I’ve been exploring the idea of a visual resume, after having to create a document that showed a quick overview of the type of work I do. I designed a mini-portfolio called “Six Fresh Brands” that shows thumbnails of six corporate brands I’ve done, with my skills categorized into three segments to create a simple 3 page pdf. I have since found so many neat ideas online, from people trying to creatively communicate what they have done and can do, and companies trying to help users create a visual cv. It can be so difficult to show the scope, the depth, and the breadth of a professional’s skills over a period of time.
Wordle’s Word Cloud Generator
One tool I learned about that helps people create a visual resume is called Wordle. If you like playing with graphics and text and colors, this excellent Java-based web application will occupy you for hours. The colors and layouts are all customizable, and the designs it creates actually look good. You take the text from your resume, copy and paste it, and then play with the output until you’re satisfied with the results. Here is one version of my resume in Wordle form… does this word cloud approach communicate capabilities effectively? You could design so many cool pieces with this art… like a blog header or presentation cover. I just love Wordle!
A Resume in Pictures
Karen Storer is a visual thinker who presents information using maps and diagrams, so it only made sense for her to present her resume in the same way. Can you picture her solving your communication problems like this?
Do Diagrams Help Depict Capabilities?
I also took a stab at using a Venn Diagram of my “universal experience” concept as a visual resume. What’s missing in this image is any sort of dates or companies… but would this add anything to a traditional resume, because you can see a lot in a glance?
This format lends itself to creating and defining your own personal brand. I wonder what an HR director would think, if sent the link to this? I’d love to know, since I may be tempted to make my own Slideshare resume someday. 😉
NavAgility is in the business of visual timelines, which can be used to depict a person’s work history. I believe you can drill down into the different work experiences shown, and get the full-blown text of that job history, making this more like an interactive site.
But, Do Visual Resumes Work?
Some design professionals expect their portfolio to serve as a “visual resume.” But portfolio images are typically just work samples, unless dated and laid out chronologically. What I want to know, is if depicting your work history graphically is effective at getting the attention of the right people, or if they are just novelties meant to amuse graphic-inclined folks like me who find them interesting to study. I assume the traditional resume would also be required, but I’m not sure if that’s correct, if you can fit the dates and companies to depict your work history inside the visual presentation.
I’d love to hear it straight from human resource professionals and recruiters, if they’d be willing to take this short survey or leave comments here, to give job hunters some insight.