Using Infographs while Jobhunting Part 1

Category: Tech Today

As a former teacher and trainer, I strongly believe that a person shouldn't be reduced to a number or set of metrics. Many of the industries I worked in involved associating an employee with an ID and a bunch of tables and measurements. A person is more than the numerical equivalent of his skills (which can be subjective and inaccurate). Even IQ shouldn't be used as a basis for measuring a person's ability to get things done.

Unfortunately, in the working world (and in the Internet), everything can be reduced to an image or to numbers. It's more attractive to audiences, more compelling and impressive and more accessible to the rest of the world. Like interviews and exams, any graphical or visual representation can only paint part of the picture and isn't totally accurate. That said, visuals and superficial measurements are a reality job seekers have to contend with. Breaking down a job seeker's skills to numbers and visually illustrating a summary of competencies can be a good tool for jobhunters who want to present themselves in a different way online or during a Mad Men type of presentation or interview. Moreover, you have full control of what you want to say.

This article lists a few ways of breaking down your skills and visually expressing them.

Note: All illustrations made by the author using CorelDraw X3 and Microsoft Excel 2010.

Marvel Fleer Cards - a basic approach

During the boom years of Marvel Comics in the early 1990s, Fleer released several series of Marvel cards which provided a description of the character and a power meter to gauge the character's skills. The approach was certainly more meaningful and more fun than reading all the numbers behind the popular NBA cards of the time (though as usual Wolverine's power ratings were overrated).

Using the same approach, jobseekers can provide a short text description and a brief profile of your strengths and interests on your landing page, blog or web site. Obviously, you can create Flash/HTML5 animation and add Javascript interactivity but a simple static image is fine and less cumbersome for the HR personnel who would eventually view your profile.

You can design a huge infograph that can fill a whole web page, but sometimes a simple approach also works.

A graphical representation of your skillset doesn't necessarily focus on your weaknesses, rather it points out a range of skills and emphasizes your strengths while providing a picture of what areas you can develop on. It can answer the typical interview question "What are your strengths? What areas need improving?"

Specifying software and hardware skills

Everyone these days believes they are technical. Very few IT graduates and employees would admit their PHP needs work, they don't understand networking at all or have trouble using Windows 8. Contrary to popular belief, being an IT graduate or working in the IT industry does NOT mean you're qualified to work in all areas of IT or even consumer electronics. Technology fields are remarkably diverse and specific - the list is longer than the college catalog of courses or the certifications available from most institutions. Tech fields are no longer classified as just software or hardware. In short, just putting down "Skilled with a variety of multimedia and web software" doesn't mean anything any more and neither does "Proficient with desktop and laptop hardware".

Continued in Using Infographs while Jobhunting Part 2


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