Resume Writer Certification:
Certified Graphic Resume Architect
Build dynamic, visual resumes that stand out.
CDI is proud to introduce a new resume writing certification to our credential portfolio: The Certified Graphic Resume Architect.
This credential was designed specifically for professional resume writers who love giving job seekers the invaluable edge of dynamic, visual resumes that make them stand out from the competition.
What is a graphic resume?
A graphic resume is one that in which the resume writer/designer goes beyond a well-written and laid out resume to embrace graphic elements such as color, images, graphs, charts, and call out boxes to better draw the eye and highlight content.
You can see samples of this style and its evolution by viewing Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) and World’s Best Resume Writer (WBRW) winning resumes from the past 19 years. Here are examples from the 2019 TORI winners:
Kimberly Robb Baker
Since graphic resumes aren’t the everyday norm, why would I want to earn this credential?
The answers to this are NUMEROUS:
Because it gets you clients and profits while getting your clients results.
We’ve seen time and time again that TORI award winners get to pick and choose their ideal clients, raise their rates, and not worry about selling. Gorgeous, graphic-rich resumes sell themselves. Whether you’ve won or been nominated for a resume writing award, a certification in this specialty will tell job seekers you have what it takes to help them stand out in a unique and powerful way.
Because employers expect graphics in every other aspect of their decision-making and will embrace them here.
In fact, we know every second counts with resumes and the average review time by a human is 4-7 seconds.
Despite this, today’s employer is bombarded by resume submissions for open positions that adhere to old standards of B&W presentation with little changing in style or layout in decades.
That’s where professional resume writers have turned resume content into CAR stories and hard-hitting metrics, branding and unique selling propositions to help their clients stand out.
But today’s consumer demands visuals because they are the norm in every other part of their lives. From tablets to smart phones, everywhere you look on social media, marketing and advertising, images and videos are king. Whole stories and impulse-based decisions are made based on images.
No matter how well you write, when you are dealing with precious seconds in an attention deficit world, content presented with visuals is king.
Because HR is shifting and issues like blockchain could rewire the entire resume writing game.
As if this weren’t enough, graphic design in the resume of the future may be the only thing igniting interest in the documents job seekers may use as blockchain takes deeper root in human resources and hiring.
Projections around the blockchain phenomena position the resumes we know to migrate into a different type of personal branding document. If this shift takes place, resumes will still talk about achievements but won’t be relied on in the way we now experience. Since blockchain will already have access to those keys, we could see the resume become more focused on showcasing personality vs. past history.
Even if blockchain doesn’t impact resumes in this manner, we are already seeing a shift toward heavier graphic use and design/style that appeals to millennials and linksters (generation Z).
I’ve heard resumes with graphics aren’t ATS-friendly, so why would I want to create them?
For the longest time resume writers have had to walk the line between either a graphic-rich networking resume or a more traditional plain resume for a variety of evolving scanning systems.
However, there are simple rules to follow which can ensure that content can still be read while capitalizing on the necessities of ATS scannability with keywords and keyword phrases. CDI members can access CDI’s free video master class, How to Design ATS-Friendly Graphic Resumes with Marie Plett, to learn these techniques.
But remember, networking is still the BEST way for job seekers to get their foot in the door for interviews!
Not only can you make a graphic-rich resume ATS-friendly, here at CDI we still embrace the networking resume complemented by a more scannable resume when you “just don’t know” what the situation requires and haven’t learned how to blend the two.
We greatly encourage applicants to learn how to blend graphs with the ATS-friendly style.
Don’t I have to have sophisticated, expensive software to create graphic resumes that then won’t be compatible with employer needs?
Nope. You may be surprised to learn that 85-90% of all TORI-wining resumes are designed simply using MS Word. Anyone can do this with just a little patience and effort. You shouldn’t be afraid to learn from all forms of advertising and marketing, including the print media that still shows up in your mailbox, magazine ads, and other winning resumes.
If anyone can design them, why would this certification give me the edge?
There are two sides to this:
Because not every professional will choose to do them.
Trends take time to catch on, and in every shift, many get left behind as market demand and acceptance shifts. (Think Blockbuster vs Netflix and Kodak film vs Digital Cameras vs Smart Phones).
While every client you work with won’t need a visually intense resume, it’s important to harness this skill and have the agility to meet market changes as they rise. Visual design isn’t going away. Instead it’s rapidly growing over as the way we consume content.
Because the best graphic designers out there don’t possess your resume writing skill.
Yes, anyone with a computer and a word processor can design a beautiful document, but can they make the content sell them?
The answer remains the same as it has been for resumes throughout the last two decades: NO.
Just being able to make something gorgeous and visually dynamic won’t check the boxes to getting an interview. If a talented graphic artist designs a beautiful resume filled with standard, generic resume-speak, it will tank.
We see it all the time in the TORIs – you never even get to see some of the most gorgeous, show-stopping resumes that are submitted because they are not balanced with strong enough content including dynamic word choice; keywords; unique selling propositions; branding; or challenges, actions and results.
Most job seekers know to tell and not sell. Just adding visuals won’t improve their chances.
But a professional resume writer who combines writing and branding expertise with dynamic layout is a force to be reckoned with!
We are at a time where making the leap and being recognized as a Certified Graphic Resume Architect is a step that will uniquely position you for more revenue, more clients, and more raving fan success stories.
What does it take to become a Certified Graphic Resume Architect?
The process is simple:
Step One: Ensure you meet the prerequisite and will be able to submit proof you have already earned a recognized resume certification (e.g., CDI: CARW, CMRW, CERM, CRS+X or outside of CDI: MRW, NCRW, CPRW, CMRS, CRS, MCRS, ACRW).
Step Two: Pay the credential fee of $297 US.
Step Three: Follow the instructions to submit five (5) resumes you have created. Each should be for a different industry/specialty or situation. In other words, if you only write for executives or new graduates, they can all be for that category but should be for different positions at that level.
(a) At least one resume must have an originally designed page header. That means not just text but some kind of design, which could be via a stock image, design vector, layering of shapes, or use of patterns.
(b) At least one resume must have an originally designed chart or graph that matches the document presentation and does not rely on the MS Word default, pre-defined chart style. (In other words, change colors, add gradients, patterns, shadows, etc.)
(c) At least one resume that demonstrates the use of MS Word Smart Art.
Yes, you CAN include all these in one resume.
Step Four: Select one of the resumes you plan to submit as the one you will showcase with project details.
For this resume you need to add a final page to the document with a paragraph, bulleted list or short essay that explains your design choices. Topics should cover software used, design inspiration, how you feel it is a fit for target job and industry, why you chose the specific design elements that were included, the outcome for the job seeker with the resume IF it has already been used in a job search, and ways in which you made sure graphical content was also represented within the document to be ATS friendly.
A period of 4-6 weeks will allow the certification committee to perform a blind review of the portfolio to ensure a balance of strong certification-worthy writing has been balanced by solid design.
Should more than one additional submission (recognized as a second portfolio) be required to fulfill the needs of the CGRA credentialing process, an added processing fee of $95 will be applied.
Upon committee approval you will be conferred and awarded the CGRA designation, which will include use of the logo and an e-certificate, both appropriate for print or web use.
Ready to make the leap? Sign up for CGRA now.
Are you ready to take your business to the next level by becoming the industry’s next top Certified Graphic Resume Architect?
Paid Association Member Pricing
Current association members receive discounts on certifications and programs.
You receive $100 (25%) off of this certification.
Not a member?
Membership in CDI is not required to become a CGRA.
However, paying members receive:
- 25% off ($100 discount) on certification registration.
- Reduced renewal fee.
- All the benefits of association membership.
Interested in becoming a member today? You will have the chance to add membership and apply the member discount at checkout.