Monday, October 2, 2006

Resume as a wiki

In the “eventually I’ll get around to it” file was a comprehensive resume on my site. (No, I’m definitely not looking for a job.) I’d been keeping an outline in Bonsai for a couple years, but it didn’t have the old stuff (where I spoke after I graduated law school, which articles I wrote, etc.) and didn’t have an easy way to publish in an elegant way to the web. (Bonsai has export templates, but every time I tried to use them, I found I spent more time tweaking the output than actually maintaining the outline itself, which defeated the purpose.)

A couple months back, I had a bit of a breakthrough: the CV needed to be viewable on the web and easy to update. In other words… a wiki!

Yes, the irony of a guy who once worked for the premiere wiki software company just now realizing the benefits of using a wiki in this case is, well… let’s not go any further. I get it, OK?

The real driver for this was that Blogbeat revealed something that hadn’t been obvious to me in 5 years of blogging: the most visited link on my site, each month, is the “About me” page. Up until a month ago, that link simply went to my LinkedIn profile… which is a tad dry, and misses a lot of info. (Like, where I’ve spoken, which articles I’ve been interviewed in, what books I’ve written, etc.)

I found a terrific wiki app for my site called PmWiki, and was off to the races. The finished product is here — more on how I did it after the jump.

After downloading the latest build of PmWiki, I followed the installation instructions and had the basic setup running in about 15 minutes.

I picked PmWiki for a couple reasons: the templates meant I could control the look and feel of the finished product pretty easily, it has a ton of tweaks that meant I could tailor it exactly to how I wanted it to function. Since this is my resume and not some community site, I didn’t want anyone to be able to edit it… PmWiki has a nice varitey of ways to secure the content — obviously I want anyone able to view the completed pages, I just want control over the modification of the pages.

With that in place, I then set out to create the content. PmWiki supports page inclusion: so the main resume page is just a collection of calls to the component pages (and some of those pages are themselves includes of subsidiary pages). If you’re interested in tweaking PmWiki, the Cookbook is an exhaustive list of things you can do to customize the app. I figure I spent a total of 2-3 hours tweaking things like file naming conventions, sidebar displays, security, templates, etc.

Now that it’s easy to update, I can keep the CV up to date with a minimum of effort. And I can easily capture additional content that I hadn’t done in the past, like links to blog posts made by people who wrote about my presentations. (Check out some of the “feedback” links on recent speaking engagements.) Going forward, I’m going to try to upload audio and/or slides when I can — it’s a shame I don’t have some of my older presentations, and this will make responding to the occasional requests for slides much easier.

The only downside to this has been the marked increase in cold-calls from recruiters. It’s actually hilarious the random stuff that’s getting sent my way — I should start posting some of the job descriptions. (“Web 2.0 Developer” was a favorite: what in my background suggested I was a developer? And since when was “web 2.0” a programming environment?)

That minor issue aside, it was a fun project to put together. And it’s nice to have everything I’ve done in one place… going forward, it will no doubt grow in depth and be even more useful.

1 comment:

  1. so, when do we get blogbeat? you cheat by having all the cool kids tools first.