Your resume has 20 seconds (OK, maybe 6) to make an impression.
But it probably won’t.
Because, let’s face it, most resumes are incredibly boring. Sure, you can make it better by using active verbs and a snappy personal branding statement. You can get by with a little help from Google, which will help you find a kajillion Hot Resume Tips.
(Here’s a good one from Forbes: “If you were born and raised on a chicken farm, note it on your resume.”)
But even after the wordsmithering and—dare I say—even after a copywriter cuts and polishes, your CV might still fall flat.
So what’s a savvy job seeker to do?
Enter the Visual Resume
The trend started a couple of years ago, and a young fellow named Chris Spurlock evidently “set the internet on fire” last February when his awesome visual resume went viral. (I somehow missed that party.) A day after his resume was cross-linked on J-School Buzz and Huffington Post, Spurlock got 8,000 website hits and about a dozen job offers.
Trending Up or Passé?
Spurlock’s visual wizardry came about when infographics were piping hot least year. This year?
Not so much, according to Carrie Carter, a talent manager for creative staffing firm 52LTD. “There was definitely a peak when infographics were the cool thing to do,” she told me via phone this morning. “But now it’s almost passé.”
But Carter says visual resumes still stand out—only 15 to 20% of the resumes she sees (and she sees hundreds) take the visual approach. And Neiha Arora over at VitaminT, another creative staffing firm, says maybe only 1 in 10 resumes veer from the traditional format.
And the trend may be re-emerging. “I can definitely see potential for resume to head [the visual] way because there are more tools, so you don’t have to be a designer to make one,” Carter says.
Out With The Old . . . Or Stick with Tried-and-True?
If a visual resume helps you stand out, is that enough to make a difference? According to this LinkedIn discussion, infographic-based resumes aren’t yet on par with traditional Word versions.
“I doubt infographic resumes will soon take the place of standard resumes” comments resume writer Darlene Zambruski. Though career placement expert Eric Hilden says “I do believe it is an emerging trend.”
Good Looks Can’t Buy (Hiring) Love. But Stories Can.
Regardless of how a resume looks, talent recruiters agree that accomplishments and skills should be the most prominently featured information. And, above all, a resume should tell a clear story. Because just like traditional resumes, visual versions can “go horribly wrong” as Carter explains.
“If it’s just bar graphs and timelines, you lose the story of what they’ve accomplished and what their strengths are—beyond just hard skills,” she notes. “You always want the whole impression . . . cultural fit, working style. Especially in the creative services industry.”
See it Your Way
So, if you’re hunkering after a creative position, a visual resume might be your winning ticket to landing that first interview. A more traditional format might still be your preferred route if you’re searching for more traditional roles in more traditional companies.
But as new ways of thinking and sharing take hold (recruiters are increasingly looking at resumes on Pinterest) why not try something new?
Below is my stab at it, blatantly stealing some of the best ideas I’ve seen and designing in plain ol’ PowerPoint (a much better use of it than long and dreary slide decks!). What do you think?