How and why to make a Visual Resume?

Let me begin this blogpost with one single question ‘Is it your goal to stand out from other candidates in front of prospective employers?’ If your answer is yes, you certainly realise the magnitude of differentiation one needs in order to distinguish oneself in this competitive job market. Today, a rising concept like that of a Visual Resume can be key to your next employment opportunity!

Let’s get down to the task.

How to make a visual resume?

What are the essentials? Remember, the first piece of you that is assessed by a prospective employer is your resume. It contains all about your past work experience, education, et al. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on any opportunity of impressing them, isn’t it?

So, here’s your step-by-step guide to make a hell of an impressive Visual Resume:

1. Pull out your resume (the standard one)

2Highlight the points in your resume that you would want to clearly indicate in your presentation

3. Script it. Create a storyboard of your resume. The way you build your story will decide how interested the employer will be. Take a cue from how this guy narrates here

4Do you see an opportunity to do something interesting? Graphs? Visuals? Infographic? Anything? Use them!

5Once the story is chalked-out, start looking for pictures that would aid you in story-telling. Pictures are very important to your resume. They’ll make it more visually appealing than anything else. Take special care that the pictures you choose are not pixelated or low-res.

6Start putting together slide by slide of your resume. One slide at a time – slowly; because it’s worth that much of time!

*I’d advise you to make optimum use of Photoshop wherever necessary. For example, while converting pictures to .png format so that the rectangular white background does not show up.

Now, while creating a storyboard there are some important points that need to be taken care of:

  • It should not seem complicated to the recipient. The flow should be easy to understand.
  • Think of it as you narrating a story via presentation. It should reflect YOU. Your personality.
  • Be different. Be original. Do not copy. Come up with your own story which highlights your positives!
  • Add a tinge of humor. Believe it or not, when someone gets a break from reading traditional resumes it does not hurt to find something humorous. It works to your advantage.
  • After every slide, go back to see if you are actually communicating what you wanted to. If not, rework.

Essentially, Visual Resume is like an open canvas: whatever can be done should be done! And ultimately, it all boils down to:

  1. How it stands out from other chunk of resumes
  2. How effectively it delivers the message/thought
  3. How it presents your ‘personality’ rather than just your work profile

Visual Resumes have seen the light of the day with the advent of Youtube, Slideshare and other such websites. What it gives you is the opportunity to project your image in a free and flexible way, not constrained by the margins and type-fonts of a traditional resume. You can check out some of the best Visual Resumes that exist online to get a hint of what I’m talking about.

Also, closer home, you can have a look at my visual resume which helped me grab my first job. :)

I have taken a rather simple approach of narrating my resume and made it visually appealing. That’s it! Overall it is a blend of original fonts, imagery, interesting graphs, originality, and yes – a little humor!

Although the Visual Resumes have not gained ground yet, make sure you’re ready with it so that you leave no stone unturned to stun your prospective employer even before you meet them. :)

P.S.: It makes sense to embed a QR Code of your Visual Resume in your traditional CV.

Photo Image courtesy juhansonin

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Saad Ahmed Shaikh is a digital media evangelist. Under the garb of an excellent example of insignificant human existence, he earns his bread by being a Digital Marketer at one of the top social media agency. He boasts of standing 5th in the Slideshare's Worlds Best Presentation contest 2010. Apart from this, he is a passionate photographer, a slide-deck specialist and an EDM fan. Among other things, he holds a Masters degree in Business Administration which he dreams of putting to use some day.
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