Resume Tips: How To Get A Job Using A Visual Resume

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Let me guess. You wrote your resume using a Microsoft Word template with the standard size 12 (or if you needed the extra space, size 11) Times New Roman font.

No, I’m not a psychic, you’re just predictable. But I don’t blame you! This is the way it’s been done for years and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Except…if you aren’t getting hired or getting a call for an interview, maybe it is broke and you do need to fix it.

In this tough job market, you’ve got to find a way to stand out from the pile of other resumes. In a world where marketing is everything, why should you treat yourself any differently?

You’re more than that two-dimensional Word document and you’ve got to show it.

I was first introduced to the idea of a visual resume by Anthony Fernando of inTo Consulting who recommended I create a presentation that showed not just my qualifications and experience but also a bit of my personality. I had never heard of the concept before but after Googling a few examples, I was totally hooked.

I spent two full days creating my own little masterpiece and let me tell you, it paid off big time! After spending months on the job hunt with barely any luck, I recalibrated my approach to include my fancy pants new visual resume and I kid you not, I got a response for an interview almost immediately. My interviewers (now my employers!) specifically told me that it was my visual resume that really drew them to me. In their own words, “it was pretty badass.”

So how do you go about creating your very own badass visual resume? Here are a few quick tips to get you on your way…

But a quick caveat, this isn’t for everyone. Just as in marketing, you have to keep in close consideration who your audience is. If you’re in a more traditional field like, let’s say accounting, for instance, I’m not too sure how effective a visual resume will be. But if you are applying for a more creatively-inclined job (I’m in marketing and communications, for instance), then this is a great way to showcase your out-of-the-box thinking.

Use all the available tools

Get creative by using that handy dandy PowerPoint program of yours! Once you’ve done that, upload it to slideshare.net, an awesome website that’s basically the equivalent of YouTube but for slideshows. With SlideShare you can easily share your visual resume with a unique URL or even embed it to your website.

Others tools you might consider exploring are vizualize.me, pathbrite, and ReVu.

Keep it short and simple

Just like your regular resume, you want to keep your visual resume short and simple. As gorgeous and creative as it may be, employers do not want to be clicking through 100 slides all about you. It’s likely that they’re very busy so keep it no longer than 40 slides. Remember what Shakespeare said: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Show a bit of your personality

Inject your personality and humour into this presentation. This visual resume is an opportunity to give life to what would have otherwise just been a text-heavy resume. Having said that, don’t forget that this is still a job you’re applying for and not your Facebook profile. Keep that professionalism in tact and just give a glimpse of your wonderful personality.

Highlight your achievements

It’s hard to differentiate what’s most significant in a person’s resume when it’s buried in similar text all around. Use your visual resume to highlight the achievements you’re most proud of by explicitly saying so and making it the main point of one or more of your slides.

Provide your traditional resume

A visual resume isn’t supposed to replace your traditional resume, but rather supplement it. When applying for a job, always attach your regular resume. These two versions will give a much fuller representation of who you are and what you’re capable of.

Just remember, the person reviewing your application is probably overwhelmed by the stack of underwhelming resumes piled up on his or her desk. Be the refreshing outlier that changes things up!

Share your visual resume with us by providing a link in the comments section below.

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About the author

Justine Abigail Yu is a communications professional by day and a freelance writer by night. Graduating from the University of Toronto specializing in Political Science and Sociology, her heart lies in the development sector where she has worked with organizations operating in North America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. You can easily lure her in with talk of international development, human rights, emerging technologies, travel, and yes, Mad Men. Or a slice of cheesecake. Read her blog here or follow her on Twitter @justineabigail.