Monday, 15 February 2016

An Educator's Perspective on Infographic Resumes

The term infographic simply refers to presenting information in a visual way. Over the past decade, and especially in recent years, it’s become trendy for people in the creative arts/design industry to highlight their career achievements using infographics. Multifunctional and attention-grabbing, an infographic resume serves as a working model, exhibiting its creator’s design skills and personality, whilst also providing recruiters with a snap shot of their education and work history.

From an educator’s perspective, infographic resumes or multimodal forms of self-representation should have already superseded the traditional written version. Educational theorists have conducted extensive research into proving that each person has a natural preference regarding how they take in information (aural, visual, physical, written). If a teacher only used one form of communication during her lesson, even if delivered in a highly skilful manner, she wouldn't be optimising the learning potential of more than one third of her grade. By carefully weaving visual elements into your resume, recruiters are likely to appoint more time towards studying your credentials and determining whether you’re best suited to the job. 

While many articles claim that this new breed of resume should be employed with great heed, I believe that this all-encompassing style is forging the way for bigger and better things. I do however agree, that a poorly orchestrated version is likely to be more damaging to your reputation than its written counterpart. Don’t be so fearful as to dismiss it altogether—just like anything, by way of exposure and practise, each industry will develop a clearer opinion regarding what works and what doesn't.

This article attempts to assist your decision on whether an infographic resume will strengthen your professional profile or detract from the hard evidence. Below I address some of the more significant pros and cons associated with infographic resumes; most aptly presented to you in a visual format.

Pros


1. Your resume will stand out.

Recruiters have the tedious job of looking over hundreds of text-heavy resumes. A colourful, clearly laid out resume can be refreshing. 



2. Visuals are more favourable to the eye.

Information can be gained quickly and data can be displayed most effectively.  


3. It’s a functioning model of your capabilities.

If you work in the creative industry, you can demonstrate your creativity and technical skill by producing something visually stunning.

Cons

1. Lost in translation.

An ironic example of what not to do. If not thought through carefully, you can run the risk of obscuring the intended communication by using convoluted keys or layouts.



2. Creating a smoke show.

Be wary of under-representing yourself or seeming vacuous by compromising content for design aesthetics. Throughout the design process, keep cross-checking that your choices are being guided by functionality and purpose, not simply appearance.

Tips

1. Don’t go running to the shredder just yet.

Many recruiters recommend submitting an infographic resume along with the traditional written resume. Providing both ensures that no one’s left guessing dates or finer details.



2. Find ingenious ways to highlight your greatest accomplishments

Show them you are talented and original when it comes to expressing your ideas and efforts. Put time into considering the best way to display data and incorporate career highlights that demonstrate what’s most important to you.



3. There is such thing as over personalising.

Whilst including a professional portrait and listing some interests may give recruiters insight into your character, avoid over-personalising the page as though it’s your Facebook page. Avoid using party pics or selfies and limit the amount of decorative graphics.

There are several infographic production websites that let you browse templates before guiding you through the customisation process for a small fee. Alternatively, you can do it yourself using programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Word processing software such as Microsoft Word has very limited graphic options in comparison, therefore I’d recommend reserving it for text versions only.

Hopefully this article has provided you with some clarification on what an infographic resume is and its purpose towards job acquisition. Until the infographic resume is more widely recognised, you need to determine whether the company you wish to penetrate will appreciate the forward-thinking nature of the infographic resume.