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This is the average amount of time that a hiring manager will spend reviewing your resume before they go on to the next candidate.
According to a study conducted by TheLadders, 80 percent of the job recruiter’s time will be spent on just six key elements in your resume:
While this may be disheartening news for those who have spent hours or even days creating a top-notch resume, the reality is that competition is fierce and it’s only becoming tougher to get noticed nowadays.
To avoid the fate of other unimpressive resumes that get thrown in the “no” pile, many job candidates have resorted to turning their text-based Word resumes into visually captivating infographics.
As with traditional resumes, however, you have to know the do’s and don’ts before you set out to create your own. After all, attempting to get noticed can do more harm than good if you don’t know what works in each industry.
To aid you in your job search and your mission to create an infographic resume that will land you your first interview and possibly a job, we’ve compiled some of the best advice from experts such as job recruiters and designers to provide some resume help, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to create an infographic resume that is sure to impress.
The first step is to determine whether an infographic resume would catch the eye of a recruiter within your industry or simply turn them off.
Erin Anderson, senior vice president of the human resources department at the education technology company 2U, states that while infographics can certainly add value to candidates’ resumes, the positions to which they are applying are the most important factor in determining whether or not a graphical display of qualifications will improve their chances of securing an interview.
Since hiring managers have already been trained to scan for specific information in the anticipated flow of information in a traditional resume, many are not willing to go through the extra effort of reviewing an infographic resume in a format that is new to their eyes. For this reason, it’s always advisable to include a traditional text-based resume along with your infographic resume.
Another factor you have to take into account when deciding whether an infographic resume would be appropriate is if the company in question uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). In the case it does, it wouldn’t be able to scan the information contained within an infographic resume. On the other hand, if it’s a creative position that doesn’t use an ATS, such as in the example below, then you stand a much better chance of impressing with a visual resume.
Amanda Augustine from the job-matching service TheLadders advises using infographic resumes when you have a networking contact who can pass it along directly to a hiring manager or job recruiter. This way, you can ensure that a pair of eyes, and not a computer system, will be reviewing it.
If your industry is averse to out-of-the-box thinking--such as Finance or Medicine--then you might think twice before sending an infographic resume.
In essence, you should ask yourself: Will an infographic resume help me to paint a clearer picture of my talents, abilities, and relevant experience or not? If the answer is yes, then keep reading.
Another common mistake you should steer clear of when creating your infographic resume is attempting to cover up a poor track record with attractive design.
Hiring managers have been trained to spot this sort of tactic, so steer clear of exaggerating your credentials in any way.
However, if you’re in a results-based industry, such as sales or marketing, by all means highlight your accomplishments with numbers displayed in a graphical format, as in the example below.
Just like with any effective infographic, you have to find a compelling story that weaves a purposeful and impressive personal narrative. Beyond the individual bullet points, sections, and graphs you plan to include in your resume, what story will your resume tell about you as a professional. Are you a star salesperson? Then include all the relevant and supporting information that will make this point stand out to the reader. Are you an accomplished writer? Then emphasize the accomplishments and skill sets that back up this assertion. In the end, you simply have to ensure that every word, sentence, and bullet point supports your central storyline, such as in the example below.
Some experts even advise going as far as creating various resumes with different storylines and objectives, depending on the target audience in question. For example, if you have several skill sets--let’s say you’re a writer, editor, and marketer--you could create one version targeted at media companies, another designed for marketing positions, and yet another for editing positions.
Now that you have a general overview of your storyline and a clear idea of your primary objective, you can define the structure of your infographic resume. Will you organize information chronologically or categorically? Will you use a timeline or a map? A bar chart or a pie chart? the format you choose will ultimately depend on the kind of information you have and how you can best represent this visually.
The main features you can include in your infographic resume include:
Photo: While in certain industries, it is not common practice to include a picture of yourself, in others, such as creative industries and those that require good presence, the inclusion of an attractive head shot can work in your favor.
Timeline: Most infographic resumes make use of this visual format to highlight career milestones, notable achievements, and career history.
Quotes: You can significantly improve your credibility by including what others have to say about you and your past work, such as previous managers, colleagues, and clients.
Headlines/Taglines: These headers can significantly improve readability by summarizing the main ideas of each section.
Statistics: Use these to highlight your accomplishments, especially if you’re in a results-oriented profession, such as sales or marketing. For example, you can include statistics of your results and ROI for clients.
Tag clouds: Another way to break the mold with your infographic resume is to use tag clouds, which can be used to highlight skills, interests, personality traits, and areas of expertise.
Logos: A surefire way to provide social proof is by inserting the logos of big-name brands and companies you’ve worked for in the past. You will certainly reap the rewards of the name recognition and credibility elicited by a well-known brand or media organization, in the case that a publication has featured your work.
In implementing these features, make sure to “wow” your audience with concrete evidence. How many lines of code have you written? By what percentage have your efforts increased revenue growth? How much have you raised in funds? Use facts and figures that will set you apart from your competitors.
Before you dive straight into designing your actual resume, create a wireframe that lays out the placement of elements on the page. This way, you can ensure a clear information flow and adherence to the basic principles of design.
Some of the essential rules you should keep in mind when determining the overall impact and look of your infographic resume are the Gestalt Principles of the Unified Whole. These are basic design principles that will help you combine elements in a harmonious and cohesive manner, providing the viewer with a pleasant reading experience.
One of the marks of an effective infographic is its ability to summarize and communicate a ton of information in an easily digestible and, yet, visually attractive format. Many infographics make the mistake of trying too hard to attract attention with a new and creative data visualization, but the truth is that many of these don’t fulfill their purpose of making the complex easy to understand, as seen in the following infographic:
This resume, on the other hand, keeps it simple, but, at the same time, does an excellent job of communicating essential information and, in the end, leaving the reader wanting more. It sticks to two colors, prominent headings, and big numbers to make certain points and figures stand out more than others.
Some applicants try too hard to be original by revealing their personality traits and hobbies in their resumes, but this doesn’t always pay off. Take the infographic below, for example. Unless the position this candidate is applying to is focused on finding the right personality fit for a specific corporate culture, then some of this information is a waste of precious space. Not all hiring managers are interested in the last country you visited or the fact that you love vests.
In other cases, however, adding just the right personal touch to your resume can go a long way in piquing the reader’s curiosity, as is the case with this infographic:
The key is to know exactly who you’re speaking to and what they want to hear.
The color scheme you choose for your infographic resume will make a huge difference in its overall impact. While blues are ideal for resumes because they communicate dependability and professionalism, other colors such as black evoke a sense of sophistication and elegance. If you want to learn more about how colors can be adequately combined to send the right message, consult our two-part color psychology guide. Whatever you do, avoid experimenting with too many colors and stick to a maximum of two to three.
Not unlike a landing page, you also want to include a call to action at the end of your infographic resume. If not, you will have wasted an opportunity to further engage a potential employer. For example, if you’re a writer and have writing samples or a blog you want to show off, then include a call to action asking the reader to “check out your blog.” Or, if you simply want them to contact you, include your contact information. You could also ask them to “Connect via LinkedIn” and include a link to your profile.
Now that you know what makes for a resume that will impress--rather than repel--hiring managers, you can start experimenting with a few online resume tools.
Visme, for example, gives you a good starting point by providing you with dozens of resume templates. You can easily customize the look of your resume by using its vast library of icons, images, fonts and color combinations. You can try it for free here.
And if you want to learn all our secrets on how to create an effective infographic resume (from how to write content for your visual to the design process), grab our free e-book below.
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