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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Visual Resumes

I got an e-mail from Vizual Resumes, which I'm sure my fellow HR bloggers also got. Now, I'm going to lay aside my prejudice against people who use misspellings on purpose, and say this:

These resumes look awesome.

I find this one visually appealing:, but the content isn't worth much.

I like this notebook paper style: and the writer is a graphic designer, so it seems good.

But, do resumes like this help anyone other then, say, a graphic designer? I admit, if one of these appeared on my desk I'd look it over. (Given, of course, that I was hiring people, which I'm not). But, with so much done online and with recruiting software, would this hinder you?

Has anyone received (or written) a cool looking resume that gets you results?

My official position is, by the way, that you should not use your resume as a time to think outside the box. But, perhaps I'm wrong.


apu said...

Hmm, I find both examples you've mentioned hard to read. Of course, they will have novelty value, but if enough people start using them, it may just be more work for a busy recruiter?

Evil HR Lady said...

I agree that they are hard to read, but they look cool. That's why I would advise against them. But, I still think they look neat.

The Plaid Cow said...

The first one took a good design that worked (see the links for what it is based on) and cluttered it up without a clear design goal or message they wanted to get across. The graphical elements don't add to the information and look like a collection thrown on a page to see how much can be collected at once, without regard to the whole. In short, not the kind of person I would be looking to hire.

Amy said...

I recently attended a job fair for creative jobs in retail/wholesale (as an employer). I received a number of resumes similar to the ones you're talking about, and what struck me about them is that most of the time, those were the ones with the least relevant experience. It's like they thought that they could disguise it. I was more impressed with the people who gave me a traditional resume but had creative samples or a great business card to give me a glimpse of what their design style looked like.

Jensational said...

My job involves a lot of writing so I have a normal regular resume (although I do use a little bit of color on it) and I have an online portfolio of my work that I also link to at the bottom of my cover letter. Ever since I've started this I've gotten much better response and feedback. I can be a bit more creative on the website and have more info (so I'm not sending a million attachments) but the resume itself is traditional.

Doug DeJulio said...

I'm not an HR person, but I participate in hiring decisions sometimes.

When I was new to reading resumes and interviewing people, I do think the resumes under discussion would have jumped out at me and made me take a second look.

The more resumes I read through and the more interviews I conduct, the more I want to be able to focus on the details I'm interested in. So today, I find designs like that distracting and irritating (unless it's a visual design position -- which I do get involved in sometimes).

I do not know if I'm typical. But *if* I'm at all typical, perhaps this is all something people can take into account. If you want extra attention from inexperienced interviewers and less attention from experienced interviewers, go for flash and glam. If you want the inexperienced interviewers to pay less attention to you and the experienced ones to pay more attention, avoid the flash and focus on making it easier for people to drill into the details *they* want to ferret out (as opposed to only the ones you want to promote).

But the validity of that reasoning depends on how typical my attitude is.

Doug DeJulio said...

So, further thought, hm... when *I* want to impress someone with the formatting of my resume (as opposed to just the content), here's what I've done in the past:

I write the original resume in a markup language (LaTeX) and perform automatic conversions of it into any format the reader wants at all. "If all you want is the Word or PDF, here they are, but... here's the LaTex, and the script that turns it into PDF, and the script that turns it into HTML, and the script that turns it into plain ASCII text, and..."

(I'm not sure if it *worked*, but that's what I did.)

Jedi4Pets said...

These folks may be playing the "whatever it takes to get you to look at my resume" lottery.

The problem with that strategy is that getting the recipient to look at your resume is no guarantee of landing the job.

Lisa said...

Ditto what Jedi4Pets said.

I look at 100s of resumes everytime we post a job. The cover letter is my first cut: is there one? Does it read well with no obvious mistakes? Does it give me information that makes me want to look further? A 'no' to any of these questions leads to a 'thank you, no' response to the candidate. Only then do I look at resumes.

Since I look at resumes through Outlook, heavy formatting can really muck with my ability to read the info presented. So, plainer is better.

KellyK said...

Doug DeJulio, your idea is brilliant. It makes the formatting of the resume demonstrate your job skills. I do a similar (though much less cool) thing by formatting my resume with Word styles to show that I know how to work with those.

I also really like the idea of linking to an online profile in your resume or cover letter, since those are better places to show originality.

If the creative format makes the resume harder to read, it's definitely a step in the wrong direction, *especially* if you're going for a design job.

I like the *idea* of the first one, but like EvilHRLady said, most of the information was irrelevant. A standard resume with a couple key bits of info illustrated by graphs would've been a lot more useful. The chart of educational institutions attended actually worked for me, though it should've included major & any honors for each.

Anonymous said...

Ick, I find these almost as annoying as a resume in all caps or brush script! A little bit of creative formatting would be okay, but save all this crazy stuff for your portfolio. I need to be able to tell within 30 seconds if you're in my "maybe" or my "no" pile.

RJ said...

I like the one from Stephens PHD

It starts with top line return on investment, for projects he's done and then has the useful information in a visual time line - easier to read than a standard one.

It also works well for those of us who haven't lived a linear life (done 2 or 3 jobs at once - like self-employed and employed at the same time.

I think the benefits here may be for consultants/self-employed pitching for work - like the PhD who proves that the PhD doesn't make them boring and irrelevant.

RJ said...

Missed the link before, it's here:

It also works if you're in an engineering field, and need to communicate complex information simply.

If all you're applying for is a bog-standard corporate job (in fact, anything where your CV is machine-read) then not so useful.

Personally, I came to the decision when I was looking for work that I didn't want to work for a mechanistic company - so anywhere that required me to submit my career details but whose software didn't allow for someone who did more than one thing at the same time - lost my application.

These are more networking CVs than ones for the jobs where your CV goes through a people-crunching electronic sifter.

Anonymous said...

I would pass on both of these resumes. I have also worked in the creative fields; even so, I second the earlier poster. Give me a professional, no fuss resume and then a portfolio of work.

TalentRooster said...

OK - I'm over 40 which makes me ancient by technology standards. However even I can see that the traditional static (paper) resume will be obsolete within the next couple of years. My firm opted for digital video profiles, which has proven to be a great choice. I'd love to hear what you think.

Jedi4Pets said...

I'm 52, which by TalentRooster's standard means I'm dead, even in dog years. ;-)

I still use a formal plain-vanilla paper resume with links to a LinkedIn profile and a VisualCV resume online. That seems to be the best of both worlds for a technical writer. Maybe the creative world is different, but I don't think too many HR people would like these (admittedly creative) resumes much.

Readability matters. A small amount of color is one thing, but these are a bit over the top to me. Easy to read fonts are also high on my list - like Arial or Times New Roman. It just comes down to some consideration for the reader, IMHO. (Especially if they have to read through a pile of them like Lisa.)

TalentRooster said...

Thank you for your comments - glad you checked out the site. We still believe that seeing and hearing a candidate (that is 100% professional e.g. NOT shot in your basement with a flip phone) plus viewing a personality profile and resume will provide employers with 90% of the tools they need PRIOR to the interview. It's all about saving time, which ultimately saves money.

Jen said...

I used to be a recruiter for a mid-sized company. I think said resumes should be saved for the artist/graphic design fields. I found these to be a bit distracting as well. The most interested resume I received was in crayon, with the "i"s dotted in crayon hearts. And this person was applying for a managerial person. No, she was not hired.

Aaron Bihari said...

Having spent years in graphic design, I would say that cool-looking resumes may be, well, cool looking, I don't think anyone should use them. If a designer can show their mastery of design with a simple, uncluttered and easily understood document, then I think it's fine that they submit a designed resume. But the better choice for an artist or designer is to link to an online portfolio where one can show their chops. This would be similar to linking to LinkedIn for most professions.

A recruiter shouldn't have to spend even a moment figuring it out or thinking, "Why crayon?" like in Jen's example. Boring is absolutely best, even and especially in the design world. No matter the field, quality should come before gimmicks.

David said...

My belief is that a visual resume should accentuate your "hardcopy" resume. It should be simple and straight forward offering additional info and be able to offer audio, images and video. Since the resume you send, by email or snailmail, should only be a page or two. That's why I just launched
It's simple, easy and fun to create your visual resume....and it's free!
Then people would simply include a link to their online portfolio.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a good idea for a traditional resume in a non-creative career, however, I do use a "visually enhanced" cover letter planted straight into my email applications that has worked wonders for me.

David DeCapua said...

Wow! That resume looked like a Warhol knock off - it is WAY too busy. Check out the TalentRooster version - this is how a resume should look.