GradHackers Alex Galarza, Katy Meyers, and Julie Platt recently led a bootcamp for graduate students at Michigan State University, and I briefly listened in via twitter. In thinking about developing an online presence, participants were worried about exposure: what facets of one’s professional/academic/personal selves should be revealed online, and to what extent? Their reservations about writing publicly, particularly about their research, mirrored my own when I started blogging. I’ve figured out how to negotiate those issues, but I still struggle with an important issue related to my professional, digital presence: Do I want to make my CV available online? If yes, where should I post it, and what platform should I use? Furthermore, what version of my CV should I use? (That’s right: the academic CV is not one-size-fits-all.)
There can be no right answers to these questions; certainly, posting one’s CV online has drawbacks and benefits, and there many ways that the CV—or at least some of the credentials one might include in it—can be displayed online. In service to this complexity, I’d like to explore some reasons why a graduate student, in particular, might publish his or her CV online, or alternatively, keep it “private.” Then, I list some options for publishing the CV (either in full or in part) online.
I gleaned some of this material from twitter exchanges with graduate students and professors. (Can I say how great twitter is for professionalizing, networking, and learning? Oh wait, I have.) As always, I’m interested in hearing from others—graduate students, their advisors, etc.—about the digital CV and its wider implications for graduate students.
Pros and Cons
The CV is an ongoing chronicle of one’s scholarly, professional, and pedagogical track-record. Nevertheless, for many graduate students, sharing a nascent and underdeveloped CV is daunting: making it available online is a bit like baking a birthday cake and decorating it before it’s cooled: technically, the cake is fit for consumption, but it’s not ready for display in the bakery window.
Graduate student Jason Heppler asks different questions about the digital CV because he is a digital humanist with programming experience; the act of publishing his CV online is part of his CV. (It’s not icing on the cake but rather an important ingredient in the recipe.)
Twitter user and graduate student @mrmauritzen brought up an important, pragmatic concern: how should sensitive information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, be handled? (Furthermore, should references be listed?) Not providing one’s contact information on a CV might counterproductive in terms of networking and collaboration.
Simple Publishing Options
Below, I’ve listed a few CV-publishing possibilities for those who do not want to develop their own website or host their own blog.
- Google+ Page. I like Google+ because it allows me to create a professional-looking public profile. On my public profile, which I’ve opted to index with search engines, I’m free to share whatever I wish, but I essentially use it as an electronic business card. Instead of listing my email address or phone number, I let people with Google+ accounts email me using my Gmail address; however, the address itself isn’t listed or revealed.
- Page(s) (not posts!) on your blog. Pages are static, so unlike a regular blog post, they always will be visible on the blog’s home page. CV material can be divided up across multiple pages. I have separate pages on my blog dedicated to my current and future research projects; I also have one page devoted to my teaching history, but I don’t include the same level of detail as I would in my official CV.
- LinkedIn. With a free LinkedIn account, you can create a resume with as much detail as you desire. You can choose to restrict certain information on your profile, as well. Academics in certain disciplines might find the resume interface too restrictive; however, graduate students in professional programs might feel differently.
- Visual CV. I recently learned about Visual CV from a professor and soon-to-be colleague. (In the fall and pending my dissertation defense, I’ll start a full-time, faculty position.) It’s free, and unlike LinkedIn, it has a more “academic-friendly” interface. A Visual CV also can be embedded with Word documents, such as sample syllabi, or video files, like recordings of conference presentations.
- PDF or Scribd file on your website or blog. A PDF file preserves the formatting and design of your CV and ensures that your audience sees the document as you do. However, updating the document in this form poses some problems, as you have to create and upload a new PDF after each edit. Graduate student and twitter user @caitlin_holton, however, alerted me to a fresh-off the presses ProfHacker post about using Google Docs to keep electronic CVs up-to-date. Professor Danielle M. Stern’s website shows how Scribd, a document sharing service, can be used in place of a PDF file.
I opted to not to publish my CV online in its entirety. However, I currently use blog pages (not posts) to highlight some material from my CV in abbreviated form. My blog also links to my LinkedIn account, which provides more extensive information from my CV, such as my complete educational history. However, only my LinkedIn contacts can see that information, and I don’t have many contacts (nor do I feel the need to develop a larger presence on the site). I created a CV with Visual CV, and I when I transition to my new position this fall, I’ll make it public. However, I imagine that document also will be incomplete in that I’ll redact some information I’d normally include in my official CV, such the names and contact information of my references.
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I keep a “working” CV in my public Dropbox folder. At the end of each semester, I update the Word file, create a PDF and get the public link by right-clicking. That link is used in a simple landing page (about.me is about as simple as it gets to edit!). As long as I keep replacing the PDF file in the folder when I “save as” from Word — I never have to touch my landing page. The link is connected to the updated PDF.
I was always under the impression that a CV shouldn’t contain references information unless specifically requested for a job. Any of my personal contact information could be found through our school’s directory and my professional licenses are all public record.
Laura – Thanks for the Dropbbox and PDF tip. I would like to try that out, perhaps with a short precis of my dissertation! You raise an important point about references, and I wonder if it might be discipline-specific? I’ve always included references in my CV, but then again, I can’t think of time that I wasn’t using the CV to apply for fellowships, jobs, and other professional opportunities. In fact-interesting side-note-when I was on the academic job market this fall, I was advised to include not only names of references, but also their full contact information: campus address, department phone number, and email address. But, if I ever publish my CV in its entirety online-say, as a Scribd doc or PDF file-I will merely say “references available upon request.”
Oh yes, of course — when submitting your CV with job materials, references are a must. I just meant to state that they should be in a separate document and “available upon request”. This leaves your CV as a standalone living document of your academia timeline.
Public links from Dropbox are awesome for so many reasons. My next project is to convert Powerpoints of guest lectures into PDFs and link them on my CV.
My supervisor during my Masters degree strongly encouraged me to create a website (including a CV). At first I was hesitant because I thought it would be too early in my career but I now realize that it’s never too early to build your web presence.
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Another option is Academia.edu, where there is a dedicated section for CV posting. I confess that although I have been out of grad school for a few years and “professing” full time, I have not posted my CV on-line yet, but it is something I have been thinking about this year as I engage more and more with academics on-line. So I appreciate the other options discussed here.
I can understand that posting a CV may be daunting for grad students who feel they don’t have much to put on it. I remember creating my first CV based on examples from some of my professors and how puny it looked! But personally, I think that having a CV out there can demonstrate that a grad student is thinking about being a professional and what it takes to be successful. Also, by creating a web presence early, you can better control your image.
And a final kudos to Gradhacker in general. I find I follow it just as regularly as the Chronicle and I recommend it to my undergrads contemplating grad school, and of course to grad students!
Thanks so much for the compliment!
I have to admit that I’ve never checked out Academia.edu. I’d like to take a look around, especially because you mention that they have a dedicated space for CVs. (I wonder how it compares to Visual CV?) Since publishing the post on CVs, I’ve done some (more) thinking, and I decided that I will be publishing mine online soon. Also, if you or other GradHacker readers have more to say on Academia.edu, let me know. I’m interested to know why grads and professors use it and what they get out of it.
[…] Posting a CV Online; […]
I hope I would be as highly profiled as possible