Thursday, June 4, 2020

An Interactive Resume

"I think your resume is THE BEST technical resume I've ever seen.  I think every technical resume should be like this," says my program manager friend.

"Really?" says I, "What version are you looking at?  Word?"

"No," says she, "Tableau.  It makes it so easy to see everything you've done and in what time frame."

I knew that I liked my interactive resume, but I was surprised by this reaction, because things that my nerdy little brain like aren't always popular with other humans (not that my friend Dawn is really like other humans).

"If you do LinkedIn, you should do a vlog/story and post it", says she.

So, here I am, making my first post on my business blog since 2016.  If you want to skip straight to the interactive Tableau-based resume without having to scroll through my ramblings, you can look at it here:
Click to go to Tableau-based interactive resume

To go straight to Creating Your Interactive Resume, go here.

Why Re-engineer my Resume?

I have worked in software since 1991, focusing on business software, mainly using Microsoft tools, and participating in development, analysis and project management realms.  In March 2020, I was put on "Pandemic Leave", so I needed something else to do to keep myself occupied for the duration.

Most recently I had been working on a complex data transformation initiative, sorting out how to migrate person and company data from a heavily denormalized flat-file system (which houses duplicate person and company data in no less than seven separate sources) to a relational database, and I had been having the time of my life (don't judge).  It renewed my passion for data, which, frankly, I've always had, but never focused on in a meaningful way before.

Because I'm so fired up about data right now, I chose to spend my "Pandemic Leave" learning Data Analytics and signed up for a "master course" that teaches Python, R, Power BI and Tableau.  I learn best by doing real-world, meaningful-to-me projects, rather than the pretend projects that you encounter in school, so I have been exploring some of my own favorite datasets (some Calgary Outdoor Club data, local pollutants vs my daily lung health, etc) with my new toolset.  You can see some more of my meaningful-to-me data viz projects here.

One of these days, my gainful career will re-ignite, but to get there I'm going to have to update my resume and pound some pavement, so I started with the resume.  I was asked by SI Systems to provide a more detailed version, including ascribing every tool I'd worked with to each project.  As I was doing that, I was thinking, "this could make an interesting data visualization, if one happened to be OCD enough to gather and describe her historical time records."  I was also inspired by one of the showcase Tableau Authors, Eric Balash who visualized his own resume here.

Creating my Interactive Resume

I used my resume, and my company invoices, to gather the data I needed to "viz" up my resume, breaking it down by the key pieces of information.  I decided to include not just my time spent officially working (i.e., getting paid), but also relevant time I've devoted to clubs that I've been involved with, as well as my professional development time.

Sector line chart race

My resume consists of three "pages":
  1. The main page, which provides an introduction and overview, plus links to the two additional pages:
  2. A breakdown of my time by Roles, Sectors, and Tools/Technologies (this one includes three Flourish-based line-chart races, one for each category), and;
  3. A breakdown of my time by Year (this one includes a snazzy timeline graphic).  
Go ahead and give it a test-drive here.

Creating Your Interactive Resume 

To create your own interactive resume like this one, you'll need:
  1. A Tableau account (Tableau Public is free)
  2. A data store (e.g., Excel spreadsheet) of your career, which breaks your time down into Year and Organization, plus the relevant categories to your career (e.g., Sector, Role, and Tool/Technology).  For a lot of my time, I was working simultaneously in more than one role and/or using more than one tool - I just broke those down by approximate percentages of the total time spent so as to not double-report my time.
Excel spreadsheet data store detailing my career 

You can then start to create your own visualizations of your career, and pull them together into a resume.  If you're not into learning how to use Tableau, my colleague, Robin, is interested in creating your Tableau-based resume for you (and trust me, he is much better at the visual design than I am).

Any questions?  Feel free to reach out.  I'll just be sitting here visualizing my iTunes library.

Flourish-based Radial Diagram of my iTunes Library

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