How to use a visual resume to get noticed by recruiters

  • Submitting infographic resumes that show visual representations of your work instead of a standard CV can help your job application stand out. 
  • While these resumes are typically popular for marketing, design, and communications, less creative fields are also open to receiving visual resumes.
  • Not every part of a resume warrants an infographic. Try to highlight accomplishments, numbers, or skills and use a template if you’re uncomfortable with creating your own designs.
  • You might want to keep your plain resume on hand for applicant tracking systems, and send your creative resume to the hiring manager directly.  
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With millions of job seekers submitting resumes online, it can be hard to make yours stand out. So what if you told your career story in bright colors, charts, and pictures instead of just plain old black-and-white words like everybody else? Yep, that’s a thing. And an increasingly popular thing thanks to our data-obsessed culture. Infographic resumes are part of the new generation of resumes that get you hired.

As creative pros know, a visual representation of your “work self” can be a fantastic way to get noticed. In fact, it may just be a better way to get your message across, depending upon the person on the other side of the desk.    

“About 65% of the population are visual learners,” said Rochester, New York career coach Hannah Morgan, author of “The Infographic Resume.” “Before written language, our brains were hardwired to look at images, not read words.”

Before you toss your standard CV, here are a few tips to make the most of a visual resume.

Decide if it’s right for you

You’re most likely to see infographic resumes in fields like marketing, design, data analysis, and communications, which makes sense. If you’re a graphic designer or a data analyst, a visual resume is a slam dunk: It shows hiring managers that you live your work and gives them a taste of what you could do for them.

But what if you’re in a less creative or data-driven field? Will a visual resume turn employers off?

Not necessarily. “I did a survey of recruiters and asked if they would be open to seeing an infographic resume,” said Morgan. “The majority said they would love to see one. It’s like flipping through a magazine, and all of a sudden you see a pretty picture. Job seekers have very little to lose in trying something creative.”

A great example of this is this disaster recovery service professional’s visual resume, which does a fantastic job highlighting the job seeker’s skills at a glance.

Read more: I reviewed 587 resumes in 49 hours to help people impacted by the pandemic. Here are my best tips on how to build a resume that stands out — along with the best examples.

Know what to show

Certain facts lend themselves better to graphical interpretation than others. 

Did you boost profits last year and have the numbers to prove it? Show it. Have you invested 1000 hours in specialized training? Call that out.  

“Numbers pack a punch,” said Morgan. “All infographics have a call-out, a bubble with a stat. For job seekers, that can be accomplishments or even skills.”

For examples of how other people visualize job skills and accomplishments, check out Morgan’s Pinterest page or these resume samples.

Take advantage of templates

You might figure that you’d need to be a Photoshop or Powerpoint guru to create great visual resumes that get you hired. It’s true that “if you don’t have great design skills, your infographic resume could look really wrong,” said Morgan.

But some creative people have created plug-and-play resumes that do the design work for you. “Templates are great because someone has already done the work to make it have good bones,” said Morgan.

Check out sites like Pictocv.com, ResumUp.com, and Kinzaa.com for inspiration. You could also hire someone to create one from scratch. It will cost more, but you’ll get a unique design you can call your own.

Read more: 7 recruiters from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other major companies looked over my resume and offered feedback. Here are 5 things they liked — and what they said I should change.

Hang onto your plain vanilla resume

Applicant tracking systems — the computer programs that allow you to submit job applications online — are here to stay. The software allows HR people to sift through candidates, searching for keywords and the “right” fit. 

Those tools can’t read PDFs or image files generated by programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop, and those are the formats in which you’ll likely save a visual resume. So make sure you still have a trusty old MS Word resume with the same information on it to use when you’re applying online; you still need it to get your foot into the proverbial door.

Get your visual one into the right hands

To use an infographic resume as the self-marketing tool that it is, you’ve got to work a little harder to get it seen.  So once you’ve sent in your standard res through the online channels, dig up contact info for the hiring manager and send your creative resume directly. (Skip human resources on this one, Morgan warned. “HR people don’t want to see pictures, especially of people, for legal reasons.”)

Through a little online sleuthing, you can probably find an email address for the person who leads the department you want to work in. It’s worth the extra effort to get your masterpiece into the hands of the person you really want to impress — your next boss.

And if you want to double-check that you’re working with a resume that gets you hired, have yours green-lit by the pros.

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