4 Steps to Creating a Visual Resume That Stands Out

visual-resume-1-638Last week, we discussed how to present and sell yourself online. Let’s take that one step forward and focus on how to actually build a visual resume that presents and sells yourself online. Personally, I like to call these “You Decks,” since they are all about the topic you know best: You. The trouble is determining what to include and not include in your “You Deck.” Here a few suggestions to help get you started:

Step 1: Make the First Slide Count

Remember, you are building this visual resume for an online audience, so everything comes down to that first slide, which will be showcased as a thumbnail. It’s your one chance to get someone to click on you. If isn’t visually engaging, no one is going to bother viewing your presentation.

Step 2: Brand Yourself

Since we are on the topic of look and feel, make sure you pursue consistency with everything. This includes your choice of colors, photos (stock and personal) and typography. The goal is that this visual resume will land you an interview, a phone call or an answered email, leading you to eventually presenting other materials. With that said, take the appropriate steps to ensure consistency across all of your materials, and it starts with the visual resume.

Step 3: Transparency Matters

This is your opportunity to tell your story and go beyond the traditional resume. Photo of you? Sure. Photo of you finishing an Ironman? Go for it. Image of your family. Possibly. This is your prime chance to really showcase the “whole” you. Today’s business culture has already combined work with personal. It’s time to showcase both sides of your story.

Step 4: Be Expected

This is a visual resume so you’ll need to keep a sense of order with your organization. Make sure there is a logical flow so if you start with the present then logically move to the past (i.e. current job, past job #1, past job #2, education, skills, etc). Or if you start with the past then move gradually to the present.

Step 5: Be Unexpected

Once you have mastered the above, aim for a bit of unexpectedness with your intro and outro. The core of your resume should be when your left brain (analytical) really shines. Your intro and outro should be reserved for your right brain (creativity). This is where you can reserve a few slides to be a bit abstract and surprising. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you excel at toothbrush product marketing where you spent several years working for an organization like Procter & Gamble. You could start your deck predictably with a slide called “My name is John.” Or you could be a bit unexpected by starting with a story that leads with “This is a toothbrush.” This abstract approach screams creativity.

Step 6: Ask For It

Your pitch is worthless if you don’t ask for something. If you want the viewer to invite you in for an interview, ask for it. If you want the viewer to visit your personal site, ask for it. If you want the viewer to connect with you on LinkedIn, ask for it. You get the point. You need to provide purpose and meaning behind your visual resume.

Creating a visual resume can quickly become a fun and very rewarding task. Plus, you’ll be amazed by the amount of traction you will receive by utilizing this medium — it’s a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. Try it, and don’t forget to embed it in your LinkedIn profile, personal website and elsewhere on the Web. You won’t be disappointed.

Need more inspiration? Check out these great visual resumes:

Read More: Starter Tips for the SlideShare Beginner

About the Author

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

16 Responses to “4 Steps to Creating a Visual Resume That Stands Out”

  1. Cory Jim

    Great blog Scott! However it says 4 steps, but you gave us 2 BONUS steps. ; ) We just uploaded Anna’s Visual Resume to add to our collection. goo.gl/6WdpgJ

  2. arlinda

    what the software you use make a visual resume? the visual resume video or slideshow? sorry for my bad english

  3. Lynn

    Very useful article. I made several types of resume of myself, but It was just a ‘graphic’ but nothing until now. I just wanted to emphasize my skills in that design programs, but I didn’t know about this points. Now I got some hint about how to make my resume works for real job market. Thank you for your opinion, and I’ll share this with my friends.

  4. martanto

    So,what’s maked to the sofware,I’m sorry,i can’t make to english..tq

  5. lewis

    Visual resumes are cute but: Do you think a HR person or recruiter will want to watch these slideshows from a job applicant? I don’t think so. We get dozens of CV/resumes per month. The average time a HR person looks at a paper resume is 8-10 seconds. Why would a HR person spend more time then this reviewing a visual resume?

  6. Dana Leavy-Detrick

    Interesting as a compliment to your traditional resume – definitely gives you a platform to expand on the information you want to present, that maybe doesn’t fit within the formal resume framework. But I wouldn’t necessarily use this instead of a text resume – they still need to be able to scan, parse, and forward that along. Good stuff.

  7. Visual Resume

    First of all nice article . visual resume are defiantly provide you a better chance and help you to stand out form crowd. most of the recruiter take 5-6 sec. to see a resume , and your visual resume help them to see what you are and you can provide.

  8. mike hoyle

    what a sorry bunch of unimaginative conveyor-belt beings, treading their sad circle from office to home to lunch to toilet to bar to grave – ladder climbing nobodies – more of the same individualist goal-lead and desire-driven pen pushers – where is your originality? How are you helping to pay your debts?
    If everyone uses this technique, it is still down to the hapless ‘taste’ of the recruitment consultant office nobody – be a real go getter, move to China