( Post 8 of 25 )
In school, we are taught the basics of CV writing, in order to prepare us for the real world. Your CV should ideally contain your education history, your employment history, your references, your interests and hobbies. Generally, it should be a chunk of text (although not too big a chunk, spanning too many pages!) and it could also contain a profile/headshot photo of you, but even that’s optional.
While it’s good to have a standard process for CV writing, which also means that there’s a standard process for CV reading for employers (i.e. they know what information to expect a CV to contain), it’s great to see people breaking the traditional boundaries, with things like video CVs and infographic CVs, which can be very attention-grabbing and eye-catching to employers, particularly during these tough times as well as for industries suffering from a high-supply-of-candidates/low-demand-of-roles type situation. A couple of years ago we created a Squidoo lens (article) containing (and celebrating) several examples, some of which weren’t just creative and clever, but they actually did the job – the jobseeker landed a job that they wanted.
So it was really interesting to come across this piece on Ask A Manager: Your CV Shouldn’t Be An Infographic. Alison (the author) argues that it can result in omitting vital information to fit the design constraints; that it can be hard to digest; that ultimately it can look a bit cheesy. I can completely see that, but I left a comment saying this:
“It boils down to who you are and what you do.”
Yes, if you’re an accountant, a solicitor or you’re looking for an admin job, then an infographic CV might work against you. It may certainly get the employers’ attention, but they may just think that it’s really, really bizarre.
But what if you’re going for a graphic design job? A web development job? An online marketing job? A video production job? Surely a video CV or an infographic CV could work very well for you then.
I understand the points and concerns that Alison raises, however you could argue that a competent graphic designer would create an infographic CV that doesn’t sacrifice the necessary information. Here’s a great example of an infographic CV that shows a timeline of the candidate’s employment and education history. It still contains the same information that it would were it a few pages of text instead – it’s just laid out differently.
For video CVs, it’s a similar story. If a video CV is done well (such as these examples), it can really work in your favour. People can get a real glimpse of you as a person and may also see that you’re a confident speaker (again, depending on the job role, this can work well, but may not be essential). Aimee Bateman of Careercake.com has some great tips:
At Computer Recruiter, we recruit for IT roles as well as for some online marketing roles. A web developer may want to create their CV as part of their website, rather than simply relying on a Word document and a LinkedIn profile. For an online marketer, having a CV that’s a little bit different can make a very strong point about understanding how important it is to stand out, whether it be as an individual or as a business.
Does this mean the death of the traditional text CV? Well I wouldn’t go that far. I’m certainly not trying to say that we should all ditch the text CV, but at the end of the day, depending on who you are and what you do, it’s worth exploring and considering all the possible options. While being different in your jobseeking approach may work against you, it may also work out very well for you.
[Infographic CV image credit – Doug Belshaw]