You’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words – so why not let that apply to your CV, too? In a visually-driven society, a curriculum vitae that includes graphs, charts, bullet-point lists, or other visual elements can really pack a punch. The trick to doing it right, though, is to choose the right information to display, and to create infographics that will speak to the audience you’re addressing.
Is it appropriate?
While using an infographic CV for a creative position such as a graphic designer, writer or visual artist could work well, it might be best to couple it with a more traditional résumé format – especially if that résumé is going to be put through a computerized applicant tracking system, reminds career coach Dana Manciagli on the Fast Company website. Instead of using it as the only tool for showing hiring managers what you have to offer, think of it as a complementary document. Since CVs, unlike résumés, aren’t necessarily bound to a specific page count, it can be a great addition to the end of your CV, or to include somewhere in your portfolio.
Mine your current CV for the information that’s worth sharing visually.
Infographic CVs are all different, but a common thread is that a certain set of information is shared visually – whether that is a candidate’s skillset put into a set of word bubbles or a timeline of the candidate’s work history, for example. Look over your current CV and decide what information is best shared visually. If you’re applying for a specific job at the moment, read over the job posting to refresh your memory about the elements most important to that employer, as that can give you other ideas about where to start.
Sketch it out.
With the key data identified, brainstorm ways for that information to be presented in a visual way. If you need help, browse other CVs online to get some ideas and inspiration. Also keep the industry in which you want to work in in mind, and try to think of something that applies to the industry. A writer might create an infographic CV that looks like a magazine cover, for example, while a comic book artist might create a comic strip that describes her skills and background.
Get out a piece of paper and sketch out the data in bubbles or sections. Include all the requisite information somewhere on the page, including your contact information, education, work history and skills. If your interests, languages or other information is important for the job, include that too.
Get help with the graphic design.
There’s a reason people study graphic design as a formal discipline: it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. If you’re not proficient in design tools such as Adobe Illustrator, get help to make your design look good. Check out vizualize.me, Infographic Maker, Piktochart, or any number of other tools that help you create infographics easily. Some even have specific résumé templates to get you started. Just enter the data into pre-designed bubbles, adjust the colors and fonts to your liking, and save the resulting document as a PDF. If you do have graphic design skills, get inspiration from other infographic sites and combine it with your own brainstorming to create a totally customized CV, once again saving it as a PDF to share with employers.
Whether you get help or you create it on your own, remember that less can be more. In other words, don’t clutter your infographic with too much information. Since you’ll be including your more traditional CV along with this one, you won’t have to worry about adding every little detail -- just the most important ones. When in doubt, ask for feedback from friends or colleagues about the overall impression your infographic is making.
In a visual world, it can pay off to have a visual representation of your career -- so long as you take the time to do it right.