Oh, be careful little CV what you say

A colleague just passed this CV along to me, which is quite creatively displayed in Google Maps. I think this a good example of how one can mix new media (interactive map) with an existing purpose (CV) and create a completely unique message. I will definitely be showing this to my students, both as an example of an innovative use of media and as a nonexample for how to write for an intended audience. Let me qualify my impending rant with this statement: I am in academia, not in advertising or copy writing, so the standards and expectations for a CV may differ quite a bit between the two worlds. Furthermore, the owner of this CV is a professional writer and undoubtedly knows more about his audience than I do.

That said, I have three main observations about his CV, which I think would be great conversation starters for graduating seniors or grad students. First, how casual is too casual for a CV? I think I am just too accustomed to the stuffy academic CV. The overall tone of this CV is quite casual and resembles something you might read on Facebook or a blog. Should style change with the medium? Would a more formal tone undermine the affordances of the interactive map?

Second, he does a pretty good job of focusing on the high points of his career, but he also commits some major job interview no-nos: talking about goofing off in college, bashing (or at least making fun of) a former boss and mentioning dissatisfaction with an old job. I have sat on several committees where we interviewed teachers for an open position, and I was always able to tell what kind of colleague the person would be just based on what he or she said about former students, principals, schools and districts. If a former principal or colleagues were described as “horrible,” chances are he or she would find something horrible about future colleagues and principals. I was always “coached” to be very positive about former work environments and be selective in what I said about colleagues and bosses. In Ed’s defense, he doesn’t say anything really scathing and he is much more positive than negative in his descriptions of former employers.

Finally, some of his humor is a little misdirected. Considering the recent earthquake in Chile, the comment about Chilean geography may come across as insensitive. I am not an overly sensitive person, and I was immediately struck with how untimely and inappropriate this was. As a person who knows a thing or two about digital media, I know it won’t take very long to move that little pin to a different place on the map.

Overall, I think this is pretty cool and I hope it ultimately leads to a job. Best of luck, Ed!