Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design

Wiley extracts at Big Data Week – the Big Data Week team will be posting extracts from great books and resources available through Wiley during the festival. Today we’re looking at infographics.

By Randy Krum
ISBN: 978-1-118-58230-5

Extract taken from Chapter 4: Infographic Resumes

The definition of an infographic resume is:

A visual account of an individual’s history and abilities that uses data visualization design to communicate key portions of a job candidate’s skills, history, education, or other relevant information.

The key distinction that makes infographic resumes unique is that the graphic elements visualize important information and help tell a better story about the job candidate. It’s not just about adding graphic elements but communicating data or information more effectively.

Graphic designers have been designing creative, colorful, artistic resumes with illustrations, fonts, images, and photographs for decades; however, the idea of using data visualizations to create a new style of resume has taken hold only in the last few years. A handful of designs began appearing online in 2008, as the awareness and popularity of online infographics was beginning to build momentum. The trend has continued to grow at an accelerated pace, and by January 2013, thousands of infographic resumes incorporating data visualization could be found online.

In Figures 4-2 and 4-3, Faz Besharatian’s infographic resume appears next to his traditional text resume. His work history has been visualized in a timeline that highlights the length of time Faz spent in each role and the skills that were required.

In this instance, there is more complete information contained in the text resume. The infographic resume serves three purposes: to attract attention, to highlight the roles and companies in his history, and to demonstrate his graphic design ability. If interested parties want to learn any of the details, such as accomplishments, responsibilities, or specific achievements within each role, they can learn more from the full-text resume. Faz makes both versions available for anyone to download from his website.
It’s still the early days for infographic resumes, but they will probably become mainstream in the next few years. In the future, an all-text resume will be seen as boring and dated, reflecting poorly on the job seeker. Recruiters and hiring managers will appreciate the speed and ease of reading from infographic designs and will begin to experience frustration with the extra time and effort required to search for key information hidden within an all-text resume.

The quality of these infographic resume designs covers the full spectrum. There are some fantastic, inspiring designs online, but there are also some “cringe-worthy” designs as well. As designers continue to experiment with different design styles, they are beginning to learn what works in the field of resumes. Most people design their own infographic resume. The market for professionally designed infographic resumes is a new type of service now offered by many designers and design firms.

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