The other day I finished a résumé for a client. As far as I was concerned, it was a work of art. It had all the information an employer would need to hire her. It was clean, crisp and readable. It had words. It had skills and experience all presented in a manner that oozed professionalism.

Most of all, it was done in a stylt that makes her look like a winner.

On receipt, she sent me an email. She wrote, “I like it, but I wanted something more contemporary. I wanted something with some flash and style that would make t stand out from the rest of them.”

Assured her that it si the state of the art. And I went on to explain that a modern why it was modern. I dropped the “OBJECTIVE,” I added a 60 word narrative profile with real sentences, and I listed her KEY STRENGTHS in bulleted form. Then I listed her EMPLOYMENT HISTORY and her EDUCATION chronologically, and, to show she is human, I listed her INTERESTS.

“But I wanted something more graphic,” she wrote. Something like this:

(She added the following URL which you can see if you click on it)

After years in the employment business, and in human resources, I would be the first to reject a graphic resume for the following reasons.

First, we have no idea how a scanner would interpret it, and you would lose all the key points. I have found that many employers rely on scanners to build a database of résumés, then they do a global search for key words. If the key words aren’t there, the machine screens the résumé out. The only graphic I put in my resumes is a line that separates the contact information from the body. (That makes a great letterhead for the cover letter

Secondly, some managers might be colour blind. To a color blind reader, it would look as if someone spread mud all over the thing. Also, most office printers print in black and white. Some of the colours on the graphic documents may obscure the writing – and writing is everything in a résumé.

 Third, all my taste is in my mouth, and I would be spending more time looking for artistic symbolism in it – or something to eat. Every now and again I will be at a meeting where someone will try to explain to me how things flow by presenting a flow chart. Perhaps it is my ADD acting up, but for me flow charts make things come to a grinding stop.

Finally, most employers want you to email their tomes to them. After creating the posting. They wait at their desks for all those résumés to funnel into their inboxes. Employers generally have one program to open  their submissions – MS Word. Some may have WordPerfect. Most of the resumes listed above may have obscure programs like RÉSUMÉ TALLIWACKER or something the employer won’t have. Most employers won’t rush out to buy a program to see how creative a potential hire may be – especially if they hired yours truly to create it.

 No graphic résumés for me.

Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.
He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at  or at 604-464-4105
If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates .
Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your resumes ready.



  1. energywriter Says:

    Good advice. Those colorful resumes made my head spin.

    When I was recently graduated from college, age 47, and was encouraged to be creative, Using professional paper I used a newsletter format with a table of contents on page one. Headlines included “experience” “skills” “education” and so on. The main interviewer said, “I can’t read this. I have no idea what you have to offer. This is the worst resume I’ve ever seen.” I can only assume I was invited to the interview just so he could yell at me.

  2. cathyturney Says:

    KISS – Always the best approach. It’s so hard when people pay you for advice and then want to debate it!

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