Avoid over-designing an infographic résumé

How to Kill an Infographic Résumé – Over-design it.

worst inforgraphic

Infographics have taken off over the last decade as a way to show complicated information in a visually compelling and accessible way. They've been used by government agencies to show environmental impact study results, global warming trends, employment statistics, you name it.  The reason infographics gained in popularity was because they could, and I mean, could make information more engaging as an informative visual tool. Some graphic designers who have created these graphic marvels have seen infographics as a way to set themselves apart, not the information, as if it were a design contest. Graphic illustrations of information are often so convoluted and hard to understand that the information is buried in a mind-numbing distraction of colors and gratuitous graphics that obscure the data, not highlight it.

Now, infographics are showing up in the employment world in the form of infographic résumés as a means to show an individual 's accomplishments, skills and unique qualifications in a visually engaging way. Sounds like a great way to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of job seekers you might be competing with for a single job posting. And since most jobs are posted online, it helps to have a leg up to capture the interest of hiring professionals and to set yourself apart. What better way than with graphics to highlight key accomplishments that may be buried in a traditional résumé.

First, you need to understand the simple mantra for an effective infographic résumé: Don't over-design. Repeat. Don't over-design. It should stick with you like "eat more chicken". You may not be sure where the line is drawn between a clean, visually informative infographic résumé, and one that's over-designed.

Here are a few tips:

1. Avoid solid dark backgrounds and small text that is impossible for anyone to read without cheaters.

2. Pick three or maybe four "quantifiable" success measurements that you're particularly proud of that could be converted to graphs, charts, or other visual graphics that you may not be able to envision, but someone else, perhaps a restrained graphic designer, could.

3. Think about what you want to highlight about yourself – what qualities you possess that could be incorporated as your own unique personal brand. Are you all about numbers, and delivering for your company?  Do you love to make money for worthwhile organizations? Do you have a somewhat patchy career path, but have accomplishments that you're proud of and want to highlight?

4. You know yourself better than anyone, but the outward expression of who you are and what you have to offer may be best expressed visually with graphics than a large amount of words in the (ancient) traditional text-only résumé. But the key is not to what? Not over-design. Keep it clean, pleasing, and worthy of a contact from someone you want to get in touch with you.