Vizualize.me Aims to Shake Up the Resume With Data Beautification

Everyone knows that resumes are antiquated.

So, Vizualize.me, an infant company based in Toronto, is trying to dig through piles of personal data and reinvent the resume for our modern data-driven world.

Why this unenviable task?

“People aren’t even really reading [resumes] anymore,” said Vizualize.me CEO and founder Eugene Woo. “They’ve gotten too long, and they just aren’t useful.”

In other words, resumes are due for a good shake-up.

Vizualize.me has built a Web app that ingests a user’s work history and then spits out a design-y timeline, with details about each experience layered in.

Data like this is often messy, so, rather than trying to get users to manually enter their work history, Vizualize.me just connects to LinkedIn, pulls out the already-structured data, and converts it into the visualization.

The end result is something between an About.me profile page and a project manager’s colorful Gantt chart.

It’s a neat concept to lay out collected work history on a single digital page. And the result isn’t bad-looking either, even if it has some of the roughness that is unavoidable in a bootstrapped beta release.

Still not sure what you might use it for? Apparently you’re in good company.

Woo isn’t sure, either. “We’ve gotten a lot of interest from recruiters who want to sift through many resumes quickly,” he said. “But most of our users want to use the visualization as part of their own resume.”

Although a business model seems a ways off, Vizualize.me will likely be able to grow its user base thanks to the Internet’s penchant for navel-gazing.

And gaze it does. To date, there are about 175,000 users in line for a beta invite.

But, like anything else that looks simple and elegant, creating robust visualizations of resume data is actually pretty hard, according to Woo.

That’s because they require precision, and users are sensitive to things like unseemly gaps in work history that might force them to talk about that ugly two-year addiction to World of Warcraft.

Woo also seems to have his work cut out for him technologically as well. He hopes to add many more visualization styles, or “themes,” to borrow a term from microblogging site Tumblr. But he says that themes for data visualizations are much harder than just making a Tumblr theme.

Said Woo: “Ours have to be coded to work and not just look good.”

Assuming the product improves, Vizualize.me, and data visualization products like it seem to have a pretty good growth potential.

Because one thing is clear, our piles of personal data aren’t getting any smaller.

Here’s Woo talking about all that and more:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald