The graphical CV?

Postby clam » July 23rd, 2011, 5:35 am


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I recently read on Michael Rollers blog : a visual resume is worth a thousand words.

http://www.michaelroller.com/?p=1157

It's an interesting article discussing how we spend hours on the visual impact of our portofolio's, carefully selecting the best sketches, product shots etc.. that show us of in the best possible light.. Yet as Michael put's it the resume gets no visual love. Which I agree with.

I guess it comes down to what we perceive a designers CV to be. Is it about where he has worked and his skillset? (which you could argue is allready shown in the portfolio). Or is a designer's cv actually about trying to decide whether the person is a good fit. If it's the latter is the text based cv the best way to go?

I appreciate there are many potential pitfalls here... If HR were to receive a graphical cv I imagine it would be equivalant to handing them a document writen in martian... by an illeterate martian. I also understand that you can still make your text based CV graphically pleasing. I guess what I am posing (or rather Michael is) as a discusion topic is that is the text cv for designers approrpiate. Should we be simply listing our experience's? Or should designers use that space to try and explain who we are and why we would be a good fit for a potential employee.

I am not entirely sure which camp I have my flag in but I can see merits in both approaches, slightly leaning more to the graphical route.

So how would you, (as senior designers or those who oversea the recruitment of new staff) react to a "graphical cv"? More importantly should we be looking a shift in the designers cv...

(Full credit to Michael Roller for this, I'm simply reposting his blog topic here for a larger discussion point none of this is my own insight. Great blog post Michael, hope you don't mind me re posting it up here on Core77)

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby shoenista » July 23rd, 2011, 6:10 am

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It's an interesting article discussing how we spend hours on the visual impact of our portofolio's, carefully selecting the best sketches, product shots etc.. that show us of in the best possible light.. Yet as Michael put's it the resume gets no visual love. Which I agree with.

But does it need to? Save it for your portfolio.

I guess it comes down to what we perceive a designers CV to be. Is it about where he has worked and his skillset? (which you could argue is allready shown in the portfolio). Or is a designer's cv actually about trying to decide whether the person is a good fit. If it's the latter is the text based cv the best way to go?

It's the facts about your career so far as soundbites, a bulletpointed list of your skills. Almost your wikipedia entry as you were. So I think you should stick to text and save the creativity for your portfolio

I appreciate there are many potential pitfalls here... If HR were to receive a graphical cv I imagine it would be equivalant to handing them a document writen in martian... by an illeterate martian
.
This, to me, is why a graphical cv is risky. So many companies nowadays don't even have human beings read resumes, they put it through a computer which looks for keywords. If you don't have those keywords in your cv, you ain't getting through to the next stage. If you send a format that can't be put through the software then it will go in the bin. I think when you write a cv you need to be thinking like an SEO expert not a designer. The HR person or software is your Google Bot. :D

I also understand that you can still make your text based CV graphically pleasing. I guess what I am posing (or rather Michael is) as a discusion topic is that is the text cv for designers approrpiate. Should we be simply listing our experience's? Or should designers use that space to try and explain who we are and why we would be a good fit for a potential employee.
The cv is the place to express your creativity with good copy. The portfolio is the place to express your creativity with design.


So how would you, (as senior designers or those who oversea the recruitment of new staff) react to a "graphical cv"? More importantly should we be looking a shift in the designers cv...

Probably more annoying than anything else. Anything that means you have to spend more time sifting through it to find the facts is a waste of time.

Just to add - something I've always noticed with many designers, you can see it in their cv, their portfolio or their website - they write these things as if they are targetting other designers. The people that see your site, your cv, your Linked In, the people that will be employing you or contracting you are not usually other designers. They are business people. You need to think like them in order to attract their attention.

So, no good sending a resume as a psd file, they won't have Adobe software, they'll probably be on a pc, or using a Blackberry. No good using designer talk, see things from their perspective, make things easier for them, some of them can struggle to understand portfolios or to 'read' them (especially recruiters I've found), they may not be 'visual' people like we designers are, so the well written resume may be thing that draws their attention more than anything graphical ever will.

In a nutshell, hedge your bets, ensure that what you send out can be understood by all.

To conclude: shout me down if you like (and maybe I am just old LOL) but I think these visual resumes are awful. They take too long to figure out. They don't tell me the facts that I need as an employer. I shouldn't need to contact you after I've seen the resume to find out how long you worked at 'x' and what your responsibilities were. I don't need to be seeing a graph that explains you are twice as interested in cars now than you were in 2008. (WTF did they put that in there for lol?) They look like a load of noise with no facts to me. Most of them seem to be by IT tech developer guys, not industrial designers? Perhaps there is more appeal there, these guys really do think in pie charts (my brother the app developer does anyway!)

Perhaps there is a challenge for us there? Don't can the traditional resume but figure out a way of representing your career in a visual and factual way? Could this be sent out with the resume in place of the normal pdf portfolio?

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby clam » July 23rd, 2011, 12:56 pm


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Shoenista, your right and the points you raised I expected to come up when associating the idea of a graphical cv as a direct replacement for the current copy CV. I was sort of hoping that my rather generic statement of pitfalls might cover them. My explanation probably wasn't the greatest\clearest, naming the post graphical cv porobably wasn't the best title but;

Perhaps there is a challenge for us there? Don't can the traditional resume but figure out a way of representing your career in a visual and factual way? Could this be sent out with the resume in place of the normal pdf portfolio?



Bang on, this is what I was intending to be as a discussion topic.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby shoenista » July 23rd, 2011, 1:45 pm

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As an aside., many of these graphical cv's seem to be a smoke lights and mirrors way of hiding the fact that you haven't really done much. Lots of fancy charts and stuff that look techy but don't tell you anything.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby yo » July 23rd, 2011, 4:13 pm

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I'm with Shoenista. I interview multiple candidates per week, sometimes per day, for all kinds of positions. What I'm looking for is literally a bullet point list of things you've actually done. That is wonderful that you drank gaterade on the train to work, save it. Just give me the relevant facts of what you have accomplished, where, and when.

You know what would get my attention? A resume from a fresh grad that took up half of one page, because that would be honest.

I was putting together a proposal, and in building the core team I had asked for all of their bios to give to the client, ranging from senior designers the to executive creative director that would touch the work. As the bios came in, I noticed that the younger the designer was, the longer their bio was, the longest being a full page, the shortest being my boss's who has been in the industry for something like 25 years which was 3 lines! Which do you think is more impactful? (I edited everyone else's down to three lines ;-) )

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby TaylorWelden » July 23rd, 2011, 8:59 pm

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Michael,

Can I ask what his 3 lines said? I'm intrigued!
Taylor Welden

Industrial Designer

Industrial Design Portfolio

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby mrtwills » July 24th, 2011, 9:21 am

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Designers rarely just design, I spend a lot of time corresponding through email or on the phone with clients or factories. So I think it's nice to have a resume that show's you can be clear, concise and professional literarily and grammatically. A resume is just a document that outlines your experience, so if you can do it in a nice clean way, you have succeeded. Let your portfolio do the talking as to your design skills. Do both well, someone will notice you're well rounded. A creative, talented designer who also can be professional and clear when needed.

Oh, and keep your personal logo off the header too.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby one-word-plastics » July 24th, 2011, 9:52 am

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I agree with the "Wikipedia" analogy. Just the facts mam. I love bullets.

The only point that I would disagree with Shoe on when she/he says most CVs will be read by non-designers. Most of the ID hiring managers ARE designers (or were designers). Yes, the resumes get filtered by recruiters & HR people, but the ultimate decision maker is probably a designer or creative person.
"Life is pretty simple: you do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
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Re: The graphical CV?

Postby mrtwills » July 24th, 2011, 12:17 pm

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one-word-plastics wrote:Yes, the resumes get filtered by recruiters & HR people, but the ultimate decision maker is probably a designer or creative person.


And they will filter your resume out before it even gets to the decision maker.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby tarngerine » July 24th, 2011, 4:05 pm

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I love the idea of having a 3 line resume, but I think it's very risky at my early stage in career... I know HR from larger companies do expect a "normal" lengthier resume, especially those who use things like HR Smart/other ghastly filtering systems. There comes the problem with visual CVs: if your content is not up to scratch and you don't have a text only version that you can put into systems like HR Smart, it'll be useless except as eye candy. I prefer the clean typographical approach, with many, many proofreads from different people in different fields. If someone from Information Systems can understand what you did as a designer in R&D, I think you're in a good place.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby yo » July 24th, 2011, 7:27 pm

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TaylorWelden wrote:Michael,

Can I ask what his 3 lines said? I'm intrigued!


If i remember correctly, first sentence was his tittle and what that meant, second was where he worked prior, third a list of clients....

This was a bio not a resume.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby shoenista » July 25th, 2011, 3:01 pm

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one-word-plastics wrote:I agree with the "Wikipedia" analogy. Just the facts mam. I love bullets.

The only point that I would disagree with Shoe on when she/he says most CVs will be read by non-designers. Most of the ID hiring managers ARE designers (or were designers). Yes, the resumes get filtered by recruiters & HR people, but the ultimate decision maker is probably a designer or creative person.


None of my clients are designers, barely any of my work is handled by designers. Most of my clients are salespeople. Freelance footwear designers tend to be employed by people who don't have a design team.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby rachelkroft » July 25th, 2011, 3:46 pm

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I agree to keeping to it short- but it shouldn't look 'not designed' either. I think it should compliment your portfolio in layout, intent etc (not just in content- but using similar visual elements). Short and sweet doesn't have to look like an after thought.

Re: The graphical CV?

Postby shoenista » July 26th, 2011, 5:12 am

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tarngerine wrote:I love the idea of having a 3 line resume, but I think it's very risky at my early stage in career... I know HR from larger companies do expect a "normal" lengthier resume, especially those who use things like HR Smart/other ghastly filtering systems. There comes the problem with visual CVs: if your content is not up to scratch and you don't have a text only version that you can put into systems like HR Smart, it'll be useless except as eye candy. I prefer the clean typographical approach, with many, many proofreads from different people in different fields. If someone from Information Systems can understand what you did as a designer in R&D, I think you're in a good place.


There is no point in trying to pad it out if you haven't done much, though. We've been graduates with not much to write about as well. We can see through any 'padding out' .

You are spot on about proof reading and keeping it clean and clear though. This is an important skill for a designer to have. When you are sending tech packs to a Chinese factory, you will benefit if you can get things across in a clear way. If your resume reads clearly, it's going to give your employer confidence in your abilities to communicate effectively.


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