Design student Jeremy asked “An all-text resumé seems boring, what do you think about using charts and graphics to represent my qualifications?”

Great question Jeremy! Take comfort that resumés are a tricky, fickle tool and you’re not alone in your struggles. Your ultimate goal when applying for jobs should be to get your prospective employers eyes on your work. Anything that deters employers from getting to your portfolio should be seen as intrusive and avoided. You mentioned adding charts as a way to display your qualifications visually. While I applaud your thought process, I’m going to be blunt with you. Don’t do it.

Using a chart demeans your skill set by reducing it to in an imaginary number on an imaginary scale. It’s made up and holds no value in the real world.  You have 5/5 stars on Illustrator, but only 2.5/5 stars in InDesign? By your own logic you’re 50% less proficient in one program as you are the next. You are creating more problems than you’re solving. It also opens the door to some nepotism. Resumés that have included charts rarely give themselves less than a 60% on any single program, but primarily 80-100%. As you can see charts, while visually interesting, add unnecessary complications to what should be a quick read.

The best advice I can give you is this: Be understated with your resume. Keep it clean, minimal and an easy read. Always give contact information and a link to your portfolio, and then let it be. The speed at which employers can get to your work is crucial, and in a very full job market you don’t need any issues holding you up.