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The Do’s and Don’ts of Infographic Resumes

Recently, Venngage was approached by a writer from FastCompany about tips and examples on the creating infographic resumes. The resulting article was published yesterday - How To Create An Infographic Resume That Doesn't Repel Hiring Managers

We thought it would be useful to publish the comprehensive list of the Do's and Don'ts with examples, both good and bad. So here you go:

A well designed infographic resume can be a big differentiator and move you to the top of the pile in seconds for that dream job. Unfortunately, a badly designed one can also disqualify you just as fast. How can you create a successful infographic resume? Here are a few do’s and don’ts for creating your own infographic resume:

1. Consider the rules of proper data visualization

The rules of proper data visualization apply in resume infographics. For example, use a line chart for time series or trending data, and use a bar or column chart for comparing categorical data. Don’t invent your own chart types or use a chart just because it looks nice.

Do: Use bar or column charts for displaying skills expertise or years

Screenshot 2014-10-23 00.47.32

Don’t: Use a line or area chart for displaying skills. While the chart below appears to be visually interesting, what it conveys is confusing. Did this person’s AI (Adobe Illustrator) and PS (Photoshop) skills peak initially then slowly erode over time?

Screenshot 2014-10-22 23.42.00 

2. Simplicity is your friend

Use charts that are easy to understand to convey your message quickly. Remember, you get only a few seconds with the recruiter or hiring manager. I’m not a fan of complex charts when a simple one can do the job.

Do: Stick to simple charts that can be understood quickly. The bubble chart below visualizes the number of years the person has for each skill. A quick glance would suffice.Screenshot 2014-10-23 00.08.21http://vizualize.me/eugene

Don’t: Use “chart junk”. Ornamental design elements that aren’t used to convey information, overly complex charts or anything that would require the hiring manager to spend a lot of time figuring out what you’re trying to convey. This example requires the reader to read upside down text, discern various shades of color and guess at the meaning of the chart.

Screenshot 2014-10-22 23.53.49

3. Keep it short

Infographics have a tendency to go long. Some are never ending. Data visualization is not about trying to fit everything into charts, but about curating and choosing only the most relevant data points to tell your story.

 Do: Limit the length of your infographic to about one page.

Don’t: Create a never ending scrolling infographic.

4. Pick a color scheme that conveys your message.

Depending on your target audience, choose the appropriate color scheme (you can use a site like colorlovers.com) Say you’re applying for a job and you want to convey trust, use “trust” colors such as blue and green (you can read more about color psychology here).

Do: Pick a color scheme that works for you and the reader. If you’re not sure, my default is to always choose a light background and a single color with multiple tones.

Screenshot 2014-10-23 00.32.51


Don’t: Mix an match a whole bunch of random colors.

 Screenshot 2014-10-23 00.34.05


5. It’s all about your story.

This is perhaps the most important thing to remember - you’re telling a story in your infographic resume. This story has to be congruent, concise, interesting and creative. If you’ve ever had to read resumes, you’ll know that 90% of them are cookie cutter resumes with long winded objective statements and boring bullet points of what they did since they were in high school.

Do: Be personal, tell your story. This is hard, but it’s worth it to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Here are two interesting examples:

Screenshot 2014-10-23 01.06.43





6. A call to action

Your infographic resume is not unlike a marketing brochure or landing page. You want to have a call to action. What do you want the reader to do? 

Do: Add a call to action. It doesn’t have to be for a call for a job. You can ask them to follow you on Twitter, or connect for coffee.

Screenshot 2014-10-23 01.04.50


Don’t: End your resume without asking for anything. You’ve lost a chance to engage your reader, and maybe that next dream job.

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