Human beings, by nature, are visual creatures. Using an infographic resume when applying for a new position is one way to make yourself stand out and be remembered, but they are not suitable in every industry or situation. Knowing when to use an infographic resume and when to stick to a traditional format is paramount during your career search.
1. Supplement Your Resume
An infographic resume uses appealing images such as a graphs or charts to condense large amounts of written data into visuals that are quick and easy to read. Experts such as Marie Zimenoff, Executive Director of Career Thought Leaders, a think tank of career industry leaders, recommends infographic resumes as a supplement to traditional resumes—not as a replacement for them. While you may provide a potential employer with a traditional resume, offer your infographic resume in addition—as part of a portfolio—especially if you are applying for a position in an industry that requires creativity, artistry, or design.
Hannah Morgan, an author and job search strategist who regularly contributes to U.S. News and World Report on job searches and careers, said there are three times when an infographic resume is appropriate: when networking, cultivating insider support in a company after locating an opening, and during interviews.
Morgan advises that when networking with someone in person or online, you offer your infographic resume as a quick shot in the arm. She said people often don’t want to bring a piece of paper to networking events as there may not be a job available or they simply don’t want to look desperate by bringing their full resume. This is where the infographic resume is a great tool.
“When you talk to someone in a networking environment, you’re really there to share information,” Morgan said. “The infographic resume makes it easier to have a conversation and allows people to glance at your graphs, charts, and pictures to gather information quickly. It also allows you to engage with the people you are networking with. Our brains are also hardwired to remember pictures better than words, so they will remember you better.”
3. Championing Support
Another time to employ your infographic resume is when you have identified an opening at a company and you want a referral from an insider. Morgan said what typically happens if you try to send your resume into anyone is they forward you on to someone else. With an infographic resume, you can engage the first person you talk to, which makes them more likely to advocate for you.
“The best way to get your resume to the top of the stack is to get referred,” said Morgan. “If you can find someone inside the company that you know, or don’t know, you can offer your infographic resume to them. That infographic resume is a teaser to get that person inside the company to have an initial conversation with you.”
4. During The Interview
“When you are introducing yourself, hand over your infographic resume at the beginning of the interview,” advises Morgan. She said this is an ideal way to break the ice with the person interviewing you, and they can see who you are quickly while you chat. It also engages them in talking about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Be sure to have a copy of your traditional resume on hand as well, just in case.
5. Which Industries Are Best
Some industries are more accepting of infographic resumes than others. Applicants to creative disciplines such as marketing, advertising, and public relations may wish to use one, but as a supplement to a traditional resume. Results-oriented positions such as sales are the perfect opportunity for utilizing infographic resumes since they allow you to highlight the direct results of your work. Those applying to startup companies may also use infographic resumes. It is generally advised that applicants for executive positions and more conservative fields such as finance avoid such non-traditional resumes, except in the aforementioned scenarios.
6. Share It Socially
Zimenoff said LinkedIn™ is another great place to use infographic resumes. She said a PDF or JPEG version of your infographic resume adds something special to your profile.
“It’s an additional medium people can access,” Zimenoff said. “It can be a nice addition to a LinkedIn profile, but you should have a standard resume available as well.”
Morgan said one of the greatest tools people don’t know about is Slideshare, a free application that allows you to upload documents from programs such as Word®, Excel®, or PowerPoint® so it shows up as an image on LinkedIn. Slideshare lets people to see your work easily without downloading it from your page—and your documents can be shared as a status update on other social media such as Facebook™ and Pinterest™.
7. Infographic Resumes Are Not For ATS
If you are applying for a position online, especially through an applicant tracking system (ATS), stick with a traditional resume. Zimenoff said ATS strips the graphics, which can lead to valuable information being missed. Morgan concurred, stating one should not use an infographic resume when applying online to ATS. Infographic resumes may be thrown out altogether by ATS as the automated system won’t be able to read the graphics—and ATS search for key terms in resumes in a standard format—thus infographic resumes don’t fit the bill.
8. Make Sure It Says The Right Thing
Though it is a supplement, your infographic resume should be able to serve double duty standing on its own or in addition to your traditional resume. If you choose to use an infographic resume, invest the time to ensure it is done correctly. Highlight achievements that make you the ideal candidate for the position you are applying for. Infographics should focus on the results of your work such as growth in sales, number of people reached, or percentages achieved, not on responsibilities. If you are applying for a sales position, an infographic highlighting your superior sales growth at your current employer would be particularly impactful. In other words, the infographics you use must tie directly into the role you are pursuing with a focus on the results of your work.
“If your resume is confusing or cutsie, it’s not effective,” advised Zimenoff. “The graphics need to say something important. Employers want to see results. If your graphic shows results, that’s great. A huge pet peeve of mine is an infographic resume where a chunk of it is taken up with a graph that says nothing.”
Infographic Resumes Are A Great Tool
Infographic resumes are great supplements for your career toolbox. Every professional should have a traditionally formatted resume as well as a graphic resume with the highlights of their skills and accomplishments. The best times to use an infographic resume are when networking, gaining an initial conversation with someone in a company where a position is open, and during an interview. They also make perfect material to for a visually engaging LinkedIn profile, boosting your media presence and encouraging people to linger longer. However, one should never use an infographic resume when applying online through an ATS. Infographic or not, remember that this is your opportunity to shine, so make the contents of your infographic resume tell your story colorfully and succinctly.
If you’re searching for tips on how to create a cutting-edge resume or bring your resume up to speed with 2017 resume trends, check out this article that includes my top 10 2017 resume tips.
In the meantime, I’d love to connect on LinkedIn and expand both our networks! Feel free to send me an invite here. You can also find me online at Great Resumes Fast where I help time-pressed job seekers create interview-winning resumes within three to five business days—and more than 85% of my clients get multiple interviews in two weeks or less.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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