Resumes with Visual  Flair

          It isn’t enough to have a pretty resume. It has to deliver results. It is also important to have a plain-text version available as well. A traditional Word document resume will likely be required when submitting an online job application through an applicant tracking system (ATS) In these circumstances, you will want to make sure your resume contains the requisite information. The elements of a “good” resume can vary by industry or occupation, and this chapter will take a look at what to you can do to mark your qualifications pop and your visual resume attract attention.


          It’s a highly competitive job market and you have to clearly demonstrate how your unique skills and experience are relevant and beneficial to that particular employer. We see more people using infographics, QR codes and visual resumes to package their information in new and interesting ways.

-ROSEMARY HAEFNER, Vice President of

Human Resources at CareerBuilder


Making the Initial Cut

          There are certain pieces of information that employers look for when skimming a resume. How long they actually review a resume depends on the personal preferences of the reviewer. Six seconds is the average amount of time reviewers give to a first review of a resume, according to study by theLadders. In a CareerBuilder study, one in five HR managers reported that they spend less than 30 seconds reviewing applications, and around 40 percent spend less than one minute, according to Rosemary Haefner. Whether it is 6 or 30 seconds, neither is long enough to digest the vast amounts of information you’ve so carefully selected to go on your resume. You can follow some of these best practices to help your resume make it to the next round:

1. The overall layout should be visually appealing. Allow for enough white space and sufficient margins so the written information is readable.

2. The heading should contain vital information such as your name and how to contact you. The heading is also a good place to put your web address or LinkedIn profile URL. If space allows, you may want to include a link to your visual, info graphic, or social resume as well.

3. Your summary answers these questions: “What makes you unique?” and “Why should I hire you ?”

4. Technical skills might include the specific instrumentation or lab equipment that you use. It might also contain a list of the hardware, operating systems, or software that you’ve experienced, especially if you are an IT professional.

5. Your work experience should flow from the most recent to the oldest and clearly define your employer and job title for each position you mention.

6. Your job title should be meaningful to people outside your company. For example, if you had an unusual title, which seems to be in fashion these days, you may also need to include the more commonly recognized title-for instance, Chief Catalyst/Marketing Manager. If your title is too vague, you should add clarification by specifying the department, division, or specialty you practiced-Analyst/Business Process Research.

7. Anyone looking at your resume wants to know for each job how long you worked there and when you worked there. You don’t need to include exact dates on your resume; however, you should provide them on the job application.

8. Instead of just listing common job duties, take it a step further and accentuate achievements, including the positive outcomes of your work.

9. Education and professional development are important, but seldom as important as the experience you gained from doing the job. List the schools you attended and the degree you received or pursued. Including a graduation date may not be necessary if it was more than 5 to 10 years ago.

10. Certifications, publications, licenses, community activities, and professional associations should be included as long as they are relevant or serve a purpose on your resume.

          It is difficult to provide concrete terms or suggestions given the wide range of people and ATSs used to evaluate your resume. Sadly, if you ask 10 people for feedback on your resume, you are likely to receive 10 different recommendations. (See Figure 4-1.)

Hannah Morgan. (2014). The Infographic Resume. The United States of America. McGraw-Hill Education books.