I've been noticing these for a while, mostly on student designers' résumés or curriculum vitae and they've always struck me as remarkably pointless. Lately though I've seen them spreading beyond the world of graphic design and—horror of horrors—actually being praised by people who should know better.
The idea seems straightforward enough: Turn some element of your skill-set, such as software skills, into an easily-understood graphic that makes it simpler for prospective employers to scan your cv, and simultaneously impress them with your creative design skills. Hey, everybody loves an infographic, right?
Wrong. These things make no sense for a couple of reasons:
1. Your skills are not a number. Ok. If you're measuring something that's actually quantifiable, such as the number of a given series of classes you've taken, then perhaps you can express it as a number or a percentage. Otherwise it's meaningless to suggest that your Photoshop skills are 65% as compared to your Illustrator score of 85%. The two probably aren't expressible on the same scale, and I have no idea what 100% would even look like. If you're in doubt, ask yourself this: If Ireached 100% on this scale, could I imagine improving even more?
2. A single number doesn't warrant a chart. There's really good, precise and unambiguous way of expressing something like 75%. Here it is: 75%. Want to show that you've completed fifteen of a possible twenty classes? This is it: 15/25. You're welcome. If you're a designer, and you can't demonstrate your ability to choose the appropriate (usually the simplest) visual form for a given piece of information then I won't be hiring you.
Can we all agree to a moratorium on this nonsense, and get back to fixing things that are actually broken?