In some sectors, creative CVs and original job applications are neither common nor desirable. If you’re looking for a job within a creative industry like advertising, communication, design, within a start-up or a company with a creative department, then an original CV will set you apart from the rest!
Thinking (and creating) outside the box
Creative CVs are best prepared with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Though there are other tools to use, these programs may limit your imagination and the result may be unprofessional. If you need inspiration, you’ll find amazing CVs on websites such as behance.net or dribble.com, like this stunning example by Pernille Posselt from Denmark:
Don’t have the Adobe Creative Suite? No problem, you can find free demo versions and tutorials on the internet. You’ll probably need some time to fiddle about and find your way around the program before creating graphic elements and original layouts. Jonny Evans has created a design template (Designer’s Resume Template) for these cases – and it can be downloaded for free. Thanks Jonny! Important tip for the Adobe programs: Be sure to use guides!
You might have read about infographic CVs before (maybe even in this blog). And you might even have decided you want one too. But if you’re not working in a creative profession, you might also, quite rightly, ask yourself if your weird and wonderful infographic CV will genuinely be appreciated by recruiters. To put the idea to the litmus test, we tested initial reactions by showing an infographic CV and a regular CV to recruiting professionals from all sectors and asking them to compare the two. Here’s what we found.
Infographic CV v. traditional CV?
Patricia (Talent Manager, Grupo Intercom): “Sales Executive”
“I see the infographic CV as being complementary to the regular CV. You never know which type of recruiter you’re going to come across – if they’re going to be left or right-brained, which they’re going to prefer… – so handing in both CVs hits both targets. This way, you allow the recruiter to stay in their comfort zone, but give a new spin on things. From the infographic CV, I can tell that the candidate is technically literate and innovative, and organises information well – all important qualities in a sales position.”
“Yes, it’s a risk, but like everything, if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to take risks. Make sure the infographic CV is well-made, however, as an unsuccessful attempt will do far more harm than good. And if you have any doubts, don’t do it.”
Maite (Director/Chief Hiring Manager, Amma Horta Old People’s Residence): “Senior Nurse”
“They both have their good points and their bad points. The standard CV is more familiar, although I have to say that the infographic CV is very graphic and well-presented, and gives a good summary of the information provided.”
“Assuming that the infographic CV contains the same level of description as the standard CV, I would have no preference between the two, but it may be difficult to include everything in an infographic CV.”
Javier (CEO of JobisJob): “Java Technician”
“Recruiters get a ridiculous amount of CVs. Prior knowledge of conventions help your eye adjust far more quickly to a more traditional CV – you know more or less where to expect everything and where all the information will be found. So it could be that your infographic CV gets chucked out on the grounds that it takes too long to read. It also might be easier to add in second-level detail and description in a normal CV than an infographic CV.”
“An infographic CV is really like a souped-up business card, and could be appropriate to hand out to recruiters on the second interview, alongside your traditional CV. This will help recruiters remember you, and show you are different and innovative.”
One thing is clear – if you’re going to hand in an infographic CV, even if it is just as an accompaniment to a regular CV, you need to make sure it’s made to a high standard. Take a look at our previous article for some tips.
So you’ve seen those funky infographic CVs around, and have decided that you have to have one too. Creating a striking visual representation of your shining career trajectory, however, is easier said than done (and not so easily said, either). If you don’t want to pay for a design agency and aren’t capable of making your own infographic from scratch, you could try using some of the online resources listed below to help you.
(Before proceeding, do you really need an infographic CV? You might like to check out our latest article too see what recruiting pros think)
Image banks – Many online image banks, such as iStockPhoto and Getty Images, sell “packs” of infographic elements which you can use in your image-editing programme of choice. A good halfway-house if you have some design skills, but want to give things a more professional touch.
PowerPoint – Surprisingly, you don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to make an infographic CV. Although it may lack much of the deftness of more advanced software, the humble MSOffice PowerPoint can also be used as a reasonable alternative. Even better, you can find free PowerPoint infographic templates and usage advice online.
Piktochart – An online tool that provides a wide variety of templates for making all kinds of infographic. Designs can sometimes be hard to customise, but otherwise Piktochart provides a good way to make professional-looking infographic CVs. Comes in free and paid versions. Also, take a look at Infogr.am and Visual.ly, which provide similar services.
Visualize.me– Also discussed on our previous article (“6 free tools for creating a dynamic CV”), Visualize.me is an easy-to-use free online tool specially designed for creating infographic CVs. Taken from the high street of the design world, Visualize.me provides designs which don’t look too shabby, but bear in mind that there’s a chance that everyone else’s CVs will look exactly the same as yours. Resumup is a similar programme.
Wordle – An old favourite. If you’re a little unsure about how to handle the infographic CV, a good halfway house can be to add the odd graphic element to standard text. As well as including the occasional line diagram, etc. from programmes like Visualize.me, you could create an attractive and easily-customisable word cloud displaying your numerous talents on Wordle. Cut and paste into your regular CV to give it that little extra something.
If you’re applying for a job as a designer, or in other creative professions, using an infographic CV may help your application stand out from the crowd, but do beware the pitfall of the unnecessary and unprofessional-looking infographic CV. Whatever you do, keep things simple, and if you can’t make something that looks good an infographic CV is best left to the professionals. See what you can create, but bear in mind that it may be wisest not to try this one at home.