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Why You Need a Visual Resume: Part Two

Last week, I introduced the concept of the visual resume in ‘Why You Need a Visual Resume: Part One.’ Part Two will cover how to share your story and what you should include in your very own visual resume.

Scout a Location for Your Story

Since your goal is to share your story using the medium that works best for your industry, the first step to creating a strong visual resume is to conduct a bit of research. Should you create a website in WordPress to feature samples of your work alongside your story? Would YouTube suffice? Which medium would be easiest for you to share with others on social media or a business card? I decided to use SlideShare to create my visual resume since leading industry professionals in the communication and presentation field were displaying their work using slides. Check out my visual resume here.

Know the Difference Between the Traditional & the Visual

After deciding which medium works best for sharing your story, the second step to creating an effective visual resume is to decide what to share. Communicating your story is essential with a visual resume, so decide how you want to do just that. Remember that a visual resume is very different from the standard paper resume. Where a paper resume lists skills, activities, jobs, and education, a visual resume gives you the chance to show who you are in addition to what you do.

Avoid Tired Buzzwords and Clichés

LinkedIn says that the most overused professional buzzwords in 2012 included “innovative,” “motivated,” “dynamic,” “creative,” and “effective.” They add that most people claim they are “creative” and have “extensive experience” With so many people writing the same things on their paper resumes, how can you stand out? The goal with your visual resume is to tell your story, a unique story, about who you are as a human being. Instead of just making the same claims as everyone else, you can use your visual resume to PROVE that you are creative or dynamic or motivated.

Share Your Story in a Unique Way

For example, David Crandall used a “superpower” theme to tell his story. He says on his 26th slide that he has “X-Ray Vision” (his term for systems optimization and business intelligence) and then proves this by giving specific examples of his work saving a company $2 million a year. This unique approach allows Crandall to stand out, to prove his worth, and to tell his story.

Brainstorm how you will showcase your personality and your story alongside your technical and creative skills. After taking an inventory of how other people have created strong visual resumes, spend some time imagining the way you can stand out. Students in my Professional Communication and Presentation class develop a visual resume each month, so feel free to email me at if you have any questions or for some additional help and support getting started. Also check out Course Director Chiara Ojeda’s SlideShare presentation called “Visualizing Resumes.”

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