Getting noticed with your online CV

Michael Anderson is famous the world over for his innovative infographics résumé – a visual representation of his employment, academic and coffee intake skills that went viral via social media.

If you want to get your online CV noticed, Mike is the man to ask. So with more and more of us posting our portfolios and CVs online, this week we asked ‘the résumé guy’ himself about what worked, what didn’t and what he would do differently.

MikeAndersonI could write a book about the experience of posting my résumé as an infographic, but I don’t have the time. I tried to look at ways to analyse the data from all the Diggs, Tweets and posts about it, but without much luck. I can say that I’ve had 36,250 page views since July 2008, and up to 3,000 visitors on some days. And I still get regular emails and messages from members of the press and people looking to replicate the concept.

Did it work? The strange thing is, I got a job from the résumé about four months before it started getting traction on the internet. Working 45+ hrs a week and serving my long-standing freelance customers left me with little time to do anything else when it went viral. In addition, my daughter was born last November so being a new dad has kept me particularly busy. I have landed a few freelance gigs, though; mostly fun ones.

For the last couple years, I have been teaching and helping students build portfolios. I can say that it has been rewarding, I love teaching, but I have missed a couple of truly golden opportunities.

What I think I did right:

  • Tried to re-visualise a common document
  • Posted it to my portfolio-style blog
  • Wrote a bit about it
  • Answered as many emails as I could about it
  • Didn’t take it personally when I got mean comments or prank phone calls

Where I think I failed:

  • Didn’t update my website with:
    • more data from social networking sites
    • more of my OTHER work
    • a tutorial
    • anything – seriously stupid mistake, being handed a golden ticket and using it as wallpaper
  • Didn’t answer interested emails in a timely fashion (this happened a lot)
  • Explicitly turned down work
  • Didn’t set aside time for new freelance customers
  • There was a misspelling (now corrected)
  • My website is a grammatical minefield (according to at least one email)

A few really fun things happened:

  • Two friends found my résumé online, passed it around the office and thought is was someone else until talking to me.
  • I was recognised by name: “Are you the résumé guy?”
  • I was emailed by job-hunting services saying, “Make your résumé stand out like these!” Mine was in there!
  • Three other Michael Andersons have emerged who are also graphic designers and contacted me or commented on the résumé.

The CV was designed as a piece of concept art, as there are almost no real metrics represented except time. But it did bring in a lot of attention and now I help people create portfolios for a living. If you’re going to put your portfolio online, my best tip would be, don’t reinvent the wheel.

Find an appropriate venue for your CV and portfolio such as a content hub like and use already lain track to build a network of peers, friends, clients and contractors. Then use their tools for embedding your work in your own site and posting it on LinkedIn, Facebook or a dozen other social hubs. This type of push-thinking will expose your data to a MUCH larger audience, and if you build a following, you benefit from long-term exposure.

* Wondering if Michael’s visual approach might suit you? Then read our advice in ‘Do Visual CVs work?’


  1. Just wanted to congratulate Michael for not taking himself too seriously on this, and having the humility to admit where he went wrong. A really interesting read.