Since I’ve been featuring my book reviews in here, I’ve had a number of “communication channels” open up with various publishers. When I contacted Wiley for a copy of Chris Brogan’s book a while back, their representative asked if I’d be interested in another book as well, Steve Garfield’s Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. As I’m involved in a couple of projects that involve web video, I said “sure”, although I’m not much an on-line video enthusiast (on my current “cobbled-together” computer, trying to watch video is frustrating at best).
The reason that I’m featuring Get Seen in here is that there is a trend, slowly spreading out of the tech sectors, of using video resumes or video add-ons to traditional resumes, and (while the book does not specifically address this niche) the material here is a very good introduction of how to get the techniques in place to produce one of these on your own.
One thing I hadn’t realized when starting in on this book, is that it was intended as a textbook and is part of a series of other educational material for social media training. Frankly, it was a “lightbulb moment” for me when I got back Steve’s answers to my interview questions, as I had been wondering about the format of the book. This is not something with a “story arc” but a section-by-section look at various aspects of how web video works, how it’s been done by others, and a whole lot of information on the technical details.
Again, this is not addressed to the job seeker, but the tools it provides will put you in a position to be able to add the “video resume” to your job search resources.
Steve Garfield’s answers to my interview questions are on the other side of the cut …
Q: Briefly, what’s your background?
A: Recently I’ve been working with companies to help them understand the benefits of using pocket video cameras to share casual video. Last year I taught New Media Tools for Journalism as Boston University and currently guest lecture at Emerson, Northeastern and other colleges. I also report for various citizen journalism sites.
I’ve produced video for local companies and prior to that focused on front end web site development. Prior to that I worked in computer sales, marketing and consulting, while at the same time produced a morning radio show in Boston.
Q: Have you had notable job-transition experiences?
A: The biggest transition was from web development to video production. At the time, I was working on a long term consulting project. After work I’d spend time learning all I could about putting video on the web. As I learned new tools and techniques, I’d post about what I learned on my blog.
When the web development contract ended, I made a conscious decision to move from coding to video production. It was a decision to move from a regular pay check to something that I was passionate about.
Q: Why did you decide to write Get Seen?
A: There needed to be a new textbook for people to learn the state of video on the web. Most of the current books were written years ago, and I had a store house of information from my blogging and teaching experience.
David Meerman Scott asked me to write a proposal to become part of his social media series.
Q: How do you see the web video explosion helping people in a job search?
A: Job seekers need to stand out over all others who are vying for the same jobs. One way to do this is to “Seek First to Understand”, as my favorite author Stephen Covey says in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That means that the job seeker should learn as much as possible about the company they want to work for, then they can use video tools to help them stand out.
A great example of this is recent Boston area college graduate Yifei Zhang. He really wanted to work for local inbound marketing company, HubSpot. Yifei researched the company and started up a blog to show his knowledge of their Search Engine Optimization techniques, Hey HubSpot!
He started off by introducing himself in a video. After a few more posts, we saw a video of him getting a tour of HubSpot’s office. This lead to an interview.
His video blog gained so much attention, that he ended up being hired by another Boston start-up, OneForty.
Q: If you had just ONE piece of advice for today’s job searcher, what would that be?
A: Learn how to use video and blogging tools, then focus on something that you are passionate about, and share that passion on a video blog. All job seekers should have a blog that prospective employers can visit.
For some companies, if you don’t have a blog or are involved in social media, you won’t even be considered.
Q: What do you feel makes your book unique?
A: Get Seen is unique because it includes stories from successful video producers that include the specific tools they use to produce video. I wanted to make sure we got model and makes of camera and microphones in the book because that’s what people always want to know, but hardly ever get explained. The book also includes step-by-step guides to help the reader emulate someone they might be inspired by.
Q: Aside from your book, what resources do you recommend?
A: First there’s a companion website at http://stevegarfield.com/getseen, that I’m constantly updating with news, hardware, and websites that have come out since the publication date of the book. I’ve also got forums, broken down by chapter, where readers and non-readers alike can take parts in discussions about topics in the book.
I would also suggest getting involved in a local group of like minded media makers. I run a group called Boston Media Makers, where people who are interested in media from many different fields. There are sister groups in New Hampshire, Washington, DC, Southern New England, and New York. Other groups are also forming in other cities.
Q: Any additional words of wisdom?
A: I love the advice of Gary Vaynerchuck to follow your passion. You really should love what you are doing. I know I do, and it’s lead to working relationships with Kodak, Panasonic, CBS and my pal Jimmy Fallon!
Video has enabled all these relationships and lead down many paths that I couldn’t have imagined at the start. Preparing yourself with with the tools and knowledge of how to produce great video could be the start for you too.
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One thing that I mention in my review is how frustrating the vast number of footnoted URLs are as one is reading the book … Steve Garfield responded with a note that there is a page on the Ning site for Get Seen specifically for this, listing links (see: http://getseen.ning.com/page/get-seen-links-footnotes/) for several hundred videos, sites, and other resources. Again, while this book is not about the job search, it is one of the first “manuals” about how to do web video, including all you’d need to know to work up a video resume for yourself.