Video Resume: High on Innovation, Low on Humility

Oct 16, 2006
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Yale University senior Aleksey Vayner, an aspiring investment banker, took the road less traveled when he applied for a position with financial services company UBS. Not only did Vayner toss aside the idea of the formatted one-page resume, he also may have temporarily sidelined the emerging belief that video resumes are a good idea.

Vayner mailed Sheena Sahibdeen at UBS an 11-page resume and seven-minute video, a documentary-style glimpse into what makes him such a great candidate. Along with the traditional listing of educational and extracurricular achievements, the video splices in images of the young man’s abilities in karate, tennis, and ballroom dancing, among other skills.

Vayner never intended for his materials to travel outside of the UBS walls, but this application somehow was leaked and became the e-mail forward du jour to numerous other investment banks and beyond. UBS is allegedly launching an internal investigation to determine how the materials were leaked.

Personality Goes a Long Way

Though Vayner’s stab at out-of-the-box thinking appears to have missed its mark in the investment-banking community, his approach to innovation is in line with ERE columnist John Sullivan’s latest article.

Yet the video has ERE member Joe Seibel questioning where candidates should draw the line on creativity.

“The video is definitely an attention-grabber,” Seibel says. “But the content and how he made himself seem was very condescending in the way he projected himself. From what I have learned in investment banking, you have to be willing to do what it takes and be a team player. The way he went about it was not very humble. It was innovative, but he did it in a negative way.”

Seibel, the 22-year-old co-founder of a recruitment firm in the food and beverage industry, says he has worked in the recruiting field to help get through college. After graduating in December with a degree in finance, he says he will also seek an entry-level position in investment banking and can relate to wanting to differentiate oneself in a competitive field.

“My true passion lies in investment banking, and I’ll do whatever it takes to show people what I have to offer. This is the industry where I belong,” he says.

However, even in this highly competitive atmosphere, Seibel says banking is a very conservative field and video resumes are not a wise move just yet.

“I consider myself an out-of-the-box candidate. So I have done a lot of different things for networking and to find out where these investment bankers go, where they have blogs, whatever it takes,” he says. “I’ve been sending my resume out and hoping that as a recruiter, you want someone who wants the job, not just someone who went to one of the top schools.”

He predicts that in a few years, with more telecommunications advancements, there may be more room for ploys such as Vayner’s video resume. He says he hopes to see a break between old-school investment banking recruiters and new-thinking recruiters who value a creative candidate who has really done the research, thought about the industry, and knows the field inside and out.

By the way, his one-page, traditional resume is a recently modified creation. After a summer internship in Switzerland, his advisors slashed his two-page resume into a conservative format more befitting of the traditional investment-banking environment. Seibel says he isn’t about to change a line on the new resume any time soon.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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