Eugene Woo is a Torontonian, a developer and the founder of Vizualize.me, a free, online résumé building platform that is the largest visual résumé site in the world. Vizualize.me is the winner of the 2011 Startup Weekend Toronto. Now, Eugene is the co-founder and board member of Venngage, an infographics design tool, helping businesses and organizations create infographics for their marketing campaigns.
In 2013, Parchment, an education technology company in Arizona, acquired Vizualize.me. Still, Eugene is involved with handling press and interview requests, so he was happy to answer a few questions for us about his journey as a young business person the importance of having a rockin’ résumé, different from the thousands of other applicants out there hoping to find a job:
- Why were you inspired to develop an online tool for people to produce “creative” résumés?
I do a fair share of hiring and have probably read hundreds, if not, thousands, of résumés. It got boring, especially when most résumés have similar content. Then I saw some infographic résumés in 2010. These were created by designers for their online portfolios and I thought, what a great way to show your achievements, credentials and skills. But only designers could do this and I wanted to make it available to anyone, even people without design skills.
- When did Vizualize.me first launch? What was the response after opening?
Summer of 2011. The response was quite good. We had over 100,000 signups in the first two months. There were quite a bit of press coverage on it as well!
- Other than résumé building skills, what other things can users learn from utilizing Vizualize.me?
I think learning how to visualize information and tell your story visually are probably the most important thing you can learn from the infographic templates in the tool.
- What is different between Vizualize.me and LinkedIn?
Lots of difference. Vizualize.me provides just a visual form of your résumé. LinkedIn is a professional social network with a social feed, tools for connecting with others, etc. They also have a blogging platform (Pulse), and recently bought an online training platform (Lynda). Vizualize.me complements a user’s LinkedIn profile. Many users actually link their Vizualize.me URL in their LinkedIn profile.
- Does Vizualize.me have customizable themes? Or, do these come with an added cost?
Yes, Vizualize.me has a few templates or themes you can customize. The entire tool is free.
- I’ve seen a few scary résumés in my day! What are your thoughts on the way university and college students are taught to create résumés? Any ideas for improvement?
The thing is, creating résumés or any other important step to getting a job, such as networking, asking for informational interviews, interviewing skills, etc. are rarely taught in universities. Fortunately, there are tons of resources and tools on the Internet. My advice to students is always to go out and get an internship or co-op before they graduate. Experience in a “real” job in your field goes a long way in preparing you for finding a permanent job. I definitely see a huge difference between recent grads with internships and those without.
- Do some people use Vizualize.me as a forum for an online portfolio?
Yes, certainly. People do link to their visual résumés in their online portfolios or profiles.
- What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since you opened Vizualize.me?
That I don’t really know what I was doing when I started it (even though I thought I did). That and everything takes a lot longer than I thought it would take. Like three times longer! I’m still learning to have more patience.
- What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to résumé errors?
My biggest pet peeve is when the résumé is devoid of personality. You know how when you read an article and the “voice” of the author comes through (or not)? Kind of like that. Some résumés are just a bunch of keywords. Sometimes I’ll decide to Google them and I’ll read their blogs and their Instagram posts. Then I’m like, this person is so interesting, why does their résumé suck!!!! That is my pet peeve, when people somehow manage to create the most boring and cookie cutter résumé despite being very interesting people.
For more information about Vizualize.me, visit their Facebook page! Special thanks to Eugene for taking the time to answer our questions!