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Infographic Resume: More Effective?

There is a lot of controversy over infographic resumes – those containing charts and other graphics. Here are the "pro's and con's," so that you can decide whether this kind of resume is right for you.

On the plus side:

  1. The graphics do catch the eye and make the resume look different from others.
  2. Infographics can make key information – e.g., sales figures – easier to comprehend at a glance.
  3. The resume demonstrates graphic presentation skills, which may be relevant in the job seeker's career.

The main "minuses" are:

  1. If the resume finds its way into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the system will be unable to process the graphics properly and information will be garbled or left out.
  2. One way to get around this is to give out two copies of your resume, one highly formatted (e.g., with infographics) and the other a simple, ATS-optimized resume. However, there's no guarantee the employer will use each version as intended, and he may be annoyed at being given special instructions.
  3. Employers may assume that the job seeker hired a resume writer. While some employers admire job seekers who wisely enlist outside resources, others believe a resume should be a sample of the candidate's own writing.

If the infographics seem overdone or unnecessary, the employer may conclude that the job seeker lacks confidence in her accomplishments and is resorting to "style over substance."

Which way to go? It depends on many factors: How the resume will be used, how the infographics are handled, the occupation and industry, whether and how the employer uses an ATS, and the personal preferences of a unique human being: the employer who reads the resume. Unfortunately, you can't perfectly predict that individual's preferences.

For many job seekers, the safest strategy may be to use infographics in the LinkedIn profile, portfolio or website, or in a resume "addendum" attached separately, while giving the resume itself a simpler format.