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Why You Should Think Twice About That Infographic Resume

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graphs and charts

Quirky, brightly colored infographics are growing in popularity among today’s job applicants. But chances are you probably should not use an infographic resume.

So if you’re considering paying a designer to make a flashy infographic resume for you, consider these two points first:

1. Statistically speaking, infographic resumes are not for you

Most careers are not creative. You may enjoy dressing your cat in a hat at home, but once you get to your cubicle, you’re all spreadsheets and invoices, and that’s just fine.

Creative industries comprise four percent of all businesses and two percent of all employees, according to Americans for the Arts. That means that only two percent of you could probably benefit from a funky infographic resume.

Some careers lend themselves quite naturally to infographic resumes, such as those in graphic design, art or even interior design. But for the rest of us, it makes more sense to stick to the tried-and-true print resume format. A subtle dash of color in section titles or a colored paper as background is about as artistic as most of us should get with our professional documents.

Consider not only your position but the company you’re applying to. Would hiring managers there really appreciate an infographic? Some design companies are surprisingly utilitarian in their operations, even if they’re cutting-edge in their designs.

Even if you’re submitting a creative resume for an appropriate industry like graphic design, consider including a standard formatted resume as well, because it might be more suited for official purposes like recordkeeping.

2. Do it well, or don’t do it at all

Don’t bother with an infographic resume unless you’re going to design it yourself. Using a software service or designer just won’t be worth the money or time.

Why? Because if you’re offering an infographic resume, it’s to display your talents as an artist, not your outsourcing abilities. By paying someone else or using software, you could look lazy.

Worse, you might even end up with a subpar final product. As they say, if you want it done right, do it yourself.

The big lesson

Don’t make an infographic resume just because you’ve heard it’s a popular trend. Remember, this is the document that’s supposed to sell you and your skills to a potential employer. The only time you should venture into infographic territory is when you’re 100 percent positive it will work to your advantage.

Have you ever tried an infographic resume? How did it work out?

Erik Bowitz is a professional resume consultant for a leading online resume builder company and is also a freeform career enthusiast. He eats, sleeps and breathes resumes and particularly enjoys looking at the world of employment from unique and unexplored perspectives.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=271703022904314 Careerleaf

    Thanks for the tips, Erik! While I feel that job seekers should look for ways to stand out from the crowd when applying to position, I agree that a creative resume isn’t for most people. There’s nothing worse than seeing a poorly crafted and brightly colored resume that offers nothing to the reader. Job seekers should focus on attempting to stand out in other ways, like building a strong personal brand through blogging or an online portfolio.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Can’t agree more. It takes skill to make a truly informative AND aesthetically appealing infographic. But regardless, artists should definitely focus on personal branding and they can throw that ‘ol infographic resume in their portfolio with their other artistic creations. Mr. Beige in HR doesnt’ care much for bright colors ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

    Thanks for the comment Careerleaf, I’m glad you appreciated the tips!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=33809732 Jeffrey Alan Fletcher

      Erik, I’ll be graduating with my MPA in a few weeks, think you could scrutinize my resume once I update it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504632711 Joe Flanagan

    Thanks Erik. You’ve opened my eyes to infographic resumes. You are a legend.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Much appreciated Mr. Flanagan

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004183002863 Ramesh Sinha

    WOW!
    This is a great information! I really liked this! I’m reading this blog for the last 5 months! And I’m always getting interesting information from here!
    This is really very nice.
    BlogSimply then please visit us – http://www.blogsimply.in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670038351 Hagan Blount

    This post is written by someone whose business is being eroded by the increased interest in infographic résumés. As an infographic résumé designer, I have a a long list of stories from people who have purchased my services and are quite pleased – the testimonials section on http://haganblount.com goes up next week with my page redesign (by the way, I paid someone to help with my redesign – I hope you don’t think I’m lazy). Infographic résumé designers shouldn’t be scared of a business that offers templated phrases to build a résumé, but I can see how the inverse is true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Hello Hagan, Thanks for the reply! Actually, business is great in the traditional resume industry. Even in creative industries people will often combine a traditional resume with a portfolio, and within that portfolio they will include their more artistic infographic resume. The message of this article was that for more people, a stand alone infographic is not the optimal choice. But as you have said, for designers, it can be a great addition to a portfolio!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670038351 Hagan Blount

      This message says it’s from four hours ago but it the ideas it contains feel like it’s from three years ago. Also, your last sentence is 100% fabrication. I’m glad business is good for you, business is also great for me. You can see over at http://haganblount.com

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Hagan Blount At least my comment is not shameless self-promotional spam.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670038351 Hagan Blount

      Better a liar than a self-promoter? That’s an interesting sentiment coming from someone who is charged with overhauling CVs. I take pride both my and my clients’ self-promotion.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1489957989 Trần Sơn Hải

    I don’t think an infographic CV could hurt. Provided that the information presented on that CV is of no less sufficience than that of a normal (boring) CV, then an infographic CV would tell the recruiter that hey I really care about my career that’s why I spent lots of time (or money) to give you something standing out and more concise (using graph, chart, etc) thus easier to read. If the reason to reject me is because you like to stick with old fashions and dislike creative people then F*CK you, I appreciate that I don’t have to work with someone like you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Hey Tran, Thanks for the reply, although I could do without the profanity..

      I know for a fact that “MOST” HR Managers don’t like infographic resumes. That’s the reason I wrote this article haha. But seriously, they are disliked because they are more often than not more difficult to understand than traditional resumes. Traditional resumes are clear,concise, and universal, as long as the writer understands the language of English.

      Infographic resumes are more difficult to do correctly because you need to fully understand not only the English language but also statistics (if doing graphs/charts) and design (which most people go to school for). So, if you double majored in Statistics and Graphic Design, then sure, an infographic resume is probably perfect for you. If not, like I said, you should stick to something you can do well.

      For example, you are quad-lingual (apparently). Thus you could, in theory, write a quad-lingual resume. Someone who only speaks one language could not. Thus, if you are not a designer, stay away from graphic resumes.

      I don’t much care if you wouldn’t want to work with me because of my views on resumes. Unfortunately for you, you will encounter very similar views with HR the world over. Best of luck.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670038351 Hagan Blount

      I don’t think saying that Erik dislikes creative people, but he is writing about the multitude of terrible infographic résumés out there without given consideration to the good ones. Erik states that HR managers dislike “difficult to understand, unclear, résumés that are not concise.” I also dislike most infographic résumés that I see, for those same reasons. Most of them are exactly what he describes. I wonder what would happen if he were to write an article about professionally designed, easy to understand, clear, concise infographic résumés…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1618833471 Benjamin Ebenezer

      interesting to see you comment on here Hagan; I noticed your website not long ago and have been thinking about using your services. btw, you do great work.

      With regard to HR managers: the author has a point, they can be problematic. Even when discussing a creative-type jobs, if the company isn’t a creative culture per se, the HR manager will be probably be traditional, tired and let’s face it, lazy. They are using key word searches and analytics to source through a stack of resumes. If they don’t have those resources, they have a temp sort through the stack. Personally, I think that regardless of your job title, the right info-graphic resume can have spectacular results if executed correctly. It’s like any piece of marketing: if it lacks target and positioning, you got nothing. Not to plug Hagan too much, but from what I’ve seen of his website he doesn’t do the same resume twice – they are all tailored to the candidate and sometimes even a target job. A true marketing exercise.

      Back to my thought on HR managers: Best strategy is to bypass HR and talk directly with the decision maker. That requires networking, hard work and a ton of personal branding. Infographic won’t help you with the first two items, but it can really differentiate your personal brand. My two cents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Well Hagen, if professionally designed, easy to understand, clear, concise infographic resumes do exist, they must be going extinct because in my 5 years of evaluating hundreds of thousands of resumes I have yet to see one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=4803954 Ed Huang

      Hagan Blount It really depends on yourself. If I’m the one with great experience and personality who fits perfectly for the position. I don’t have to BUY any “pretty” resume or spend more TIME to craft any fancy resume to beat all other competitors.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670038351 Hagan Blount

      Thank you for the compliment, Benjamin! Re: Ed, if you could pay $1,000 for a $10,000 increase in income for life, would you do it? Or if you could pay $1,000 for the perfect job instead of the one you just were OK with at the same pay scale? My clients report a 20% increase in callbacks and interviews. You may believe your situation does not call for it, but it certainly has worked for my clients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1596323028 Biranjan Raut

    I am sure it takes a lot to come up with good infographic CV, but how-else one is going to make that great CV if one doesn’t try. Its fun to venture out of your comfort zone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=45809691 Erik Bowitz

      Fully agree, without venturing outside of our comfort zones, we wouldn’t get far in life. However, if it’s a potential job on the line, better to play it safe. If you want to really venture outside of your comfort zone, go skydiving instead :)

  • Imran Khattak

    Hi,
    In my opinion the main purpose of an infographic should not be showing your creative skills, it is about presenting your credentials in a clearer and faster manner. By using Infographic resume you are saving time of your employer by using graphs instead of numbers and text. If I know someone has told me the truth and has gone the extra mile by making sure my time is not wasted then that would be good, even if the truth is bad news.
    I am a graphic designer but there are fields in which I know other people are better than me. I make sure it is done correctly and in due time. So asking help and even telling your to be future employer that it was made by someone else because “time” is of utmost importance in every thing in your life, is a good thing and not the other way around.

  • Interested Stranger

    Wait – didn’t Brazen Careerist offer THEIR OWN RESUME INFOGRAPHIC APP in 2011 and 2012?

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