The infographic resume debate: here’s why you should consider chucking the traditional resume

Karen Springer, Spring Forward Companies

There’s been a lot of buzz lately around the newest resume formats. If you’ve read some articles recently, there’s a fierce debate among HR professionals both for and against the use of creative resumes versus traditional ones.

Today, I’m going to decipher the advantages of an alternative resume.

What type of person is an infographic resume good for?

Creative job seekers: An infographic resume can definitely sell you if you’re in an arts field. If creativity is one of your strengths, an infographic resume can add flair and flavor to your candidacy by showing off your design skills and experience.

Networking: Even if you’re in a traditional field, such as business, infographics can enhance your networking by making people look at your profile, showcasing your online presence in a more compelling way than just words.

Wait. What the heck is an infographic resume?

Here are some characteristics of good infographic resumes:

Career Summary: Unlike a traditional resume, which lists information in sections with headers, infographic resumes use a visual element demonstrating employment history, notable accomplishments, and career progression.

References: This is a key difference between a traditional and an infographic resume. For arts types, your work speaks for itself, but it’s always great if you are commended by managers, mentioned in the press, or given a strong recommendation. In an infographic resume, you can feature these testimonials to your work to build credibility even before you interview for the job. In a traditional resume format, references are omitted.

Photographs: Another big no-no in the traditional resume world in the U.S., you can use a photograph of yourself in an infographic resume. As an example of how visuals evoke responsiveness, LinkedIn, a popular career networking site, says that profiles with photographs of the candidate get 5 times as many views as those without. So, if you have a professional, flattering photograph that helps portray your career story, by all means use it.

Summary: Like a traditional resume, a headline with your target job title and three or four key skills will grab the attention of a hiring manager so he or she can see exactly who you are right off the bat. In an infographic resume, however, you have free reign to write a traditional summary paragraph, or be a bit more creative with graphics to showcase who you are.

Strength in Numbers: Employers love facts and statistics. So, if you’ve got demonstrable strengths in numbers, such as revenue generated, cost savings, etc., include it in a fun and interesting way.

Branding: Another huge difference between traditional and infographic resumes is the use of company logos. In a traditional resume, this is frowned upon because it can be seen as bragging. However, sometimes you want to name drop if you’ve worked for top companies where the recognition is invaluable. Much like the recommendations, quotes, and press mentions, this is another acceptable way to promote your credibility.

While the infographic resume isn’t for everyone, and won’t completely replace the traditional resume anytime soon (no matter what side of the debate you’re on), it is worth a look to see it can be a tool in your arsenal, helping you network and get interviews at the places which appreciate creativity. If they’re done right, infographic resumes can add a quirky edge to your job search.

Have you had experience with an infographic resume? Tell us in the comments!

Karen Springer, owner of Spring Forward Companies, is a resume writing and career coaching expert with over 14 years of experience. She has been recognized in Providence Business News and on several consumer websites for her expertise, resume writing ability, and excellent customer reviews. Karen holds a Master of Business Administration degree with highest honors from Norwich University and is a member of the National Resume Writers’ Association. In her (scant) spare time, she enjoys being with family, friends, and her two guard cats, Chloe and Lizzie.