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The Infographic Resume

resume, bcjobs, infographic, careers

The internet is periodically abuzz with news of the impending death of the resume. A professional resume writer now in my 11th year of full time service, I am quite certain that the resume is still the basis of perhaps 98% of today’s recruitment process.

I’ve watched a few such trends come and go. The video resume burned bright for a nano-second. Really, does any recruiter have time to review even three-minute videos? Recruiters still spend less than 20 seconds per resume, on average.

Once the video resume died, the infographic resume took its place. Online articles, blogs, and even the odd printed book promoted it as an impressive job hunting tool.

“Are you still using a textual resume?” asked one headline. “Your text resume is soooo last century” claimed another.

But is that true? Check out these samples of the visual infographic resume. Eye candy, but as for content? Plain and not impressive.

The content of these resumes is bare-bones and a lost opportunity. “I know things,” as I saw on one sample, is completely devoid of key words and phrases and doesn’t even hint at a level of expertise of any kind. Useless.

Here’s the best reason to reconsider using this form of resume: anyone who uploads an infographic resume to an online application has lost the chance for an interview. This is because Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are now used by most employers and ATS cannot “read” graphics.

Programmed to read and score resumes, ATS are incapable of deciphering anything beyond a fairly basic format resume. Larger employers – municipal, provincial, and federal governments, health agencies, hospitals, and so on – rely on ATS (there are close to 200 versions of these in use), as do many others.

Software saves money by eliminating a human being’s salary and benefits, but it also provides a welcome level of transparency in recruitment. It doesn’t have an agenda of any kind, except that it loves good content!

But back to the infographic resume. This style of resume would be appropriate as a networking “teaser.” Even so, design and style are so individual – one person loves kitsch, another elegance; one loves water colours and another bold primary hues. You risk turning off your resume’s reader if your design distressed rather than impresses! Is that a risk worth taking?

If you are a graphic designer, absolutely, create an infographic resume to demonstrate your related skills. But be sure you continue to impress with content that “sells” rather than “tells.”

For those in tech, communications, trades, and other non-design positions, there are plenty of ways to add energy and style to a resume created in Word. (That’s the other difficulty with infographic resumes: they are super hard to create using only Word’s limited design abilities, and few job hunters use Word well, never mind Adobe InDesign!. For ideas, check out a few recent books – Modernize Your Resume and Modernize Your Job Search Letter. (Emerald Career Publishing)

The take-away is to apply critical thinking to the next resume substitute that comes along. How does it perform against recruitment procedures?

  • Will it work well against a recruiter’s time restrictions?
  • Does it fit with my field?
  • Is its appeal universal or niched?
  • How does it comply with applicant tracking system standards?



My next article will dive into the shadowy world of the applicant tracking systems, used extensively but flying under the typical job-hunter’s radar.

Stephanie Clark



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