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January 22, 2011 / Brandon Raper

How To Create A Visual Resume

You’re sitting at your desk looking over resumes, trying to find a new recruit to fill the latest job opening.  Each resume looks the exact same, bullet points, summaries, past jobs.  Then you stumble upon a resume that includes a powerpoint presentation.  Well…it’s not horribly out of the ordinary, but you’ll look at anyways just to rid yourself of the monotony of reading these other resumes.

This is the reason for even attempting to create a visual resume.  Standing out from the crowd is hard to do when it comes to just using text on paper.  So why just use text?  It’s 2011, get with the times. So how do you create  a visual resume?  Well I’ll tell you next.

Creating a visual resume can be pretty intimidating.  You don’t need programs like photoshop or illustrator but it really couldn’t hurt.  If you aren’t an avid photoshoper then creativity and free programs are your best friend.  I’ll show you how I created mine with just Powerpoint and how I made the front page of twice with my visual resumes.

Choose your media

To start, you have to decide on what your media will be.  There’s a lot of decisions to be made. You could use powerpoint, create a design within your resume, or if you’re technically able you could create a website and/or flash video. So what’s the next step?

Open your mind

Don’t be afraid when creating a visual resume.  You are wanting to step out of the box, show your creativity, show that you aren’t just one of the normal resumes that an executive will read and throw to the side.  Now that you’ve chosen your media type, we need to start off with a bang.  For example, on my Visual Resume I created a very simple yet effective opening 4 pages on my powerpoint.  I created a word search in photoshop and placed my name and desired title in the letters.  For each slide I circled part of the words as if completing the word search.  Here’s some simple steps to find that creative spark…

1. Think of your desired title and search wikipedia for the title and words associated with it.  It could give you a great idea like the word search did for me.

2. Piggy back: look through other visual resumes and see what they did with their creative sparks and try to derive yours off of that.  Do not copy the idea, just build and create more.

3. Look through your resume for ideas. If you worked as a restaurant server and are looking for a position in sales, you could have the first slide be a food tray and insert your name and desired title on the tray (If you’re good with photoshop place the words into food)

So now it’s time to move on once we’ve found your initial creative spark.

Content Generation

When you look at typical resume it has bulleted lists of skills, past jobs, qualifications, and schooling.  Throw that out the window. Resumes that are found online need to be informative and INTERESTING.  Who wants to read about how organized you are?  Not this guy.  Visual resumes will contain  completely different sections (if done through powerpoint, we’ll go over the graphic resume at the end). First, introduce yourself.  Talk to the employer by using words like I, Me, You.  Try saying “I was born in” and bring up questions that an employer may ask.  If you’re going over where you went to school at, you could end the slide with saying “What exactly was I involved with at school?” and then answer it on the next slide.  Bring up objections and questions the employer would have and then answer them.


This doesn’t just mean insert pictures into your slideshow, it means use different background colors, use different fonts, create different layouts.  Take your time and make it look like you actually did spend time creating this resume for potential employers.

Content is King

So now we’ve introduced ourselves, whats next?  The most important part of a visual resume is listing your accomplishments.  Whether you sold the most product, had the best customer service score, or simply have been working at one place for a long time, you need to bring these facts out.  In my resume I start off with accomplishments at school.  Not my GPA though…I keep that out because I feel it’s not necessary.  First, I show my creations in school, certain flyers that were created for extra-curricular activities, advertisements for projects, and end with some humor as well (always good to tastefully add humor).
After my school accomplishments are completed and relevant graphics are created or added I move to my career accomplishments.  Try and use numbers. Value is easy to see if you can show what you’ve done and how you can increase value for another company.  For example, my title for the slide is “Projects I’ve Speared” and the first project is the development of a social media strategy for the company Uganda Beads. I then have graphics that pertain to what I did for them such as logo creation and even clickable links to the pages that I created.  This not only shows them instantly what has been done but gives them opportunities to go to other sites to spend more time looking into your accomplishments.

Become Human

To keep yourself from looking like a resume clone, insert your interests. I start out with creating a “Blog login” screen on a slide with my username (Another simple creative spark in the resume). I then go on to say I like sports, painting, and reading. Then to quickly insert my skills once the employer is completely engaged I use the same style as I did my skills.  Quick words and small graphics in one simple slide.  Even though it is a visual resume, you still need to give them reasons to hire you other than your creativity.

End Strong

To create even more content for the employer to see I end by listing off where they can find me online and off.  I list off all of my social media websites and my email.  Each link is click-able and will save time for the employer if they want to find out more.  Don’t forget to put pictures of yourself throughout the resume as well, this will make it more personal.

Now most of these tips are for a powerpoint based visual resume. These types of visual resumes are incredibly powerful and very simple to create.  Using simple pictures and Word Art found on powerpoint can create a stunning resume that an employer not only won’t forget, but will be glad to read.  In a later installment I’ll go over how to create a graphic resume.  Graphic resumes are a very touchy subject and really should only be used for certain job applications.  What are those jobs?  You’ll just have to wait and find out.

Here’s a link to my visual resume I created with powerpoint, followed by a link for infographic resume I created for Riot Games.



Leave a Comment
  1. shannonkaper / Jan 26 2011 10:24 AM

    Brandon – this is a great idea, I’m excited to give it a try!!


    • Brandon Raper / Jan 26 2011 5:50 PM

      Thanks a lot Shannon! If you need any suggestions drop me a line and I’ll be glad to help.

  2. Thanks a lot Shannon! If you need any suggestions drop me a line and I’ll be glad to help.


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