Infographic Resume Guide: When to Use One and Tips for Yours

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn more about this visually appealing resume option and whether it's right for your job search.

[Featured image] An infographic cover letter sits in the foreground, held by an interviewer. In the background, a man appears on a laptop screen in a Zoom interview.

An infographic resume, also called a visual resume, uses graphic design elements, such as colors, fonts, layouts, charts, and images, to convey your professional experience. This type of resume typically includes all of the important information that would appear in a traditional resume, such as your work history, education, and key skills, but with a more creative presentation.

This format deviates from the traditional chronological resume format, so be aware of two key things as you consider using an infographic resume:

  1. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are typically not programmed to read infographic resumes.

  2. Recruiters and hiring managers tend to have varied opinions about infographic resumes.

These points can make it difficult to determine when (or whether) you should use an infographic resume. In this article, we’ll discuss when you might choose this format and offer some tips for creating yours.

Should you use an infographic resume?

To determine whether an infographic resume is right for you, it’s essential to consider your audience, whether that’s an ATS or a human recruiter. Generally, you should only use an infographic resume if you are submitting your resume directly to a recruiter or the hiring manager and you are confident that the person receiving your resume will welcome the more creative presentation.

Let’s take a closer look at both points.

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Infographic resumes and ATS

It’s common practice for recruiters to use ATS software to organize their hiring process. Any time you apply for a role through an online form, it’s reasonable to assume that you are submitting your application through an ATS.

Recruiters can set ATS software to scan submitted resumes for specific keywords, often related to an applicant’s experience and skills, to identify qualified candidates for a role. Then, the recruiter reviews the applications for those candidates filtered by the ATS. This means that a human recruiter will likely never see the applicants that the ATS deems unqualified.

In general, ATS scanners tend to interpret chronological resumes most accurately, while they may not be able to interpret the type of graphics common to infographic resumes. So, if you are applying for a job online, it’s worth using an ATS-friendly resume format.

Hiring managers' opinions of infographic resumes

If you're submitting a resume directly to a recruiter or hiring manager, this eye-catching format may help you stand out as a candidate. Still, opinions vary among recruiters and hiring managers. Some find the design elements distract from the crucial information they’re looking for in a resume, while others take a middling perspective, deeming this format appropriate only for creative roles, such as in graphic design or marketing.

Unless you can ask the hiring manager for their preference or they’ve directly requested you submit an infographic resume, it’s generally safest to submit a standard, text-based resume. However, there are several ways you can demonstrate your creativity within a job application.

Other places to show your creativity include:

  • On your resume by describing your creative achievements and outcomes

  • In your portfolio by compiling examples of past creative work

  • On your website, either by uploading past projects (similar to a portfolio) or including your infographic resume

Free resume template

For general application purposes, many experts recommend submitting a standard chronological resume. This is the most approachable format for programmatic and human resume readers. Depending on your goals and background, consider using a functional or combination resume.

Use this free chronological resume template to start making yours.

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Infographic resume tips

If you are creating an infographic resume—either to submit for a role or to publish on your website—here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Research the company.

Design can be highly personal, so before you create your infographic resume, research the company you are applying for to get a sense of their visual and aesthetic preferences to ensure they align with your creative sensibilities.

2. Follow design principles.

Applying commonly accepted design principles can make it easier for hiring managers to read and understand your resume. Consider using a template or hiring a professional if you aren’t a design professional. Tools like Canva and Venngage offer plenty of resume templates for those new to infographic resumes.

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3. Organize your information clearly.

Your core purpose in submitting a resume is to share your career journey. Make sure your design elements enhance your storytelling rather than distract from or hide your accomplishments.

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Written by Coursera • Updated on

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