Should you go with a visual resume or a traditional resume? Let's weigh the options.

The majority of companies and industries prefer a traditional resume. However in some instances, (more often in creative industries like graphic design, web development or advertising), a visual resume may be preferred or even required. These presentation resumes not only tell the hiring manager about the candidate's skills, work and education history, they may also show the hiring manager the candidate's creative side and personality.

#1: What is a visual resume? 

Before we dive too deep, let's talk about what a visual resume is. Some people take their traditional resumes and turn them into slideshows or PowerPoints. Other people take the “visual” component to a whole new level by morphing their resumes into an interactive webpage or video.

A presentation resume is visually appealing and versatile; it can be uploaded to job sites, attached to e-mails, printed, mailed, faxed, or hand delivered. What it comes down to is this: a visual resume can be any type of presentation resume outside of a traditional, text-based document.

#2: Why use a visual resume? 

Under the right circumstances, people may choose to use a visual resume to not only show their creative chops, but to also set themselves apart from the sometimes fierce competition. In a sea of traditional resumes, a presentation resume is more likely to stand out and hold attention.

Remember: this is only a good thing if the company for which you're applying wants a visual resume. Standing out (in a negative way) with a presentation or interactive resume could hurt you if the company for which you're applying prefers a traditional resume. (More on this topic in item number five, below.)

#3: What should a visual resume look like?

Much like a traditional resume, a visual resume needs to capture positive attention from the hiring manager, but it should do so quickly. You have a short window to work with - usually a maximum of 15 to 30 seconds – since it's not unusual for dozens of resumes to be submitted to one job opening. Make sure that whatever is highlighted most in your visual resume sets you up for a positive first impression, not a negative one. In other words, avoid clunky, poorly-designed or overwhelming visuals that could set a bad tone and turn the hiring manager away.

#4: What are some examples of visual resumes? 

Whatever format the visual resume is in, there are a number of great examples out there. For example, this interactive resume does a great job of telling a story about the candidate and engaging the reader all while supplying valuable information. These infographic resumes are a concise yet visual way to display resume information. Lastly, here's an example of a presentation resume utilizing SlideShare. You can clearly see how all three examples provide a glimpse into the candidate's personality.

#5: When do you use a visual resume?

Even though visual resumes can be exceptionally creative and engaging, there is a time and place for them. In the majority of instances, a traditional resume is the go-to for job applications. Resume writing services like TopResume focus primarily on traditional resume writing because that is the route most hiring managers prefer.

However if you find a job description that asks for a visual resume, such as a presentation, interactive or infographic resume, it's a great idea to use one to show off your skills, professional experience and personality. Just make sure to only use a visual resume when prompted.

Ready to write the next chapter of your career? Hire a TopResume writer today!

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