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Using Infographics to Create Visual Resumes . Kristin Winet PhD Candidate Rhetoric & Composition. Technical Writing at the UA.

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Using infographics to create visual resumes

Using Infographics to Create Visual Resumes

Kristin Winet

PhD Candidate

Rhetoric & Composition

Technical writing at the ua
Technical Writing at the UA

English 308 offers junior- and senior-level students the opportunity to develop their use of the rhetorical strategies and communications technologies appropriate to technical writing situations. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) include:

  • Issues of Context

  • Issues of Writing Process

  • Issues of Technology

  • Issues of Document Design

Why a visual resume infographic
Why a Visual Resume (Infographic)?

Why Visual Resumes?

  • Current research and trends in resume writing show a clear movement toward visual design

  • Can be created on web-based programs that are not difficult to teach

  • These programs are nice gateways to using more powerful design programs (Publisher or Illustrator)

    Why as a first assignment?

  • Is an excellent icebreaker activity for students

  • Teaches key concepts with a low-stakes assignment

  • Springboards discussion into other visual documents

  • Instills the importance of design from the first day

  • Student resumes are often unattractive or not rhetorically-savvy)

Goals of assignment
Goals of Assignment


  • Identifying audience, writing emails, summarizing, designing graphics and translating information from one medium to another


  • To introduce students to using programs they might be unfamiliar with by asking them to: 1) craft an email to me, their instructor, about themselves and their goals for the class; 2) translate the content of their email into an infographic; 3) to present themselves to their classmates through their infographics; and 4) to springboard discussion into basic principles of design using the students’ work.


  • To introduce students to basic email etiquette as well as the importance of design in technical writing through a low-stakes, creative assignment.

Glenn s email
Glenn’s Email

  • Mrs. Winet,

  • My name is Glenn, and I am currently in my final semester of the Creative Writing degree program. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but ended up in Tucson after joining the Air Force and getting stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. I finished my service there and separated from the military, but decided to remain in Tucson to finish my degree at the U of A before heading back to California. I've come to enjoy Tucson after living here for a few years, but I do occasionally miss things like grass, trees, and water.

  • My current career plan is to enter as a staff writer for visual and interactive media. I'm lucky enough to have a good friend at Disney Interactive that is interested in setting me up when I return, so my prospects seem good for now. I still want to cover all my bases just in case things don't work out though, so I decided to take a technical writing class in order to have something else to rely on. I've only recently learned about technical writing careers and was surprised to find that it pays surprisingly well and has lots of opportunities.

  • The main interesting point about me is that I recently had my first publication. I submitted a short horror piece to a horror fiction magazine called Under the Bed and they wanted to run the story. They said I'll get royalties out of the publication, but I'd be surprised to make $20 off of it. For me, the biggest accomplishment out of that was being able to show a published work when I apply for a staff writing position. I am also working on a novel length work, but I see it as a side project in consideration of my staff writing goals.

  • I hope we have a good semester together!

Bella s email
Bella’s Email

  • Dear Ms. Winet,

  •       I am writing you this e-mail to introduce myself. My name is Bella, I am a student in your ENGL 308 Saturday class. I am originally form Mexico and have been living in Tucson for about 5 years. I am a third year, Nutrition student here at The University of Arizona; Even though it took me until my junior year to declare my major, I am very passionate about it. I enjoy exercising, doing outdoors activities such as hiking and reading health, beauty and fashion blogs. It was actually reading these blogs that helped me decide that I wanted to be a Nutrition major. In Nutrition I found a common ground for my various interests, which makes me feel like I made the right choice in pursuing it as my career path. After graduation I hope to become a licensed dietitian and work with competitive athletes; I would also love to write for a health magazine or blog. 

  •       In this Technical Writing course, aside from achieving a good grade, I want to learn as much as possible from it. I think having good writing communication skills is essential in order to be successful in any professional field. I have taken many courses that have required different types of writing techniques; from writing lab reports to writing research papers among other things; which I think will be helpful during this course. 

  •      Regarding technology, I would not really consider myself "technology savvy" but, I am familiar with the basics: Power Point, Excel, Word, Photo Editing; The basics in other words. In my career path I would expect to mostly use the software that I am already familiar with and maybe some new things like web design software as well. 

  •      After this first day of class, I am feeling more enthusiastic about this class and the fact that it is on a saturday morning.

  • Sincerely,Bella

Student reactions to assignment
Student Reactions to Assignment

  • “I am learning that technical writing is about effectively sharing ideas with an audience and that is what visual design does. It requires different fonts, different materials and different layouts, all in order to effectively communicate with the reader. How wonderful and surprising!” --Bella

  • “Overall, this assignment was a different, think-outside-the-box experience, and I’d love to do it again.” --John

  • “As I am learning, sometimes, the power of visual aids are much stronger than just the letters and words, it not only attract more people, but also let people think deeper instead of just reading the words.” --Hanquing

  • “This last week of activities and infographic assignment have been a nice change of pace from my other classes. I’ve learned a lot in general, about myself, and about my peers. Now to convince someone to let me write that biology paper as an infographic.…” --Bryan

Lessons learned
Lessons Learned

General trends:

  • Emails: Linear according to assignment sheet

  • Infographics: Information “grouped” into categories/sections

    Programs they chose to use

    Translation choices

  • Successes & weaknesses

    Overall visual design

    Design choices

Thoughts for further reflection
Thoughts for Further Reflection

  • Instructors might like to:

    • foreground the lesson by teaching students some basic design terms.

    • adapt this lesson and have students bring in their existing resumes and create more visually-driven resumes that they might wish to use in the future.

    • require students to begin with a blank canvas, rather than allowing them to manipulate existing templates.

    • assign some of the example visual resumes I have included in our handout.



  • Mike Markel, Ch.1: Introduction to Technical Writing, Technical Communication 10th Edition

  • Rebecca Hagan & Kim Golombisky, Ch.10: Infographics, White Space is Not Your Enemy

  • “7 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know,” Business Insider


  • “What is an Infographic?” Customer Magnetism -

  • VISUAL RESUMES (Infographics)

  • “Can Beautiful Design Make Your Resume Stand Out?” Mashable

  • “50 Awesome Resume Designs,”Hongkiat

  • “How To: Spruce Up a Boring Resume (INFOGRAPHIC),” Mashable