Resume Graphics: Nice or Lice?

15 Feb

Should you use graphics of any kind on your resume?  A photo? Line art? Text Boxes? Decorative flourishes of any kind?

I’m not one who likes to see graphics of any kind on a resume.  There are many reasons, but on a very practical note, jobhunters need to recognize that resumes are input on large-scale into a whole variety of applicant tracking systems (ATS) by recruiters and HR departments.  Sometimes, they just turn the resume into a searchable PDF, but often the format is changed, and information extracted to fill a variety of field in the corporate database.  In the process, information is sometimes not interpreted correctly, or the resume comes out looking terrible – just the opposite of the candidate’s intent.

The standard in the recruiting industry is to strongly discourage graphics in resumes.  A new article just published on is taking another tack on the issue.  Read it, and see what you think: .  It does the best possible job of explaining why, in some cases, some graphics might be effective.  And, it does a great job of outlining the traditional rationales offered on why graphics of any kind are frowned upon.

Your thoughts? Post a message below and let’s get a discussion rolling!



2 Responses to “Resume Graphics: Nice or Lice?”

  1. jasmiller February 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    For a position utilizing graphic design skills, a graphic resume seems time efficient. However, keyword searches are what everyone is using to find relevant content quickly. I’d use both, but for trying to keep my resume on 2 pages, let alone one! Sending a portfolio as a follow-up may make the most sense. People do business with people they like. Based on that, the 1st order of business would be to find out what a prospective employer likes, needs and wants and show them you can deliver that. We all want to save expenditures in time and money, and acquire more of the same. I would ask the question: which comes 1st?

  2. melkins525 February 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I have two comments, one about the topic and one about the article. First, I think for most job seekers, graphics are not appropriate. For people looking for graphic artist/designer jobs or jobs managing those types of skills, restrained use of illustration can be appropriate. For instance, I sometimes use a slightly more interesting bullet, instead of the the dot or square. That said, though, the use of graphics has to be in keeping with the job to which you’re applying, the type of organization the job is in, and the overall feel and design of your resume. If your resume is poorly designed or reveals your lack of design skills, popping in a few fancy bullets isn’t going to help your situation.

    My second comment is about the article on It was painful to read — so much pseudo “high-end” vocabulary! To wit: festoonings, paucity, flinty, gravitas, espousal, “Decalogue declamations against the ten temptations of and to sin.” It didn’t sound intelligently written — it sounded like someone playing verbal dress-up with a thesaurus! Thanks for letting me vent!

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