Each week, TopResume's career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora like the one below. We'll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: Should I use pictures on my resume to make it graphically interesting and unique?
To be perfectly honest, I've never been a fan of resumes that are packed with photos, graphics, and other design elements. There are a couple reasons why I prefer a simple, clean resume design versus a graphic resume design.
Resume-scanning software often can't read photos properly
First, the applicant tracking system (ATS) software that employers use to scan, parse, and rank your resume information often has difficulty reading graphic resumes, which means your resume is more likely to get tossed to the side before the hiring manager ever sees it.
Photos on a resume can be confusing to recruiters
Second, recruiters are accustomed to looking for certain pieces of information in specific places on a resume. On average, they only spend six seconds reviewing your resume at all. While your resume design may catch their eye, it might also cause recruiters to skip over your application if they can't quickly find the information they're looking for.
Instead, save the creativity for other parts of your personal branding campaign. If you're in a creative field, showcase your skills with an online portfolio or blog, and by adding multimedia links to your LinkedIn profile to illustrate your work.
However, keep your resume's format a bit more cut and dry.
Take a look at this video I did where Business Insider had me review resumes on the fly. This will give you an idea of how a highly-graphic resume can ultimately hurt your candidacy, rather than help it.
Focus your resume on written content, not on photos or graphics
If your heart is still set on using a graphic design resume, here's a good list of graphic resume dos and don'ts. Bottom line: Make sure your resume focuses more on content and less on pretty images.
See if images on your resume harm you or help you—submit your resume for a free, expert review.
- Here's the Right Way to Format Your Resume
- Is a Graphic Resume Right for You?
- Does Your Resume Pass the 6-Second Test?