The rise of infographics
Graphically depicting information is not just a trend on tech blogs, it is also a rising trend with job seekers looking to stand out by visually representing a massive amount of data in a more tangible, memorable way (read: 7 reasons visual storytelling is one of 2012’s breakout trends). There are many who have been generous to share their visual resumes online publicly, so there is a wealth of examples available, but the real question is – do these infographic resumes work? Are they actually welcomed by employers and recruiters?
Michael Harding, co-founder of re.vu, a company that creates resume infographics said, “As a hiring manager, anything that can give me a sense of the whole person quickly is welcome. For the most part, I look at traditional resumes as a chronological list of lies. That’s much harder to pull off when using a dynamic, hyperlinked infographic resume that incorporates evidence of achievements and a history of interactions.”
Harding continued, “Part of the research we did when designing the [re.vu] product was with HR practioners – Recruiters, business partners, and hiring managers. A large majority preferred well crafted infographic resumes though most still wanted the familiarity and security of a traditional resume as well. I tend to believe that the infographic resume alone will be sufficient as people discover the benefits of the infographic approach.”
CareerTipster.com Founder, Robert Starks, Jr. said, “Although infographic resumes are a trend, I am confident there is still a preference for traditional resumes in non-creative industries. I believe the preference is due to familiarity with the traditional print collateral of resumes or Curriculum Vitaes but is also likely due to how resumes are received and analyzed by many companies that have Applicant Tracking Systems.”
Starks added, “However, preference doesn’t necessarily mean they would not be welcomed. Just as any job seeker should incorporate multiple file versions of their resume and many self-marketing strategies into their repertoire, an infographic resume would be another piece of marketing collateral a job seeker could use to effectively communicate their value proposition to an employer. Thus, I believe it would transcend into any career. As I indicated, I believe most employers prefer a traditional resume now but would likely see an infographic resume offered as part of an entire portfolio as an added bonus. Given that most candidates don’t even send thank you letters after an interview, a full portfolio with letters of recommendation, samples of work, and perhaps even an infographic resume, would be impressive. It definitely won’t hurt a job seeker.”
Making a critical note, Starks said, “I do not think it should replace one’s traditional resume, particularly when you are applying via electronic submission because you don’t know how companies screen resumes. It could go directly to a human being or could be filtered by an electronic Applicant Tracking System. Moreover, since traditional resumes are preferred (in my opinion and only as of now), to send an infographic initially may not be the best choice. It would be a great supplement to a traditional resume at this point.”
Case study: which are the most appealing?
Although it does not appear to be a replacement for a traditional resume, Starks and Harding both imply that infographic resumes are, in fact, welcomed by employers. So which visualizations are the most appealing?
We asked Hollyann Wood, Human Resources at big data infrastructure startup, InfoChimps to look at 40 infographic resumes1 (mostly for graphic designers) to tell us which, if any appealed to her, and if she would contact any of the 40 for an interview.
Wood’s top three graphic resumes are shown below, with her most favored at the top.
(Click any image below to see the full resume)
Wood said, “We love data and data visualizations here, and his are simple and easy to understand. They were actually designed to be representative of his skill level/commitment level. Not only that, but all of his [the first choice resume] contact information was clear and easy to find and read.”