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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

should I include an audio clip with my resume?

A reader writes:

I had an idea which I wanted to bounce off of you. I was thinking one way I could make myself different from the rest of the pack is a quick audio overview of myself; sort of an elevator speech directed at the organization I am interested in. I am looking to apply for consulting positions in Information Technology. I believe an audio file will enhance my resume and cover letter, be very different from the rest of the pack, and show my charisma and ability to speak intelligently.

What do you think? Thanks!

I think no, for the same reason that video resumes are a bad idea: Most hiring managers are spending mere seconds on your resume before making a decision about whether to put you in their yes, no, or maybe pile. They don't want to watch or listen to a whole pitch; they want to scan the parts of your resume that they want to scan, and they want to do it quickly. Video or audio overviews remove that ability.

I also don't think an audio file would necessarily indicate charisma or ability to speak intelligently, because for all I know, you're reading a script that someone else wrote and which took you 20 tries to get to sound like that. I'm much more interested in how you speak extemporaneously, if we get to an interview.

Now, there might be some industries where this might be a better idea ... but I suspect that most hiring managers, like me, would just delete it.

What do others think?


HuntingToHired said...

I would be inclined to advise readers to include anything they can that will differentiate themselves, and a quick audio or video overview is a great addition (see for example; it shows that you're resourceful and creative, and willing to go the extra mile.

That being said, I completely agree that most managers won't take the time to listen to the audio or watch the video. It can put you over the top with the ones who do, but many won't.

The upshot is that integrating this extra media into your pitch is a good idea, so long as your pitch and application don't rely on it. This is just gravy, for good measure.

Christine said...

I like this question. I was also tossing around this idea for my own resume. I work in interactive advertising on the creative side, so I'm inclined to think in this particular field, it would make sense. But in some fields, like say, finance, it might not fly.

lillielil said...

I might listen to it, but I can't imagine anything in an audio clip making me think "this is the best candidate ever". I would be a lot more likely to think "wow, someone is really desperate."

Anonymous said...

I think this would hurt you rather than help you.

1st) Our applicant tracking system will not accomodate this type of file which means that it must be sent via email.

2nd) We recruit via craigslist so we have very strict security measures and anti-spam filters in place. I am pretty sure that if you included any audio or video clips to our HR, Volunteer, Donate, or other email addresses that we heavily distribute, our system would view your file as dangerous and delete it automatically... and I KNOW (because I have checked with IT) that we have lost a few resumes this way when the candidates do not follow the rules posted on the website.

3rd) Given the statments above, the only way to ensure that the file was delivered, would be to email it directly to the hiring manager. The only way to get past the recruiter to talk with the hiring manager is to actually KNOW the hiring manager... in which case, you wouldn't need the audio clip to begin with...

Gene said...

First words out of my mouth when I read the title, "Oh Hell no!"

Surya said...

Please don't. A hiring manager does not have the time to go through a 15 minute audio clip while the same information can be absorbed in much less time via a cv.

Remember, there is a way in which you can make your voice heard. It is called the interview round.

Audio clips should only be added when how you sound is the main criteria which determines if you get selected for the job or not.

And video overview? Unless you are auditioning for a reality show, dont even think about it.

Anonymous said...

Why would you include a flashy thing about your "charisma and ability to speak intelligently" when the chief concern of your boss in IT consulting is going to be your ability to efficiently and reliably solve problems?

Unknown said...

How about hyperlinks to samples of work, especially in the graphic and film industries, especially if its an electronic resume?

Someone told me no, but I feel like having it available is good.

raskal said...

An audio clip might be suitable in some fields but not in mine. A few of the reasons I'd hit delete:

1. The interviewee is expecting, I don't know how to put this - *more* from me upfront. Almost as if they should be granted favoritism or special treatment when another applicant that didn't follow instructions would be tossed.

2. This just screams 'look at me'. This tactic was annoying when my older sister did it and it's still annoying today. We've got a ton of applicants for EVERY job. Everyone gets the same review and consideration to avoid any appearance of impropriety or discrimination so no 'look at me' shenanigans please.

3. The quality and the content of the audio/video should be judged independently - or in other words, what you bring into the room is fair game. (I can hear the calculator keys of our legal department racking up the billable hours already)

4. Holy hell.. if every applicant attached a video or audio clip - our email server would fall over and just die. An attachment of any type (esp one from the outside) is subject to a thorough content scan. And guess what? If my viral and yours bug out your application/attachments will fall into the abyss. So that job you went out of your way to attach 'extras' too won't even make it to me.

Mostly, this is a tough job market and although I understand the need to stand out - do it in the format and medium as requested. Follow directions and wow me on the interview.

Anonymous said...

Unless your desired job involves coming up with gimmicks, then demonstrating your ability to be gimmicky doesn't have a place in job application. With the staggering unemployment, it's probably tempting to figure out a unique way to stand out among the pile of applicants, but what stands out most are skills that will make you the ideal candidate for the job. And with the staggering unemployment, those ideal candidates exist and are applying, and a flashy video/audio/flowers/cookies/arriving-late-on-purpose/strange outfit/etc. gimmick isn't going to beat them out. Unless you're going into a creative field, it's sort of an insult to hiring managers to expect that they'd be so dazzled by a multimedia presentation that they'd hire the candidate even if a stronger one was in front of them, sans multimedia. If you are the strongest candidate, you don't need to dazzle with gimmicks.

Anonymous said...

To answer Kevin's question -- I don't know what hiring procedures are like in the art and film industries, but I don't see how it would be intrusive or overboard for your resume to include a link to your professional website/online portfolio.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea of an audio file is horrendously cheesy. I'm going to agree with raskal and say it's got the 'look at me' factor, and in a negative way.

However, a link to some sort of creative portfolio, if it's appropriate to your industry, wouldn't strike me as strange at all.

Jonathan said...

I wouldn't listen to it if it were sent to me. If someone were to have it on their personal web site and include the url in their resume, I might (emphasis on might), if the resume piqued my interest, go to the web site and listen to the clip.

Generally, if someone sent me an audio clip, I'd think they were trying way too hard (in a bad way). That's not a good first impression.

And really, gimmicks just make you look gimmicky.

Surya said...

Kevin, yes, please include URLs. Also those of you applying to social media / online marketing jobs; instead of refering to yourself as social media gurus, please include a http link ( if too long, shorten it with URL shortenes ) which will let us see what you are talking about.