The Resume Template that Went Viral
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Behance portfolio site, founded by entrepreneur/investor Scott Belsky and acquired by Adobe Systems in 2012, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. According to an Adobe spokesperson, Behance’s global user base has exceeded 10 million members. Projects have been viewed 4 billion times and received 275 million appreciations. In 2017 alone, the spokesperson said, more than 300,000 ‘nontraditional members,’ including industrial designers, architects and fashion designers, joined the community, which has experienced its greatest growth in Asia, especially China.
The fourth most appreciated post in Behance history, I’ve learned, was a Spanish designer’s resume template, a free download, which in itself received 1.25 million project views and more than a million appreciations. (Detail at right.)
Q: Fernando, a million appreciations! What inspired you to create the resume template?
A: Designers redesign their own personal logos and resumes, like a thousand times in a lifetime. I designed this resume for myself six years ago, when infographic resumes were not so common. It really made a difference and helped me stand out from others. I got my first two jobs with this resume and started giving talks to design students about creating your own resume. I shared it with them after each talk. When it was time to make a change and I knew I wasn’t going to use it any more, I decided to share it with the world. It’s crazy how quickly it went viral. Boom!
How many people downloaded the template? And from which parts of the world?
I believe there were around 300,000 downloads. It’s insane. I get dizzy just thinking about it! The link is in a lot of different places, so I don’t have control of that. But one thing I know—by reading the messages I’ve received—is that people all around the world used it, from the U.S. and Canada to South America (Perú, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil), India, Russia, and Australia, and around Europe (for example, the one below by Georgian-Sorin Maxim in Denmark).
Hundreds of people wrote to thank me or just to tell me they got a job with it, and that has been awesome. I truly believe that you get a job because of your talent, your interview and your portfolio, but resume content is critical.
What makes infographic resumes so popular and such a good way to showcase skills?
It’s simple. Companies receive hundreds of emails with resumes. Most of the time, they look at yours for two seconds. Maybe they are looking for a certain qualification or knowledge. Making your resume more visual helps it be readable even for a quick look. Obviously, the resume of a lawyer should be more formal, but when it comes to creative work, we have much more freedom in terms of aesthetics, and also functionally.
Some people liked the template so much they asked me to design a new version from scratch. Most of them were not graphic designers, but industrial designers, artists, or even people quite far from the creative world, such as lawyers and marketing professionals. An astronaut even used it! And people are still reaching out. Also, my old boss—the one who first hired me because of that resume—asked me if he could use the template when applying for a new job.
Having a good resume is important for designers, but you should also spend time on your Behance portfolio! In a resume, you have to explain how wonderful you are. Your portfolio, instead, speaks for itself.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Valladolid, Spain, but I went to college in Madrid, at Nebrija University. When I was a kid, I dreamed about creating video games, so I studied computer programming. After a few years I realized that coding wasn’t my thing and I needed to do more creative work to be happy, so I switched to industrial design. I discovered the web/digital world by then and was fascinated, spending most of my time on it.
After I started doing work as a graphic and web freelancer—and my early projects looked horrible, you can be sure of that—I buckled down and got more serious, so I needed a better way to showcase my work. I discovered that Behance is not only a portfolio site, but a place to get inspired, to see creative trends, network with the best professionals, build your reputation, and open up new opportunities. Behance is not only about work. It’s about connecting with people around the globe and even creating an amazing community in your own town. For example, recently there was a Behance Portfolio Review event at Neoland, a design school in Madrid. They asked me to be one of the experts and review portfolios. Thanks to that, I now have great relationship with Neoland and started regularly giving talks to students.
I probably log into Behance more times a day than Facebook … no joke! Of course, as the web designer I am today, I look for digital projects. However, the most stunning and inspiring projects are the ones that are far from the web world, from my world: motion projects, 3D, art, photographs. Those projects make me think, ‘Oh man, I wouldn’t be able to do that in 200 years.’ Since they are not in my skill-set, they force me to think out of the box. Projects have triggered my interest in photo retouching, the clean way of presenting a project, creating stories from your art, and putting all the love and time in your personal projects.
If infographic resumes are now common, as you point out, are you seeing a new trend?
Yes, we are finishing that trend and starting a new one. When the sector was overloaded with so many infographic resumes, they ended up feeling somewhat antiquated. Free templates like mine made it possible for almost anyone have an infographic resume. But some of them became almost 100% infographic with little content, so now I think the trend will be resumes focused on good content, clean and minimal design, with a great use of typography, and infographics just only in the points where they are really required. My version 2.0, below, is an evolution of the previous boom.
You said, “Some people liked it so much they asked me to design a new version from scratch.” Did this turn into paid jobs for you, designing original resumes?
Yes, it did! I have designed 20 resumes for people in the USA and all around the globe, and of course, getting paid for it. It’s a good lesson: sometimes if you give something free to the community, it can go viral, and finally reward you with much more money than you could have earned selling it.
What are some of your other favorite projects?
My own concepts—the projects you create for fun with complete freedom and as a way to learn new things, forcing yourself to leave your comfort zone—are always my favorites. If you are always designing minimal interfaces, why don’t you try designing one for kids, for example? Or for a video game? If you have never done a TV interface, why don’t you try? If you are not good at illustration, why don’t you think about an amazing concept that includes illustrations?
The Star Wars: Force University concept was one on my favorites, especially because I worked on it with two of my best friends. I also enjoyed my first illustrative project, creating my hero version of Cabify, “Herofy,” where you can call a hero from your app and pay for their services. I put all my nerd love into these projects. They are the most fun and also let me learn more. And they helped me create the freelance business I have right now. People ask for similar projects to the content in your portfolio, so inventing your own concepts is an amazing way of getting more clients.