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  • Writer's pictureSelena Martin

Are Graphic Resumes Effective?

There is so much talk these days about visual resumes and whether this is the trend of the future. In a competitive labour market it is evident that employers may not have the time to sift through piles and piles of resumes and instead just want a concise synopsis of achievements BUT are visual resumes the answer for job seekers in all industries?

Here are my thoughts on the matter. Having worked in employment services for the last 15 years I have worked with job seekers from a variety of industries, including trades, business, marketing, design, IT, health care, entrepreneurship and education (to name a few!). Employers certainly are pressed for time and the days of having a 4 page resume are over. Less is definitely more in this day and age. However, a 1 or 2 page visual resume which provides a pictorial representation of you achievements and skills is not always the answer.

Yes to Graphic Resumes

I would argue that visual resumes are best left to job seekers within the creative space, like artists, graphic designers and marketers. What a great way to show an employer that you are an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinker and possess the creative skills they are looking for. Using pictures and graphics to highlight your expertise allows employers to get a nice brief overview of your skill set.

No to Graphic Resumes

For job seekers who are looking for more traditional roles it is okay to use some color and pizzazz in your resume but it is important not to saturate your resume with visuals in lieu of providing detailed descriptions of your accomplishment. Proving the reader with a clear sense on your duties as well as the result that this brought tells a far better story then a visual representation. Here is a great example of how using a visual descriptor doesn’t properly convey a person’s skill in a specific area:


I am sure many of you have seen resumes that display a star system rating the level of experience a person has in a certain area. What does it really mean to have a 3 out of 5 star rating for leadership skills? Did they give themselves this rating? Did co-workers? Does this mean they can lead others? Yikes! There are too many unknowns here and consequently this is NOT the best way to convey your skill level. Instead, writing something like this makes more sense:

“Excellent leadership skill developed through directly leading large teams of up to 100+ people and indirectly overseeing up to 200 contractors”

Does this not tell a better story of a person’s skill level? So, my advice is to get creative and use color and design elements in your resume BUT (if you are looking for a more traditional job) do not underestimate the power of using simple text to describe your expertise. There is a reason why the traditional resume has lasted as long as it has - it still works!

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