Artwork by: Anja Schemeleva-Konovalenko
You may have heard about or seen infographic resumes. But are infographic resumes good to use? Are they better than a standard resume? We’ll let you know the scoop on the pluses and minuses with infographic resumes.
In a competitive industry, it’s really important to make your resume stand out however you can. Some folks consider using an infographic resume, thinking they are a creative and memorable way to showcase their qualifications or that using graphics and charts will help showcase achievements.
However, using an infographic resume can often hurt your job search.
Before you decide to go with an infographic resume, it’s important to consider whether it’s the right option for you and the job you want. We’ll cover this and more, including:
What is an infographic resume?
How could an infographic resume hurt your chances of landing a job?
Is it ever ok to use an infographic resume?
How do I create an infographic resume?
An infographic resume uses images and graphics instead of just text to depict your job experience, education, and skills. An infographic resume can have innovative layouts, multiple colors, and interesting fonts. Unlike traditional resumes, an infographic resume incorporates design elements, charts, graphs, icons, and other visual elements.
Gone are the days when you’d enter a business and hand your resume directly to a hiring manager. Now almost all companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to scan and categorize all resumes. This software is designed to scan text, so any information contained in a graph or image won’t be scanned at all. If your impressive sales achievements are contained in a bar graph, these details won’t ever get to a hiring manager. Similarly, if you use a fancy brand image for your name and contact information, those details won’t be connected to your resume at all–effectively costing you the chance for the job.
Additionally, if you're applying for a role in a conservative industry or a company with a more traditional hiring process, an infographic resume might not align with their expectations and could be seen as unprofessional.
Lastly, creating an effective infographic resume requires a strong design and data visualization skills, so if you're not confident in your abilities or don't have the time to invest in creating a polished infographic, it's better to stick with a well-structured traditional resume that highlights your qualifications effectively.
Short answer, yes, it can be ok to use an infographic resume, but only as a supplement to your traditional resume. For example, if you’re in a creative industry applying for a job online and the application has a space to upload additional documents, go ahead! Just make sure you upload your traditional resume as well as the main document.
Along a similar vein, if you’re in direct contact with a hiring manager or networking contact, feel free to send it along with your traditional resume. You could also upload it to LinkedIn or professional networking sites. Think of an infographic resume as a flier or your elevator pitch; it’s a brief, visual snapshot of your career, while a more traditional resume goes into more detail.
If you decide to create an infographic resume as a supplement to your traditional one, here are some tips:
Make sure you have a clean and attractive design. Use basic graphic design principles of alignment, balance, color, contrast, hierarchy, proximity, space, and repetition. If these concepts are foreign to you, then you may want to avoid an infographic resume or have a professional create it for you.
The resume has to be clear and easy to follow. The structure and visual flow must be clear for hiring managers to find the information they’re looking for. Don’t make it too busy. If you are leveraging your infographic version as a supplemental document (which we highly recommend), then it is okay to leave some things off because your traditional resume will have it.
Make very effective use of graphics. Only include items that add value and don’t have anything else. Space is extremely valuable, and you can’t afford to waste any. Don’t add fancy stuff or extras just because you can.
Highlight quantifiable achievements. Infographic resumes are the perfect opportunity to display your great quantifiable achievements. You can use graphics, charts, and graphs to show hard numbers like percentages, dollar amounts, or time. Get creative and make the numbers pop.
Stick to the traditional resume content. Maintain a reverse chronological order even when using images. Focus on skills-based experience. Create descriptive, but concise experience sections that include your best accomplishments.
You should only go with an infographic resume if you have the skills or access to produce an exceptional final product. A bad infographic resume will not help your job search, especially because they are seldom required.
An infographic resume is a visual representation of your career.
An infographic resume can be a great addition to your other career documents. Unless the hiring manager requires an infographic resume, consider it as a supplement to a standard resume or web profile.
If you decide to use one, make sure that your infographic resume has the content that promotes your experience and skills, and is not just a bunch of cool graphics.
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.