Visual Resumes: Help or Hype?

In the competition to win job interviews, some savvy job seekers are turning to visual resumes: infographic resumes, presumes, social resumes and more. Will it help or hurt their chances? The answer is: it depends.

Content is king:

The content within your visual resume, should you choose to use one, must address the needs and wants of the employer – period. It doesn’t matter how slick or creative your visual resume is! What does matter is that the reader can easily find what they are looking for and that your content is relevant to the job and company! When you create your visual resume, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Content: Customize your content based on the skills and expertise required by the employer. This information is acquired through the job posting and conversations with company insiders.
  • Visuals: Use visuals on purpose, a fancy chart or graph that doesn’t mean anything is a waste of time.
  • Personality: Insert your personal flare – you have already chosen to step out on a limb with a different tool. Don’t overlook the opportunity to knock it out of the park by letting your personality shine. Think about color, outside interests or even appropriate personal quirks, like being a caffeine junkie).

Target the right audience:

Infographic resumes are not ATS-friendly, so don’t even try to submit it through an applicant tracking system. Instead, use it to catch the attention of a company insider. When you reach out to a contact inside the company, introduce your document as a quick visual overview of what you’ve done. By the way, there is data that suggests visual images are processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Avoid sending it to Human Resources or Recruiters. These folks typically review hundreds of resumes a day and expect to see a traditional text resume. Sending them anything other than a traditional text resume is not in your best interest.

Supplying a visual resume to a networking contact is another opportunity to pique the interest of the non-traditional resume reviewer. Imagine the conversation that could emerge when you show your visual resume?

Visual resumes tend to be more successful when applying for creative, less traditional roles, such as marketing. You will also see visual resumes used by graphic artists and designers. Almost any company that values or expects creativity, ingenuity or out-of-the box ideas would appreciate the visual interpretation of your story.

Share it:

It isn’t enough to create one of these – you need to share it too! Some suggestions include:

Infographics are hot:

In the marketing industry, infographics are hot! In case you hadn’t realized,  job seeking is marketing and many of the same principles and trends apply! HubSpot provided these interesting statistics:

  • 65% of the world’s population are visual marketers.
  • Google Trends shows Infographics grown over 800% in the past 2 years.
  • Using infographics increased traffic 12% more (on average).

Design skills not required:

If you are interested in creating visual resumes, such as infographic resumes, presumes, or social resumes, there are numerous options and new tools appear regularly.

If you aren’t a graphic designer and don’t have access design software, never fear. The free tools listed below are simple to use and, in most cases, all you need to do is link your social media profile (usually LinkedIn) and voila, a visual is produced! Some require you upload a bio and photo, but that is about as difficult as it gets:

Have you had success using your visual resume? We’d love to hear about it. Better yet, we’d love to see it!

By Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan provides no-nonsense help for new job seekers. She provides advice and serves as a guide to traverse the treacherous terrain of today's economy by focusing on pro-active strategies for job search and leveraging social networks. Career Sherpa is one of many outlets where Hannah shares her information. Follow Hannah on Twitter @careersherpa!