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My good friend Jon recently alerted me to a page of infographic resumes.

As a career counselor for the last 12 years, I will admit that I find these resumes to be so different from what I'm used to that I am a bit annoyed by them. Actually, I find them extremely annoying.
But it doesn't matter what I think. And much as I love my readers, it also doesn't matter what anyone on this blog thinks, unless they are in one and only one category: prospective employers.

In fields where advanced design skills are needed and/or in the field of infographics itself, this will probably be a smash success. I admit, these resumes are really interesting and cool-looking. They are sometimes hard to read, but this is mitigated by the innovation demonstrated.

In fields like accounting, social work, general management... I think this has a 50/50 chance of being either a total disaster, or at least interesting enough to get a second glance from the hiring manager... who will then decide if the person is too strange, too creative, or too self-involved to be interviewed. This is the risk anyone runs when they present themselves to an employer as different or unique in a way that doesn't fit with what the employer might value. I've seen some strange resumes in my time, and in general I stick with the tried and true Word version, without any weird graphics or fonts or odd colors. Yes, they make you stand out. But so does painting your face purple at the interview, and that won't get you hired either.

What do you think?

Heather Krasna is the author of Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service

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Comment by Doris Tirone on November 18, 2010 at 9:15am
I agree with your assessment, Heather. One would put forth ill-fated effort if they submitted an "infographic resume" in application for a Fed job. Despite Hiring Reform 2010, OPM guidelines still require applicants to supply specific data to assist in evaluating their basic qualifications. If this can't be accomplished by their resume, applicants will not make the 1st cut. After that point, however, the addition of an "infographic resume" might just do a good job of setting an applicant apart from peer-applicants, especially if applying for a more creative-type position like Architect, Drafting Specialist, Design Engineer or the like. As for business-related positions, I whole-heartedly agree the "infographic resume" would have to become mainstream before it would bowl over the Hiring Manager who seeks a bean-counter, a social science based professional, or a general administration or management employee.
Comment by Stephen Peteritas on November 18, 2010 at 8:59am
I'm willing to bet for every awesome one of these there is there are probably at least 10 horrible ones. I think you really have to know where you are applying in order for something like this to work... I know at GovLoop we'd love one of these but at a big establish company I'm not sure they'd want something like that. Sadly the gov't is probably on the stiffer side of this issue.
Comment by Lauren Modeen on November 18, 2010 at 8:24am
First off, I think some of these resumes are definitely cool. Secondly, I am slightly torn in whether I think they are the right way to go. I do feel, for some jobs that require this exact kind of work (designer, architect, data), this is simply a nice way to show the employer up front how you think, and what they might expect out of your work product. So in that sense, I say, why not?

At the same time, depending on who looks are your resume first, you may alienate some people. Or, you may have an employer fall in love at first glance. I guess it all depends.

I suppose in many ways its no different than submitting a college application essay that colors way outside the lines of the typical. If you get someone reading it on the other end that it really resonates with it - may be a shoe in. Otherwise, they may think you are too creative, self involved, etc, like you mentioned...

At the end of the day, a person is free to present themselves however they like, and if it work, more power to it. If everyone snubs their nose, they may consider their approach, and keep the work product to after they are hired...

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