Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Consume' my Resume'

In the last few weeks, I have spent a lot of time reviewing candidate resumes for a few roles. One thing that struck me was how difficult it was to quickly get the essence of the resume. Some resumes were too detailed, some didn't have enough and some were just too complicated. In either case, I ended up spending significant time extracting the relevant information by myself. There was also a high chance that I missed seeing important information because it as hidden in huge amounts of text. Finally, I couldn't help but think how identity-less these resumes made the candidates rows of gray suit-clad professionals lined up.

Yesterday, I read an article that showed how recruiters scanned resumes. Very interesting. And proves that my frustration with resumes is quite common. Read it here.
(Ironically, this article discourages use of visuals!)

Based on my own experience of drafting my resume, which I did several times last year, I understand why resume writing is such a problematic task. There are no standards that one can follow and the advice you get online is varied and too generic. Finally, most people don't spend too much time crafting their resumes. It's a task to be completed (usually at the last minute), and once done, it doesn't get any major overhauls, only tweaks.

While searching for good resume formats last year, I came across a few that were really exciting, designed like infographics. Imagine receiving a resume like the first two shown in the article below. It will stop the recruiter in his/her tracks!

(Note: The first time I had seen a visual resume was when Ananda Gupta had sent in his a couple of years ago. It was not as complex as some in the article, but it was mindblowing in its message. In one shot, it told me what he had done in the last few years, and in that one shot, it also told me that he and his creative work were not separate entities.)

This makes sense from an ID perspective as well. Don't we spend hours visualizing complex concepts because a well-designed visual can aid understanding and learning...and what pray is more complex than a person's professional journey? The similarity continues. Just like when visualizing concepts, there is a danger of overdoing and missing the point (some of the resumes in the article above are too complex for me). And just like while designing instruction for complex concepts, the audience must be the centerpiece- content must be designed so that it speaks to the audience. My son just commented that the worst would be to have to explain your infographic to the recruiter!

I really wanted a fancy infographic like in the article above, but didn't have access to the tools and resources required. However, the idea of simplifying and visually representing one's journey was something I was committed to implementing. So, I went for a regular Word resume, but added a single visual showing my career progress over the years, companies I worked with, roles I held and the countries I lived in. No fancy tools used, no help from anyone, just me and my favorite "tables" in MS Word.

(Click to expand)

I have no doubt that this representation can be improved drastically with just a little bit of effort...after all, this was also done last minute! But I also have no doubt that people reviewing my longish resume would have found this visual representation, like an advanced organizer, a relief and an aid. And no doubt that it injected a bit of my colorful personality into the drab black and white document!


  1. I can't consume more than 5 lines of text. So ...
    On a serious note, The world is window shopping and I'm selling myself.
    Honored by the mention. *humbled*

  2. Hello, Puja! I would like to introduce - new visual recruiting service which automatically visualizes resumes (with psycho-social profile)and make it instantly infographic style and also you can apply to the visual vacancies. It is based on the idea of presenting an information visual way.

    We’re sure that visualization can make online recruiting much easier and effective for job seekers and employers.
    What do you think about it?
    You can create your infographic resume here: or find vacancy examples:
    and resume examples:


    1. I tried your resume service. Must say it looks good. Not too complex and the visual representation is neat and informative. When I have time, I will complete mine and share with the blog readers.

  3. Love this article. As always it is simple and honest and insightful. Made me look at my resume in a new light.

    Your resume is also cool. Reading your blog is on my "daily first things to do" list.