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I recently updated my online profile to make it more "visually appealing" (as in not just huge blocks of text) by adding small images / icons that encompass what each part of it is talking about (such as the organization's logo for my community involvements). After completing it, I thought to myself "wow, this looks amazing, I could use parts of this as my resume."

I think being able to see an icon next to it would make each piece stick out more as a separate item and allow for quick glancing to see what all is there (especially if one stands out to them), but I'm concerned what the hiring managers would think if they ran across a resume filled with these images / icons.

Here's an example:

People to People

As you can see, it's formatted as a title with the dates I was part of the program directly below it, a description of my involvement below that, and the icon off to the left.

Should I be including these types of images / icons in my resume to make it more visually appealing, or should a resume be dull and straight-to-the-point - only filled with text?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., Jan Doggen, Garrison Neely, NotMe, Michael Grubey Nov 7 '14 at 2:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm hiring you not the company you worked for. I would be very put off by this sort of thing. It would make me wonder what you were trying to hide by distracting me with other company logos. – HLGEM May 20 '13 at 18:05
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The goal of a resume is to sell yourself to the employer. Unfortunately, not all employers evaluate resumes in the same way. Sometimes, creating a visual resume is incredibly successful. Christopher Spurlock gained a whole bunch of visibility when he created this awesome infographic resume spawning a million sites that replicate it automatically, and got him a job at the Huffington Post.

Preface

After reading the other answer by kolossus I also wanted to add a bit on making sure the images are appropriate for the resume.

Avoid Images Nobody Knows

If you see Microsoft's logo, you will recognize it. If you see the below logo, it will just take up space.

Logo of Kobe, Japan

This is the logo for Kobe, Japan. It is a fancy logo (looks kind of like the Chanel logo), but it is probably recognized by nobody on this site, and probably won't be of much value if I'm applying for jobs in London, for instance.

Be Aware of Potential Copyright Issues

While this is not likely to be a serious issue, many companies do not allow the use of their logo on promotional documents without their express written consent to prevent the impression that the company is endorsing the entity using their logo.

A hiring manager may think, "Would I want previous employees from this company, who may have been fired or incompetent, to use our logo on their resume?" and look down on you for that. Probably not, but something to consider.

Make Sure the Image Has Value

"Looking Cool" may seem like a great idea to add some pizzazz to your resume, but if they aren't adding information, then you are taking away space that could sell you better. The link to Chris Spurlock's resume is visually interesting, but more importantly has great information (shows his experience and education on a timeline) that adds value.

Assuming you are using appropriate value-adding images, then I suggest making your decision as follows...

Executive Summary

If you want to work for a company that likes that sort of thing, then put it in by all means. If you are ambivalent about how traditional a company is about their resume filtering practices, then be sure to make it match the job you are applying for. Think about how the person reading your resume will react to it, and adjust accordingly.

The following are some generalizations about which types of industries fall in to which camps.

Is it a 'traditional' business?

If you are applying to a more 'conservative' industry (law, finance, banking, oil & gas, manufacturing) they may not appreciate it as much as a 'creative' industry like an ad agency, new media, software firm, etc.

Is it a big company or a small company?

If you are applying to a big company, the person reading (and evaluating) your resume is less likely to want to take a risk with a "different" resume than a start-up company. Larger companies have more layers of management, and whoever reads your resume in HR would know that they will have to present your resume to their boss, and to their boss' boss, and it means more people may ask, "Why are you even considering someone with an image on their resume?"

Smaller companies have less levels of management, and are more likely to look favorably on someone who stands out.

What is the position?

If you are applying for an entry-level position with lots of competition, your resume will help set you apart from others (either in a good or bad way) and your decision will have a bigger impact. If you are applying for a much more important position, then chances are the content of your resume will be much more important than catching their eye (since there will be fewer resumes to filter through).

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Every job I have applied for in the last few years has wanted a resume as a text file. In some cases it was a simple cut-and-paste into a text box. In other cases they asked you to divide it into various sections, by education, current employer, previous employer, and the one before that...

Sometimes they also wanted to see it as an attachment, but they initial review was done by keyword search. They wanted to verify you had the educations and work experience to meet the minimum requirements.

Of course you were also expected to bring nice copies to the interviews, but by then the chance to impress with logos was probably in the past.

There is another risk with a logo. They may focus on the logo while glancing at your resume, and come away with the message that you worked at big famous company, but miss the fact that you developed a product that saved your previous employer a million dollars.

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    +1 for They may focus on the logo while glancing at your resume, and come away with the message that you worked at big famous company, but miss the fact that you developed a product that saved your previous employer a million dollars. – jmac May 20 '13 at 4:44
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Although I agree with Jmac for the most of the points, personally I (as a hiring manager) would prefer simple resumes. Specifically for software engineering positions, recruiters at big companies typically spend 5 to 10 seconds for the initial scan of the resume. However, depending on the company (specifically products), recruiters might prefer visually appealing resumes such as the Christopher's resume (as mentioned by Jmac).

However, I think that for most of the software engineering companies, recruiters prefer simple and straight resumes. However, you can create your profile with more visuals on your blog or your website and then provide a link to that in your resume.

  • Do you have any source to back up this claim? "However, I think that for most of the software engineering companies, recruiters prefer simple and straight resumes." Not saying it's wrong, just seems like it may be tainted by personal bias (since you prefer simple resumes) rather than based on objective evidence. I love to be corrected though! – jmac May 20 '13 at 2:13
  • I have recently got an opportunity to recruit people for my team. During the "hiring period" at my company, we usually get 30 to 40 resumes per day (8 hours). I need to get progress in my projects along with this hiring process. I could only spend 30 minutes to 45 minutes for scanning resumes. However, I filter the candidates using a quick scan initially to select candidates relevant to our projects. I also heard the same from my friends at other companies and as well as senior people at my place. However, we spent significant amount of time in the second round of scanning. – samarasa May 20 '13 at 6:48
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    Thanks for the additional info. So I believe the point is, "If it makes it harder to read, an HR guy is more likely to ignore it because of limited time", right? – jmac May 20 '13 at 7:22
  • absolutely, jmac. – samarasa May 20 '13 at 13:37
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Like Agent Smith said: Purpose. To what end do you want to include images on the resume?

Aside from the primary risk of not knowing how such a resume would be perceived by the hiring manager, you're not really sure who or what will be the first reviewer of your resume: man or machine.

If the image(s) you intend to review are pertinent to the content of your resume (a logo from a professional certification for example: Sun used to dish those out), then it's totally worth the risk. If it's a logo of a previous employer (like you've illustrated in your question), you might want to reconsider

If its solely to impress, I would recommend caution. There are no guarantees regarding the vendor/version of word/text processor your resume will be viewed on. A vanilla resume is a better viewing experience than a resume with misrendered or missing images, caused by a hiring manager opening your resume with Office 2K (or some ancient version of Wordperfect)

Generally, don't expect or require whoever or whatever is going to view your resume to need special or newer versions of software to view your resume. Very few people will take the trouble.

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    I had always assumed that virtually everyone send their resume as a PDF to avoid it being (easily) edited. If you are sending a word processor editable version, this is an excellent point (+1 from me). – jmac May 20 '13 at 2:11
  • @jmac ..on the other hand, if you send a word processor editable version of your resume, it could be argued that you deserve whatever happens to you... – xDaizu Dec 19 '17 at 17:05
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I don't agree you shouldn't put foreign logos on your resume, especially if these are logos of well recognized international companies. The fact the logo can't be recognized by an employer confirms that the employer has a lack of effort or knowledge to check it. Like Kobe logo. I would definitely put it on my resume as this is a well known Japanese company which is more valuable than many in the UK. UK's logos aren't the only ones around the world.

If you've got experience, education from another country where the quality of those things is even higher than in the UK always put their logo, but I advise you put the web address too, so the employer may check it. English is a common language around the world now, so many websites not even located in English speaking countries will be available in English.

In my opinion those who have international experience and education skills are more likely to succeed in international businesses like Microsoft, Oracle etc.

  • this post is rather hard to read (wall of text). Would you mind editing it into a better shape? – gnat Nov 4 '14 at 7:25

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