Rethinking the CV: interactive timeline version

I’ve been updating my CV recently, as I’ll be resuming the academic job hunting soon, looking out for posts (possibly part time) starting from the Autumn onwards.

However, I don’t like my CV as it stands; it doesn’t seem to give a clear picture of who I am, how I got to where I am today, or how the items on it make sense together. I suspect that some readers get to the undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, and write me off straight away when I’m applying for Education/Social Sciences positions. (I also suspect that the increasing reliance on online forms for university HR may even filter me out before a human reads it – but that’s a different post for a different time 😉 ).

So, I decided to experiment with making a timeline-based version of my CV. I’m still tweaking it, but I think it does help to show how everything fits together. I’ve not included non-peer reviewed publications, posters, or presentations (yet) as there are a lot of them – but I might add them, as they do include a wider range of activities (e.g. not just formal conferences but also some teaching). I may also add another filter for skills, as well as research methods, and collaborators.

Although some would probably say I should not foreground it, I have included my two periods of maternity leave. There weren’t obvious gaps on the timeline which would have called for an explanation around mat leave, but it felt wrong not to include them – they are a big part of who I am, and keeping going with my PhD and staying research active through them was a major challenge.

Any feedback would be welcome – what else should I add? What is, or isn’t, coming across well in this format? The timeline can be viewed by clicking on the picture below, or the following link (opens in a new tab):

  1. OMG–I LOVE THIS IDEA! I know what is the new project on my docket! One questiion–did you use a program for the timeline or program that yourself?


    • Hi Lance! A bit of both; I used the Simile Exhibit toolkit (, which allows you to create data-driven interactive webpages. The really neat thing is that you can set a Google spreadsheet as the data source, so say I publish a new paper, I can just add it to the spreadsheet and the webpage will automatically update.

      I use Exhibit for lots of things (it’s also great for interactive bibliographies, and can render data as charts and maps too), but writing pages with it takes a bit of getting used to. I’m thinking of writing a how-to guide as a future blog post though, so watch this space 🙂


  2. jennymackness said:

    Like Lance – I really like this and had I not been at the end of my career I would definitely have wanted to use it for my CV. I would still be very interested in using it for interactive bibliographies (if I remember correctly you have already published a paper using this?).

    I look froward to your how-to guide, which I hope will cater for the technically challenged 🙂


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