Lest anyone doubt that YouTube is disruptive, I was reminded again of how much a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from a cousin I haven't seen in 20 years. What struck me about the email was that it was so mundane, so commonplace in the new web world, and something that couldn't have happened just a couple of years ago.
I'm not talkiing about the ping from a long-lost relative. I get those (and have sent some) from acquaintances who are trying to reconnect after 5, 10 or 20 or more years on a semi-regular basis.
Rather it was the attachment of a YouTube video which not only provided me with the update that he is now an actor, but included a sample of some TV drama work that we could easily forward to anyone that we might know in the business. And I just thought how remarkable it was that it was so cheap and so easy to send out a video resume for someone in his line of work.
Shawn's demo tape
I'm sure that actors have been sending out video tapes to studios and agencies and in advance of commercial auditions for years. But think about it. To get just a couple of hundred tapes professionally copied and then couriered out would have been a minimum of a couple of thousand dollars. Although necessary, it was hardly within the budget of a "starving actor".
But now, it's not only free to reproduce and send, you can instantly send it to everyone you know, and by extension, reach their network of contacts as well, or be searched and seen randomly by anyone in the world. So now we have lower cost, broader reach, and persistence (doesn't get thrown in the trash). And, that doesn't include getting posted on my blog, where potentially dozens or hundreds of marketers and advertising specialists might see it and think he's just perfect for a shoot they have planned.
Not Aleksey Vayner
It's worth pointing out that this is not a tragic-comic self-congratulatory career killer like the famous Impossible is Nothing Aleksey Vayner video "resume". If you haven't seen this, I heartily recommend you watch it a few times, both for a good laugh and to study what not to do.
It's also not the goofy sort of bad job posting site like Vidrez.com. When you check out this site-provided sample, you'll know what I mean, and wonder why on earth anyone would do this and what value it adds. If you're desperate for a job, and considering this, all I can say is "Don't". Just stick with Monster and the traditional resume. For the life of me, I can't discern any good reason to pay these folks to be hidden behind the site's registration requirements, rather than simply doing it myself for free on YouTube (a key consideration for low end disruption). Besides, this is just too icky for me.
Perhaps the time is coming in the not-too-distant future when video resumes will become normal outside the acting business. That has huge disruptive potential, although It seems like if it happens, it will be critical that job seekers carefully consider the appropriateness of what they do. Is a mock interview a good idea -- or does it come across as boring and phony? If you're in the media or artistic expression fields, showing a sample of your work certainly makes sense. If you aren't, it's probably best combined with a blog (which shows off your thought process), and only with a sense of self-awareness, humor and humility. Then again, the persistence and accessibility that are a big advantage when you're young and broke could well come back to haunt you 20 years later when you're being considered for the SVP position at Bank of America.
The idea seems to have most potential for disruption when combined with other media, such as emailing links to friends and family, as Shawn did, or including a link on LinkedIn, or as part of a website or blog. It would also be a useful tool with judicious screening (no pun intended) -- if I'm an executive recruiter who's narrowed down a set of candidates to 5 worth presenting to an employer, and I've vetted the content, asking each to respond to the same 3 questions, it could well be useful to the employer to prepare and to save long distance travel expenses if one candidate is clearly inappropriate (a bad fit culturally, for example). Much hinges on whether we are mature enough as a culture to get over the "equal opportunity" objections that are inevitable, even though all the same objections could be raised about an in-person meeting. It sure raises interesting ideas about how something as simple as a public library of free and searchable video will change the way we are doing things in just a few more years.
Other Points of View
Services that Overshoot the Need
... and Video Interviewing