Adding more visual information to your resume and making it moreThis tendency penetrates all aspects of our lives, including job seeking. If, say, 30 years ago, a common CV was understood as a plain text describing the candidate as a person, as well as their training, experience, and aspiration, with the course of time it became desirable, if not necessary, to include a profile picture, and today many job openings welcome even more visual aid – such as infographics, as opposed to dull plain text. of a visual CV can not only make it more informative. It will also please the eye of the reader – the hiring manager, which is definitely a bonus.
It would be wrong to assume that any hiring manager will prefer a candidate with a visual CV over the one with a more conservative plain-text resume for any job. There are no universal guidelines for all hiring managers out there to follow. Still, it is safe for an everyday job seeker to presume that plain text may serve better for securing the kind of job that suggests following the rules as the top priority – like finance. On the other hand, a visual CV can be helpful to land a more creative job – like marketing or PR.
So, it is always up to the candidate which approach to choose – the more conservative or the more creative one, but nobody forbids you to have both versions of your CV ready. In fact, when applying for a job opening, you can even send both to the hiring managers and let them decide which one they prefer to look through.
As we have mentioned, plain text CVs have been around for ages, ever since CVs began as a practice. It is really no big deal to put together one of those. You just mention all the relevant information, and you are ready to go. There are numerous templates and tools for that to be found online. You can even address specific companies who are expert in resume writing and professional resume editing solutions.
It is a little bit more complicated with visual CVs. There are no universal guidelines to help you build a powerful visual CV that will land you the job of your dreams with a 100% guarantee. Yet, there are some practical tips that will make the job easier for you:
Obviously, a visual CV must look good to please the eye of your reader. It may be a challenging thing to do yourself, especially if you are not trained in graphic design. Well, you don’t have to be, because there are online tools where you can put together a visual CV in just a few clicks. Then, they give you a link to your visual CV that you can include in your application letter.
All you need to do is enter all the relevant information, and choose the template and the color palette that you find most suitable, - and the tool will take care of the rest. The infographics that you would like to have in your visual CV will be generated for you, and you will not need to draw them yourself. This can be the timeline where you mark the steps of your training and career, this can be a diagram describing your personal traits and/or your priorities in life, this can be cute little icons symbolizing your interests, etc.
Any job seeker knows that being brief is crucial for any kind of resume, not necessarily a visual one. Your hiring manager is a busy person and will not look through three pages with a full list of your achievements. A CV cannot exceed the size of one page.
A visual CV gives you a unique opportunity to condense more information on a limited space, and it would be a shame to miss such an opportunity. You have to make full use of it!
A visual piece of information is not only good-looking but also occupies less space. Besides, you do not need to write full sentences anymore. You can narrow them down to only the most meaningful words and phrases and let the graphics say the rest.
While both a plain text CV and a visual CV are a representation of you as a candidate and they tell your story, a plain text CV is more like a narration, whereas a visual CV is – due to its visual nature – more like a picture. This is a critical difference in nature that one needs to realize when putting together an effective visual CV.
Just as you are the centerpiece of your picture, your strong persona should be the focus of your visual CV. It should be you telling the story, not just some impersonal narrator. Here is how you can achieve it:
- it is recommended to put your name in a bigger font at the top of the page. It can be in the middle of the line or on the right-hand side. The goal is to make it look as if the rest of the information in your resume comes after your name (as your main representation) and cannot be viewed outside it. All your positive traits and all your relevant experience should be instantly and exclusively associated with your name.
- insert a stunning image of you. The picture that you put in your visual CV has much more power that a casual picture that someone may see. It doesn’t have to be merely good-looking. From this picture, you must look directly into the reader’s eyes and radiate confidence and professionalism. Don’t be afraid to use photo editing software if necessary.
- if you have to write full sentences, use the first person only. Avoid any third-person or impersonal constructions. Your task is to show that you are the only person in full control of everything that is going on in your life, in your career, - and in your CV.
Another big difference between a plain text resume and a visual resume is that in the latter there will be no clear order for the reader to follow. When you read (or even just scan) a written text piece, you start from the beginning and then go further to the end. But a visual CV is not a written text, it is basically a picture. So, the reader/viewer may direct their attention from one piece to another the way they like or even in no particular order whatsoever. So, the order in which you put the information matters a great deal, and it should be carefully thought through. There can be two approaches:
- you can lead your reader's attention between the pieces of information to make sure they read it in the proper order. The simplest and the most obvious way to do that is with arrows, but you are welcome to come up with a more creative and sophisticated way.
- you can try and interconnect the pieces in a way that they will flow logically and smoothly into one another regardless of the order in which the reader reads them. This may seem like a challenging undertaking, but it is well worth the effort.
Regardless of which approach you choose, under no circumstances can you allow your reader to get lost in the information or get the feeling that s/he is hopping between unrelated pieces.
A picture is good when people can see something different on it from different angles. A visual CV is the same. Try and show yourself not only as a professional but as a real person with a family, interests, and hobbies, etc.
The natural way to do that is simply to mention it in your CV. However, there are other ways to do that. For example, your profile picture may include your family, it can also include an item related to your hobby (e.g. a guitar, if your hobby is music). Also, you can pick a creative and colorful background for your entire visual CV to represent your personality and your mindset altogether.
Once again, this piece of advice is applicable for classic plain text resumes as well. However, is becomes more critical when it comes to visual CVs generated by an online tool. Once your visual CV is ready, it is final. Once you have put together your visual CV and sent it to your future employer, it cannot be altered.
So, it is crucial that the information that you put there is true and accurate, and the text has no grammatical or spelling errors (unless intended).
Your CV is your first impression on your hiring manager, so you need to take this chance and give it your best shot. It may be quite worthwhile to spend a few bucks and trust such an important job to professionals who do it for a living.
Surely, you have heard about custom resume writing services who will write your CV for you, but with a visual CV, you clearly need more than just writing. At least, you may need the help of a graphic designer.
The good news here is that the tools mentioned above (apps and online services) often offer premium services which include comprehensive solutions on building your visual CV. Basically, you pay a reasonable fee, give them the information that you would like to have in your resume, and get a neat-looking visual CV to be proud to show to your employers.