Should You Include Graphics in Resumes?


If you had asked me this a year ago, I would have given you a resounding “No!” and told you that you should include graphics in your resume under no circumstance. My reasoning was two-fold:

  1. Including graphics could look juvenile and unprofessional.
  2. Graphics mess with applicant tracking systems (ATS – resume scanners) and could cause your resume not to make it to a human being.

But, now, I take that back. Well, most of it.

As my knowledge of ATS has expanded (thanks to Career Thought Leaders), I’ve learned that, in fact, yes, you can include graphics without interfering with the scanning process. Here’s an example of how you can tastefully and impactfully incorporate a graphic into your resume:

Rules for including graphics in your resume:

  1. ATS scanners can’t read graphics, so your graphics should supplement the text, not replace it. And, again, #1 from above still stands.
  2. Don’t include logos of your certifications or social media emojis unless you’re the Road Runner and want to come off as cartoonish.
  3. Include graphics toward the right-hand side of the page. The natural way people read is from left-to-right and then down the left column. By including graphics on the right, you’re causing the eye to look at more of the page.
  4. Limit the number of graphics you include to a few meaningful statistics or achievements.

How to make graphics:

If you haven’t mastered Photoshop, look to Canva for an easy online app for graphics development. For charts and graphs, you can use Excel. Here’s a tutorial.


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