common of the two. CVs are often used in a research or academic settings, and can contain much more exhaustive detail, listing all of an individual's publications over their whole career. A 4-6 page resume would be absurdly long, but not unreasonable for a CV. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 16:40
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    @Dezza Maybe it depends on where you work and how long you've been doing it. 4 pages would be excessive in your 20s, for sure. But if you're a senior engineer in your 50s, good luck summarising your skills, experience and qualifications and giving examples of how they relate to the job you're applying for in less than 4 pages. (Also in the UK.)
    – Graham
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 17:55
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    @Graham That's sort of the key to 1-2 page resumes. It shows you put in the (non-trivial) effort to edit and condense it the specific position, rather than spamming the same thing to 50 companies.
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 20:00
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Unless the job was for something like Video editing or something related to making visual content (Movie industry, Social Media Manager etc.) - I would 100% not do that.

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    Even then, I'd just link to a video hosted elsewhere. As DarkCygnus noted anything nonstandard could cause the software they use to do initial screening to choke on the file and result in it being discarded automatically. And if nothing else, including a decent quality video will make your PDF huge compared to a normal resume and may get it rejected at upload for being too big. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 2:50
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    I also doubt that a video where OP appears talking about their skills and why they are a good fit is a video that would showcase OP's video-editing and filming skills and knowlege (because it's "just" OP talking, not, for example, a GCI edit, or a shot on a professional setting, or a short film or movie etc...). A video embedded on a PDF seems to me like a 100% no-go (now that I'm writing this, I even wonder why a video embedded on a PDF? why not just send the video file?)... anyways, I stand with my answer and agree that this is surely not a standard
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 2:56
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    @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight not only that, but if it crashes something in the process, the PDF can be misinterpreted as malicious, which will immediately result in OP's e-mail adress getting on the blacklist forever.
    – Neinstein
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 12:09
  • I think this is the answer, I know I would be impressed if I had a CAD modeler embed a .u3d model into a PDF.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 13:54
  • Even for something where video editing is relevant such as a Social Media Manager, I would prefer they include links as part of a portfolio. Embedding it in the PDF is problematic. I completely agree that if video production is not related to the job then providing a video should definitely be avoided. Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 22:00
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I could speak not only about myself

Before COVID and remote work, my work PC did not even have sound/loudspeakers. If you send someone a PDF, don't expect them to have hardware that isn't normally used to read PDFs.

So you can embedd a video. Be prepared that it will be ignored or seen as a nuisance, maybe even sorted out by overly zealous threat detection software.

Doesn't seem like a good idea overall on the "pro/con" scale.

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    "maybe even sorted out by overly zealous threat detection software." not even overly zealous. I would be highly suspicious about anything embedded in a PDF that's not something you would expect (so pretty much anything other than text or images). I would honestly expect an anti-virus (or other protection software) to flag something like that.
    – Dnomyar96
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 12:39
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No

The HR worker who receives your resume will open up the PDF. He/she is expecting to see a page full of text describing your qualifications, skills, and work history.

A video popping up will set off the oh s!!! this is a virus response.

You don't want that.

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Don't forget that the primary consumer of your resume are robots, not humans. Your resume gets loaded into an applicant tracking system which extracts information and lets hiring managers filter down their candidate pools. Some systems don't even show the resume to the hiring manager at all, just the data pulled from it. I learned the hard way that those systems don't let you know that they couldn't process your resume correctly, you just end up with an incomplete or messed-up candidate profile that gets thrown out before a human ever sees it. I've built many resumes that systems couldn't process correctly, and that was just from playing with the formatting and page layout. The odds of a candidate tracking system correctly processing a resume with something as complex as an embedded video are probably similar to the odds of that embedded video working once I print the document.

Doing anything even remotely fancy in a resume jeopardizes its ability to be processed correctly and thus reduces the chances that a human ever sees it in the first place. I've had the most success by creating two different versions of my resume: a plain version (simple .txt file) that I use when submitting job applications, and a fancy version (designed in LaTeX with color, formatted headings, etc) that I print and give out at interviews and that I'll email directly to a person if they ask me for one. Robot-friendly version for the robots, human-friendly version for the humans. Embedded videos are friendly for neither.

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I designed my resume to be quickly scanned, so it doesn't waste the interviewer's time and speeds up the rejection notice (so I can move on).

For example, at the top of my resume is a list of skills. This also helps with the resume scanners and bots. Having a video in the resume just slows down this process. The "reader" or "viewer" of your resume has to wait through the video in order find your skills (especially the skill that the interviewer is looking for).

In the present job hunt, you want to create targeted resumes. You want one resume with all your stuff in it. Copy the resume and target it for specific employers. You'll want to highlight skills that the targeted company would value. Targeting specific skills will be more difficult with a video resume.

Leave the video for the interview. A live discussion is always preferred to a fixed video.

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No, don't include a video unless for some reason a video is the best form of showing the information you need to get across. If that were the case, you would provide a link to it in the resume, and not embed it in the PDF.

A video might save space, but it won't save time for the reader. Think about it: They can either spend half a minute reading your resume, or they can watch you talk for 2-3 minutes. They're not going to do that.

Related: You should not have anything on your resume that does not relate to how you will be able to do the job. Don't include hobbies unless somehow they are relevant. For example, nobody cares if you enjoy playing guitar in your free time, UNLESS you're applying to Fender or Gibson for a job. Then it's relevant.

You also should not have references on your resume. You only should give references when you are asked for them. This then lets you go back to your reference-givers and tell them to expect to be contacted by the specific company.

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