TIPS TO SHOWCASE YOUR SKILLS & EXPERIENCE

Informing recruiters about your experience and skills is exciting and daunting at the same time. The challenge is minimizing “stranger danger” FAST and getting a legitimate shot at the position you want. The solution is making a significant, long-lasting first impression by providing a killer resume supported by video content highlighting your most impressive material up front.

The alternative is doing nothing while recruiters go online, formulate their opinion about who you are, and make decisions about you based on bits and pieces of incohesive data that may not serve you well.

Don’t take my word for it. In a recent study1, researchers reveal

• 48 percent of employers will use search engines (Google, YouTube, Yahoo, etc.) to research candidates.

• 44 percent will research the candidate on Facebook

• 27 percent will follow the candidate’s activity on Twitter

• 23 percent will review the candidate’s posts or comments on Yelp.com, Glassdoor.com or other rating sites. 

All of this can happen before you are even called for a job interview – that is if you get a call at all!

We’ll save the social media clean-up for another post. In the meantime, you should understand this is a new era. With all of the information floating around about you, the importance and value of taking control of your personal brand are immeasurable. Having a comprehensive presentation about your accomplishments and abilities ready at all times is in your best interest. Such a presentation should deliver a solid, cohesive message in a short amount of time to keep the recruiter’s attention without information overload.

Shortening the Time Between Contact and Connection

I started creating videos to get jobs faster in 1993. My goal was to speed up the screening process by providing due diligence information up front. In 1995 I started creating collections of short videos that addressed commonly-asked interview questions and burning them to CD-ROM. In 1997 I moved to Los Angeles to find more significant and lucrative opportunities. I used a resume with a CD-ROM to land an excellent position in 19 days.

Many job/position/internship seekers currently use a combination of available tools for promoting their skills and experience. These tools may include digital portfolios, personal web/landing pages, video, audio, photos, PDF files, infographics, presentations, and social media sites. Before Connexion Pointe®️, less tech-savvy folks would likely hire someone to manage these materials online instead of tackling the learning curve to do it themselves.

Now that Connexion Pointe®️ is available, you can use tools like Prezi, Keynote, PowerPoint, infographics, whiteboard animation, or any other tool/solution that is well-documented, easy to learn and can export your presentation as a standalone video file. Pointe Profile®️ offers a robust solution for aggregating your media online and providing more depth to your standard resume.

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Why Pointe Profile®?

Recruiters want to learn as much as they can to qualify candidates for positions, and they’ve made it clear they’re interested in video. That said, you should take advantage of a standing opportunity to be proactive! Use video to reduce unknowns and promote a cohesive message regarding your abilities, desire for the position, and fit with the organization.

Pointe Profile®️ provides the most accessible and practical pathway for recruiters to learn more at their discretion and convenience. Like it or not, everything starts with a resume, even if a trusted contact has highly recommended you.

  1. Your resume offers the bite-sized information recruiters expect and provides maximum convenience if they exercise their option to go further. Our excellent resume template includes a space for your Pointe Profile®️ link. Use it to create a fantastic looking PDF resume that gives the recruiters what they want! If a recruiter likes what they see on your resume, they can immediately use the link to view your interview.
  2. You can speak directly to the competencies necessary to be successful in the position you want by building a great, job-relevant behavioral interview in Pointe Profile®️. Recruiters can directly access any one of eight highly-focused-two-minute-or-less-responses to job-related questions. They can stop at any time, but if they like what they see in your interview, they can immediately go further by taking a look at your Experience playlist.
  3. The Experience Playlist is a list of videos that add even more weight to your resume and interview with detailed presentations of your experience, abilities, and accomplishments. Many recruiters would never get this far unless they were interested, so it’s the perfect opportunity for using multimedia to bring your experience to life.

You can see where I’m going with this. If you have the right stuff, your well-organized Pointe Profile®️ could “breadcrumb” recruiters towards getting to know your most important attributes and even addressing specific questions that may be asked of you later. Will it guarantee that you’ll be seen? No, but it does ensure that if your resume ends up in front of the hiring manager, they’ll learn what you want them to know.

Questions to Answer on Your Experience List

Lou Adler(2), a thought-leader in human resources, writes the most important interview question for recruiters to ask is, “Can you describe your most significant career accomplishment?” While the second most important question would attempt to reveal more of your thought processes behind accomplishing a goal. Although the question would differ slightly based on your industry, Adler explains the question may also sound similar to the following: “One of the biggest challenges in this job is (short description provided here). If you were to get the job, how would you go about solving it?”

Either of these behavioral-based questions is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and accomplishments during an interview.

Creating an Experience List Video

You should focus on the quality of your presentation but keep in mind that you needn’t be Francis Ford Coppola or Steven Spielberg to give recruiters relevant information that’s easy to digest. Their goal is not being entertained or wowed by your movie-production skills; they’re looking for someone to join their team who can contribute solutions to their challenges.

Each position from your previous experience can be explained in 2 minutes or less. If two minutes doesn’t seem like enough, turn on any news program, open a stopwatch app on your smartphone, and see how much information they will cover in two minutes. If the general public is accustomed to accepting information that is organized and concise, like it is in the news, it’s highly likely a recruiter will be too. If you need to go longer than two minutes, you should be confident that the story is extraordinary and compelling for your audience! Under NO circumstances should ANY video in this context go more than 3 minutes (3)! The key is choosing a focus for the presentation and keeping it concise.

Give your videos an excellent title that explains what the video is about to pique the interest of the recruiter.

Here’s An Example in 4 Steps

Assuming you’re a fledgling architect, here’s a hypothetical example of how you could go about creating an experience video using the two questions presented by Lou Adler:

  1. Start by using the S.T.A.R. method to formulate an answer to Lou Adler’s question “What is your greatest accomplishment?”
  2. Record your answer as a narration in PowerPoint or Keynote and then add the visual elements to support the narrative. Your response should include comments about your experience, how it applies to the type of position you want, and the value your expertise brings.
  3. Export your finished presentation as an MP4 video file. The video should use H264 compression, stereo AAC sound, and the dimensions should be similar to 854 x 480. A one minute video with these specifications should be 7-15 MB and stream beautifully from the web. Note: Uploaded videos can not include hyperlinks or “manually advance.”
  4. Upload the video to your Experience playlist.

By following this example, you would have a great looking resume (including a Pointe Profile®️ link), a solid, job-related, behavioral-based interview ready-to-go, and expanded information in the Experience Playlist, all in one location. By sharing your resume and Pointe Profile®️ interview link, you’re taking control of your personal brand and messaging while empowering recruiters to learn what you want them to know about you.

What have you got to lose? The alternative is having nothing ready, responding to cattle calls (online and in person) and relying on a stranger to recognize your real value after a 6-second glance at your resume, a cursory Google search, and a look at a few of your tweets or Facebook posts from 2 years ago. Good luck with that.

Why not give this a shot?

Experience Video Use Cases

A Grammy® For A Promise

The reality is most real-life-experiences do not look or feel glamorous at all. As a session musician, I often recorded my parts on songs while sitting alone in my home studio while my son Chase slept on the couch next to me. When I finished, I shared the files with my client using via email, Google Drive or DropBox. That’s not so exciting for you to read or for me to write! The most significant challenge in making any experience video is bringing your story life in 2 minutes or less without losing focus on professionalism. The S.T.A.R. method is not the only method available for constructing your experience videos.

Connexion Pointe®️ University has videos highlighting several response methods and any of them can be used for this purpose. In this example, I used the S.A.R. method to construct an answer to Lou Adler’s question.

Situation – After hearing my performance on a Marion Meadows recording, a legendary jazz guitarist named George Benson personally contacted me to participate in his duet project with a vocalist named Al Jarreau in Los Angeles. One of the most difficult challenges of working in my industry is that you must be free to travel on short notice.

Action – I initially accepted Benson’s invitation but later had to turn the opportunity down because I promised my young son I wasn’t going to travel out of town for work anymore. I did not want to forfeit the opportunity outright, and technology was available to facilitate my participation in the project. I shared with Benson that I recorded most of my performances at my home studio in Arizona, and delivered them to clients over the internet. I indicated my extensive track record of success in this space, so I asked him to consider doing business with me in this manner. 

Result – Weeks later Benson informed me he was working with a local Producer named Michael Broening. Broening composed, produced and hired me to perform on the Meadows project. Benson agreed to allow me to record my parts on two songs at my home studio and deliver them to Broening over the internet. Broening’s production was outstanding, and the first single called “Mornin’” went to #1 on the Billboard charts before being nominated and winning a Grammy®️Award in 2006 for Best Pop Instrumental. The Grammy® was not my greatest accomplishment because I didn’t win the Grammy on purpose – It was entirely by chance. The real achievement was intentionally keeping my word to my son, and subsequently being rewarded with the music industry’s highest honor as a result of that action.

This video has been very effective at communicating my greatest accomplishment while adding some critical information that may help establish “fit.” Many of my new clients start our first conversation by referencing this video, which often leads to a much better conversation than the typical “gotcha moment” interview questions or generalized inquiries about skill. For this presentation, I used Apple’s Keynote (“Showroom” theme) and I scanned all of the photos and used a sample of the finished project to tell a short story. I exported the presentation as a video. While creating this presentation, I discovered the Wall Street style ticker-tape messaging function in Apple’s iMovie. This was not by design or planned – it was completely a fluke discovery. I opted to remove my voice narration and use the Wall Street ticker so a viewer/recipient could learn the story but also focus on my recorded performance. I thought this element made the video more interesting since the words are moving and all of the other visuals are “still” photos. As I learned to do this, I discovered how I could use Keynote for some things and iMovie for others. The animated globe at the beginning is a stock animation in iMovie. I used it to visualize the internet connection between my client and I. Finding new tools and presentation strategies happened naturally – I just had to take the first step and get started.

The World’s First Internet Recording 3-Peat

Sometimes it’s better to be extremely brief and straight to the point. After trying several methods, this accomplishment always seemed too long to describe verbally. The achievement is extremely rare, so I wanted to include it on my Experience list. There were three very different pieces of music from three artists, and I concluded there was no way to feature each song or name the artists in this experience video. Eventually, I decided to mimic a television commercial I saw that only used titles and background music. I scanned the CD Covers and Billboard charts, and just tried various layouts until it was as simple as possible. Standard transitions in the Keynote program generate the movement of the objects. The music is a royalty-free piece available in iMovie. This video is another example of how a few photos, a few words, and a straightforward presentation can be impactful.

When Less Than Half is More

“Speaking Behaviorally” is a term we describe in Connexion Pointe® University. Here is an example where I’ll use the SAR method to detail making the video.

Situation: The first week the 3-Peat happened, I was actually on 4 of Billboard’s Top 10 Smooth Jazz singles, and according to Nielsen Research, I was present on 46% of the Smooth Jazz airplay in the US. One of the songs in the chart that week was for another Bassist named Wayman Tisdale. These were also noteworthy accomplishments, so I wanted to share them.

Action:  Making a video for each of these accomplishments seemed to be a bit much, so I decided to combine them into a short presentation together. I didn’t like the sound of my voice, so I asked a friend to re-record my response to the “greatest accomplishments” question. I used the Voice Memos app on my iPhone to record her voice and emailed the file to myself so I could add it to Keynote. The visual here is simple – it’s a motion background of fire. I’m not a designer, and I have no talent for designing – I just liked the idea of using it. It was only $10, so I thought “This music is “hot” right now so why not use fire?” Again I used the scanned CD covers and Billboard charts, and then I tried different layouts until I liked what I saw. Standard transitions in the Keynote program generate the movement of the objects. Being in the music industry, I wanted to take advantage of being a little bit “less than formal” without sacrificing professionalism.

Result: This video does an outstanding job of informing potential clients about these achievements and reminding current clients of my valuable service. Many clients have shared it with others to inform and recommend me for other opportunities. Having this video at the ready has been enormously helpful because I don’t have to “blow my own horn” while interacting with new or existing clients, and folks recommending me can do so knowing the presentation is professional and impressive.

Conclusion

In my opinion, an employee at a business is a lot like being a sideman to the stars:

  1. The star’s name is usually well known and advertised (like the name of a company),
  2. while contributors like me (or employees like you) make it happen behind the scenes. Our faces are not seen, and our voices rarely heard, but we indeed are the backbone of the business!

The Experience list in Pointe Profile® is your stage to highlight and share the significance of your previous work! At the very least, you can record a video of yourself sitting at a desk responding to even more questions. At the other end of the spectrum, you have at your disposal every known trick of the trade to share your information with video. I hope these examples inspire you to go further in presenting your best you in your job search!

The Experience Tab