The Truth About Infographic Resumes

As a resume writer with 25 years of experience, I have seen the resume evolve from plain to complex. The “old” resumes I receive these days from clients are more sophisticated that the resumes I prepared back in the early 1990’s. Year after year, resume writers are increasingly challenged to produce “designer” resumes in order to make their client feel like they are getting more for their money — and worse, that they are going to land more interviews. Sadly, it has become more of a marketing tool than a practical approach for the real world.

For a long while, shading, color blocks, lines, bullets, font choices, and indentation ruled. Gradually, charts came into vogue. Nowadays, the modern resume is all about infographics. You might have seen them: a concise one-page resume with lots of color and graphic images going up, down, and across the page with little content. Unfortunately, unless a talented resume writer (content development) has advanced skills working with graphic elements, they need to use a template and often spend more time on the layout than the content. When it comes to graphics, too much of a good thing has the opposite effect.

While I am an advocate for attractive resumes, I am not a fan of the infograhic resume. While it is true that visual elements can make it easy for HR managers and recruiters to quickly navigate a resume, too many elements can leave them confused. A little shading, a few lines, consistent indentations, and the use of a chart in some cases is all that is needed to make a resume attractive.

It takes a lot of time to create an infographic resume and job seekers are on a budget. Even if they are willing to pay the extra money to have an infographic resume created, would they really see a return on their investment? Will the resume lead to more job interviews? The short answer is no.

Most HR managers and recruiters tend to lean more towards the traditional resume. If they need to take a blueprint reading course to understand what they are looking at, it will probably go in the trash. Traditional resumes are more practical because HR manager and recruiters understand how to read them. Whether chronological, hybrid, or functional, these standard formats leave little to the imagination and lots of room for important content.

If a job seeker tries too hard to impress, they will turn the reader off. So what is the best solution to stand out in a pile of digital or paper resumes? Balance. Be creative, but do not go overboard.

Lastly, unless you are sending the resume as a PDF, designer resumes are not compatible with resume databases. Of course you can always get around that by sending both the plain text and PDF versions of your resume in the same email. But, when it comes to a human being setting their eyes on your resume, you do not want to overwhelm them with a resume that is 70% graphics and 30% content. It would simply defeat the purpose.

Proceed with caution and keep the reader in mind!

Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. Notable credentials include her former role as Second Vice President of NRWA and contribution to 25+ resume and cover letter sample books. To learn more visit