Visual CV / Resume in Tableau
As part of a new scheme that we are launching at EY, the ‘Data Ninja’s’ programme, I set about pulling together a visual CV template, something that I will be asking the participants to replicate and redesign as part of the course (more on that later).
I began by exploring what was out there already. I remember being impressed the first time I saw a ‘Tableau CV’ – Andy Kriebel’s version on his website (http://www.vizwiz.com/p/history.html).
There is also this article (link) by Emma Trifari on Tableau Resumes – some excellent examples in here and I used several of the ideas to create my own.
Why the Visual CV?
Using a visual CV allows the reader to get an impression of the author in a much quicker timeframe than a traditional CV. Assuming that getting an impression of a candidate is the core purpose of a CV, the visual version has some obvious advantages. The interactivity that modern software offers has the potential to make the traditional A4 two pager of condensed text redundant, although I expect it will be some time before this occurs in reality. In the meantime, I think the visual CV can certainly supplement a traditional CV, even if it is in the form of a static cover page.
At this stage, there is also the novelty of having a CV that sets you apart from a crowd – imagine the classic scenario of a manager with a pile of standard format CVs coming across something visually interesting & well designed.
The timeline was a feature of all of the visual CV’s I came across and forms the centre piece of the top half of my own. Initially I looked at using a Gantt chart for this, but switched to using a line chart for the date ranges and a dual axis with custom shapes for the period ends. By using colours associated with the company/institution that the lines referred to the viewer can easily identify the length of time spent at each one, as well as clusters of activity specific to a particular company.
Interactivity is a key part of the timeline, as it allows the user to dig into my experience at each stage along the timeline. By copying and pasting descriptions from my existing CV into the appropriate row, I include the long, written sections of a traditional CV into tooltips, which only appear when the user hovers over a particular section of the timeline. I was able to use the new ‘viz in tooltips’ capability of Tableau 10.5 to have the logo of the relevant firm appear in the top left-hand corner of the tooltip (this was mostly just an exploring exercise around getting images into tooltips).
Judging yourself against levels such as the ones I have chosen (beginner through to expert) is always going to be a challenge. I found it difficult to know who I should be benchmarking myself against when self-declaring that I was an expert or a beginner in a certain skill. Given that a CV, whilst importantly being an honest reflection, is also a sales tool for your personal brand, I think there will be a general tendancy to inflate ability. I also believe that the ability to learn quickly is more important than being proficient in a particular skill, though again it is difficult to quantify on a scale of 1-5.
For that reason, the ‘other skills’ section is important for adding ‘soft’ skills that would not fit into a quantifiable matrix. Again, these are interactive to provide more information on a time that I showed a particular skill. This section was particularly brief in my traditional CV, and the tooltips allowed me to build out examples of where I had displayed a trait or skill.
The technical skills are often specific to the industry or line of work – an individual going for a job in plumbing would be unlikely to proudly display that they are an expert in software engineering. For some jobs, a technical skills section may not be relevant at all, and can be replaced with a portfolio or a larger section on ‘other skills’.
The Selected Clients section may also be industry specific. In my own line of work it is useful to refer to specific companies as the reader may have a prior understanding of the team that worked on a particular client. It may also provide information on specific sector experience (although not in my case – the 6 firms I selected are all from different sectors!)
The contact footer provides handy links to websites, emails & social media sites. All are interactive and will hyperlink through to the relevant page when clicked. For a non interactive version, email and twitter handle were also written in full at the top of the page.