4 Steps to Creating a Visual Resume That Stands Out

October 14, 2013

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.