How to Create an Infographic Resume
When You Need an Infographic Resume (and When You Don't)
In a high-competition environment, some job seekers are turning to tools like infographic resumes in order to stand out from the crowd. Should you have an infographic resume? The best answer is: it depends.
Generally speaking, you should only create an infographic resume if you have the resources (either your own skills and expertise, or the ability to hire a designer) to pull off an exceptional final product. Anything sub-par will only harm your job search, especially because in the vast majority of cases, infographic resumes are not required. Here’s more information on when to use an infographic resume and how to create one.
What Is an Infographic Resume?
An infographic resume differs from traditional resume styles in that it uses graphic design elements. Whereas a traditional resume will simply use basic text to list information from top-to-bottom, an infographic resume uses layout, color, icons, and font styling to organize content.
When to Use an Infographic Resume
Generally speaking, unless requested, hiring managers prefer traditional resumes over infographic resumes. Unless you are a design professional, it can be really hard to pull off a great infographic resume, and sending in a not-so-great one is likely to do more damage than good. Another major downside of an infographic resume is that they can be missed in the job application process, as a company’s Application Tracking System, which automatically scans resumes for keywords, may not be able to recognize text in an infographic resume.
So, when should you use an infographic resume? Unless it is specifically requested, consider it as a supplement to post on your LinkedIn profile, or to attach if you are emailing directly with a recruiting or a hiring manager (but always be sure to include your traditional, original version).
How to Create an Infographic Resume
Once again, great infographic resumes are really hard to pull off. In addition to having the ability to execute a high-level design, you’ll also need an understanding of common graphs and visualizations used to express data. After all, the definition of an infograph is a “visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data.”
So, let’s break it down. How to create an infographic resume depends on your experience not just with design, but with infographs. Messing it up will reflect poorly on you, not just because the final product will look bad, but an improperly used graph (for example, using a bar chart or pie graph incorrectly) also conveys a lack of knowledge beyond design. If this sounds like tricky territory, that’s because it is.
If you’re brand new to design and this is the first time you’ve heard the word “infograph,” you may want to consider hiring a freelance designer (try a site like Upwork.com, or even Fiverr, though remember, you get what you pay for) to guide you through the process. It can be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to create a good infographic resume with zero experience.
If you’re familiar or experienced with graphic design, your best bet is to start out with a template. Even if you don’t have access to design software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, sites like Canva, Easel.ly, and Visualize.me, can be great options. Canva is easy to use, free, and has a ton of resume templates, and although not all of them are “true” infographs, they do employ elements of design, color and layout that will jazz up your resume. (However, one word of warning: if, for some reason, the job you’re applying to specifically requested an “infographic” resume, you will need to use charts to represent your resume’s “data,” and therefore you will need to do more than just use a hip font and place your text on a colored background.)
Infographic Resume Tips & Tricks for All Skill Levels
Regardless of your experience, there are several guidelines you should always follow.
First, minimize your use of colors. The best bet is to stick to three to four colors, either varying shades or separate colors that work well together. Blues and greens are a good starting point. Ideally, your background should be a solid light color, with darker text.
Second, remember this is a professional document. Avoid loud, cutesy or cartoon-ish graphics that will detract from the content of your resume. Be mindful of your font use. Make readability your number one priority, and avoid using any outlandish or highly-stylized fonts. A good check to use can be, “Do I see this font commonly used around the Internet?” Or, even better, would the font be used on the company’s website? If the answer is a resounding no, that’s probably your answer, too.
Third, ensure your layout makes coherent sense. You should aim to follow some sort of logical, or chronological, flow of information. For example, your name and email shouldn’t be at the bottom of the document. If you’re brand new, this is where a template will come in really handy.
Finally, the most important: keep it simple. This cannot be stressed enough. Even if your design employs a masterful use of charts and uses beautiful colors, if it’s hard to read or if the key components of your resume are challenging to decipher, the infographic resume is absolutely going to work against you. Keep it clean, keep it simple, and remember that you’ll still need to include essentials such as your name, contact information, academic background and work experience.
In terms of design, there are so many more unwritten “rules” to consider. Your best bet is to research sample infographs and infographic resumes to get a sense of what other people are doing. Be objective with your own work, and get a second opinion from a trusted friend.
Especially if the document is not required, the most important question to consider is: will this help, or hurt, my job application? You don’t get bonus points just for providing an infographic resume. In order for the document to do you any favors, it has to be exceptional.
Your Infographic Resume Tool Kit
- Review the 20 design rules you should never break. Although you can’t become a designer in one day, you can brush up on fundamentals that will come in handy, even if you’re just tweaking a template.
- Review the basics of infograph creation. After all, infographs are the backbone of an infographic resume. This free, crash course in infograph creation is also a handy resource.
- Remember, if you don’t have access to design software (which can be very expensive) use a site like Canva, Easel.ly, or Visualize.me.
- Search Pinterest for keywords like “infographic resume” or “infographic visual resumes” to browse examples. Here’s a board to get you started.