People are communicating in an increasingly visual way. In fact, images are often favored over textual modes of communication. What’s more, with social media as not only an accepted, but essential facet of your professional life, being fluent in visual communication will only increase your visibility and credibility.
That’s why job hunters are looking for ways to make their applications stand out visually. Video resumes, slide show resumes, and perhaps the most popular of the visual resume formats, infographic resumes.
Infographic resumes are the perfect synthesis of eye-catching visual storytelling and text. They present you as a creative, design-conscious person who takes risks. They also demonstrate your ability to distill information into clear and concise text and image.
In a pile of text resumes, an infographic resume is sure to get a second glance. Because of this, you need to make sure that your design delivers. While a visual resume will grab the attention of prospective employers, you want to make sure the attention is positive.
Here are 5 tips for creating an infographic resume that sells you to employers.
1. Know your audience.
I probably don’t have to tell you that when applying for a job, you should always do your research. But when you are planning on using something as unusual as an infographic, it is especially important to make sure that the company you are applying to will be open to an unusual resumes like an infographic.
Take the company into consideration when designing your infographic resume. It is generally a good idea to avoid designs that are too cute, too dark, or too crazy. Stick with sleek, easy to read colors on a light neutral background.
The success of an infographic resume will largely depend on the industry you are applying for. Creative fields are undoubtedly more likely to be receptive to visual resumes than, say, finance fields. They will be looking for traditionally professional resumes in simple black and white.
That being said, be sure to research each specific company to get a sense of their values, their company culture, and their media approach. You never know.
2. Use your space wisely.
An infographic will not afford you enough space for the same amount of text as a classic resume. What it will make up for in lack of text is originality, creativity and visual appeal. Because you have less space for text, choose the text you are going to include carefully. Every sentence must have a purpose and pack a punch in as few words as possible.
Paring down your sentences in this way is actually a good thing to do on a classic resume as well. Wordiness weakens the message your message. Strong, compact sentences show your confidence and capability.
It is imperative that your information be easy to read, even if you use a creative design. A timeline is a good format to follow because you can present your information in chronological or counter-chronological order, with an easy-to-follow connective line.
3. If you’re not a designer, consider using a template.
Maybe you’re not a designer looking for a design job, but you still want your resume to stand out. You don’t want to risk a good opportunity by submitting a sub-par infographic resume. In that case, it is a good idea to use a template. A template can provide you with a solid base which you can then personalize.
Conversely, if you know a designer, you should ask them for their feedback. They might even be willing to give you a hand. A second set of eyes will see things you missed, especially when you’ve been looking at a design for so long.
Look at examples of infographic resumes other people have made to see what works and what doesn’t. Remember: above all else, your infographic must be easy to read. Busy employers are not going to spend a lot time trying to decipher information. When an infographic resume works, it delivers information in a concise and memorable way. When it doesn’t work, it confuses the reader and makes them wonder why you chose an infographic over a traditional resume.
4. End your resume with a call to action.
It isn’t enough to simply present your creative infographic resume. You need to incite a response from the reader. Asking for a job outright may be a bit presumptuous, but asking the reader to follow you on LinkedIn or Twitter, asking them to meet for coffee, or simply when you are available for a call.
Pointing employers to your social media will also give them an opportunity to get to know you a bit better before they even meet you (as long as your social media is work-appropriate). Maintaining active Twitter and LinkedIn profiles show employers that you like to engage with your industry and that you are not afraid to share your voice.
5. Always have a backup.
Certain application processes won’t allow for an infographic resume, like online forms. That doesn’t mean that you should skip out on those job opportunities. Prepare a classic (but still organized and slickly designed) resume for situations where an image isn’t compatible. You will probably also want to bring a classic resume along with your creative copy to the interview.
With these secrets in mind, you should be able to create a beautiful and eye-catching infographic resume. Consider it your first example of the kind of innovative work you can do for your prospective employer. Treat it with the same care and attention for detail that you would strive to at your job. Best of luck on your job search!
Here is an example of an infographic resume that incorporates the tips in this article.