I (mostly) diligently update my resume twice a year. I do this regularly because I use the updating process as sort of a retrospective on where I’m at, what I’ve done, and what I want to do moving forward. I try to get one of the updates in a few months before my formal review comes up at work – not because I’m fearful of what’s going to happen, but because I want to make sure I’m on track with goals my manager and I had laid out.
This year I decided to do something different: create a visual resume. Pal Ben Carey once had a Tweet or link about visual resumes, and I started exploring around. I’ve seen a number of them around over the years and have really been impressed by the concept. Visual resumes definitely speak to organizations with a creative, curious mindset, and I think they’re a great way for younger workers to better highlight things in their short careers. For old farts like myself visual resumes enable a much better understanding of one’s career timeline and milestones.
After a couple attempts here’s what I finally came up with. It’s somewhat (ok, mostly) copped from the beautiful one Jef Newsom of Improving put together; however, I tweaked a few things to fit my style. (The image is a link, so you can see the full-sized version if you want.)
I tried this initially in PowerPoint, but that quickly fell apart, so I moved to Visio. My first go using a horizontal timeline got a polite thumbs down from Josh and his recruiter wife Gretchen who both suggested a vertical orientation to emphasize the most current work.
There are a number of other really neat styles which look like subway maps, octopuses, and various graphs; however, this format was one I could pull off with the tooling I had available. I’m happy with it as my first attempt. It plays around with technologies I’ve been around, it shows my positions and roles, and I use the middle lane of callouts to highlight specific events which have shaped my career.
I might not use this resume by itself for every position I was interested in. I’d definitely send it with a strong cover letter, and I would likely accompany it with a traditional resume if I was looking at a company with a more formal culture.
That said, as another pal Joe Morel remarked, “Do you really want to work for a company that wouldn’t find this really cool?”