Infographic Resumes Created from Social Media
When you are looking for a job, it’s important to demonstrate what makes you unique. How (and why) are you different from every other, similarly qualified job seeker? How to best present your credentials (via a resume, online profile, or your personal website) is a hot topic in the career world.
Options for Standing Out
Recently, several sites have come on the scene to help job seekers create infographic resumes. These completely visual (graph based) documents usually draw on information you either input into a form or they rely on existing information about you, for example your LinkedIn or Facebook profile.
The resulting resume, conventional wisdom suggests, will help the job seeker stand out from a crowd of "boring," conventional resumes.
While a visual representation is a newer take on the resume, don’t forget, no matter how attractive or colorful you can make your resume, your story (including the value you bring – the problems you can solve – and your accomplishments) is always the most important thing you share when you apply for a job.
I advise job seekers to create a personal website (YourName.com) – or what’s known as a social resume. Doing so allows you to showcase your expertise using words and images and offers the added value of helping form a digital footprint to make it easier for people searching for your skills to find you.
Appropriate Time to Use an Infographic Resume
Before you dive in, evaluate infographic resume tools carefully. Don’t forget, when you actually apply for a position, it’s very likely your resume will go through an applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS will not be able to decipher a graphic resume.
As with anything related to your job search, consider your target audience and their needs. Unless your resume infographic will be unique and appeal to the employer, think twice before assuming your "outside of the box" approach (and how unique is it really once all of the career bloggers are blogging about it?) is going to be the thing that lands you a job.
One exception to the "words are better" advice is if you are looking for a position as a graphic designer or are seeking work where your visual creativity is a valuable asset. In those cases, you’ll want to consider the following tools as inspiration only – then, design and create your own infographic resume using the software you need to demonstrate you know how to use! (For example, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.)
Options for Creating Your Infographic Resume
Keeping in mind the realities of the job search process (and the fact you’ll likely be applying online for most positions), consider if any of the following tools may enhance your application or help you while networking:
Vizualize.me invites you to "visualize your resume in one click."
On their About page, they explain, "We believe that the traditional text resume is boring, lengthy and long overdue for a makeover. We are creating an online resume format that is beautiful, relevant and fun. We want to enable people to express their professional accomplishments in a simple yet compelling personal visualization. Our vision is to become the future of resumes."
This application allows you to create an account and import your LinkedIn information to create a visual representation of your profile.
It should go without saying that you should first completely fill out your LinkedIn profile to be sure your infographic is as complete as possible.
Kinzaa believes an infographic resume "provides specific details on skills, experience, work environment, personality and objectives while still being easy to review."
The site is still in Beta (test mode), so it is not as polished as Visualize.me. It invites you to sign on via Facebook or to register a new username.
A Mashable post notes, "Unlike other tools (Kinzaa) also features a section outlining the user's personality and work environment preferences. Details such as preferences on company size, job security, challenge level, culture, decision-making speed and more are outlined in the personality section, while the work environment section focuses on the user's work-day length, team size, noise level, dress code and travel preferences."
This is interesting information, however, remember – the employer is interested in what you can do for the organization. A hiring manager is not usually looking for a lot of details about your needs and preferences.
This may be a perfect example of being unique, but for the wrong reasons. While other infographic tools may not ask for or outline these details, they probably are not particularly useful when applying for jobs.
Re.vu invites users, "Don’t send a resume, share your story." They explain their "core concept" is "a radical redesign of the traditional resume" using modern technology.
They do provide a place to link to your traditional resume, which is an important feature to help a reviewer who may be looking at your materials but would prefer evaluating your candidacy using words instead of pictures. It’s easy to create an account, and you’ll be invited to connect to your LinkedIn profile to get a "head start" building your profile. Or, you can enter your information directly to re.vu.
BrazenCareerist.com Facebook App
Brazen Careerist provides "a Facebook app that mashes your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles." COO Ryan Healy explains, "The idea behind the app is to give you 1) a way to easily visualize your personal profile information; 2) a unique and creative way to show an employer who you are and what you bring to the table so you can stand out from the crowd; and 3) career feedback and advice that highlights your strengths and areas you can improve."
One of their goals, he notes, is "to strike a healthy balance between fun and practical," and the infographic therefore includes a "gaming" element popular on some social media tools – badges highlighting your expertise in various areas. For example, you can earn a badge based on how many Twitter followers and Facebook friends you have.
While badges are fun, I’m not sure they will appeal to employers reviewing your information, unless, for example, you are applying for a social media position and you earned badges highlighting your social media expertise.
Slideshare is not a new tool or application, nor is it designed specifically to showcase your resume. It does not invite you to link to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile to create a visual picture of your career. However, it is a popular place to showcase your presentations and to think about presentations creatively.
Some people use Slideshare to create visual resumes, which they then may publicize via LinkedIn, their blogs, or via Slideshare’s search engine. Writing and design skills are useful for these mediums. If you are creative, you may be able to attract attention by offering job search documents that most people do not offer. For ideas about how to create a Slideshare resume, take a look at this resume.
An infographic resume is definitely not something you'll be using every day at your favorite job board or employer website - at least not yet, and maybe never. But they are distinctive and may be very useful in some situations, for some job seekers and some jobs, with some employers. For now, they may be worth your time to check out. Meanwhile, stay tuned...
© Copyright Miriam Salpeter, 2011. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Miriam Salpeter is a Career Action Coach and Owner of Keppie Careers. With a master’s degree from Columbia University and over 12 years of experience, her mission is to encourage, enlighten and empower job seekers and entrepreneurs for success. She teaches best practices to land great career opportunities and offers clients clarity, confidence, and social media know-how. You may follow her @Keppie_Careers and join her Facebook community for frequent updates.