Did you know that the CV goes back hundreds of years? While it’s impossible to determine exactly when the first one was produced, we do know that the earliest professional resume on record is credited to none other than Leonardo Da Vinci – famous of course for painting Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

Since then, surprisingly little has changed – most CVs are still just a text-heavy list of employment history and academic achievements. As the job market continues to gets busier, though, we’ve started to see more examples of non-conventional documents. Visual pieces, that use more than just words to get the message across, are one of the newest big trends.

Should you be taking this route? Will it help you land that dream job sooner?

Content remains king

Before we go anywhere, let’s get this one thing straight: the most important thing about your CV is the information it contains. You can have the prettiest thing out there but unless it tells the reader what they need to know, it’ll be useless.

Presentation counts here, whether you’re using imagery or just text; make it easy for your prospective employer to find the most important information.

Your audience matters

Some people are more receptive to visual media than others; you’ll get those who seem to read a new book every day, while others wait for the movie to come out. The same goes for CVs, so think carefully about your audience.
It’s unlikely that you’ll know them personally but you can get an idea from their position and the industry in which the company operates. Going for an illustration job? Brush off those design skills and get creative! Applying to work as a business consultant? Colours and graphics might not the best idea.

The rise of the infographic

The beauty of being creative is that it’s completely up to you how you get your message across, but there is one particular format that has risen in popularity recently: the infographic.

As you might have guessed, and as the name so clearly suggests, an infographic is a graphic containing information. The format is usually used to make dull-looking facts and figures more appealing to the eye, so it could be a great way to ensure your CV stands out from the pile on your potential future boss’s desk (or desktop).

Use relevant graphs and charts to show off your prowess in different areas, and create illustrations to represent yourself, but keep it all simple. Cluttered infographics are always poor, and the same goes for infographic-style CVs.

How to make your visual CV

Your next steps depend on how creative you are, as you have a couple of options.

If you’re a whizz with software like Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, and are pretty comfortable working with fonts and imagery, you may want to create a visual CV from scratch. This way, not only do you have complete control over every element, you’ll end up with something unique. Just be aware that it will take a little while to get everything perfect. Though, once it’s done, you can just update the text as and when you need to.

Your other option, if you’re not so sure about your creative skills, is to use a template. There are many sites that will take all of the necessary information and put it into a great graphic-based resumes that can be tweaked to your preference. Of course, it might not be completely unique but it also won’t take long to do.

Don’t be visual for visual’s sake

Visual CVs can look amazing if you know what you’re doing; or even if you don’t, thanks to template sites like those mentioned above. That’s not to say you should definitely make one, though. Make sure the situation is right before you jump straight in. There’s certainly still a place for the traditional CV in most industries.

If you would like to find out more about how to write your CV and cover letter then please visit our Candidates Tips page on our website. Alternatively, please contact us on 0845 613 5199 to see how SF Group can help you with your job search.