Need a solution for maintaining, organizing, and printing my CV/resume
I have to assume that some FMPro wizards have used this app to create and manage their CVs and/or resumes . . . freeware solutions/templates especially welcome.
I should probably make it clear that the resume/cv template I seek would be one for maintaining my own resume/cv (or that any individual could use for that purpose). With fields for indicating different categories of achievement/credit, the organization involved in a specific one, the specific achievement, date started/finished, etc.
I've started tinkering with the latest version of the Inventory solution for this, but I figure I'm definitely reinventing the wheel -- is it possible that with all the Filemaker savvy out thereno one has devised a way of using FMPro for this purpose? I'd expect that to be the very first professional task a developer would apply this app to.
In a post elsewhere, Sorbsbuster asks "why your solution isn't simply a Word document, or various versions of it." Right question, and here's the answer. I actually have several resumes/cvs now, in the form of Word documents, and have maintained and updated these as word-processor files in various apps for the past 20 years. For purposes of my own, I'm also evolving a chronology of my personal and professional life. Presently I have this also as a Word text file. The chronology includes everything I consider worth remembering and to which I want to have easy access. Not intended as a narratized autobiography -- just the basic data. The several cvs/resumes have different emphases and lengths. I have worked in several different areas professionally: the academic world, the art world, the world of freelance writing/cultural journalism, and the creative writing world. My credentials in the world of freelance writing don't matter much to my academic clients, and my creative-writing accomplishments don't mean much in the art world. Still, there's some overlap, and depending on the circumstance in which I'm submitting the cv/resume I may want to include a creative-writing award in an academic cv. Also, some clients want a one-page cv/resume, while others want the whole 20-page deal (I'm 65, so there's a lot of stuff). And some want something in between. Situations thus require me to tailor my cv/resume to specific occasions. So I'm creating and maintaining different documents that all contain some of the same data and are based on one central pool of data, plus I'm maintaining and amplifying one document that I expect will contain all the data in those various documents and more. All of this I have presently stored in Word format, but this sounds like a database project to me. I'm doing much of my work now in various Filemaker solutions. And I make it a habit to update my cvs/resumes at the beginning of the year. (I add to the chronology on a running basis.) So, as I face the January 2009 updating tasks, I ask myself why I'm not doing this in FMPro -- which I've also asked myself each time I recall and enter a new event into the chronology. A chronology is an archetypal database. Isn't a cv/resume also a database? Sorbsbuster asks the following specific questions: - what would you consider to be the 'records' in the database? If you have only one Resumé would that not just be one record, which you regularly update?A: I would consider the individual records to be events in my personal and professional life. For example: Born December 19, 1943, Brooklyn, New York. Married to [first wife's] name, New York, New York, date. Assistant Professor, Dept. of XXX, ZZZ University, start date, finish date. Keynote lecture, title, ABC conference, institution, location, date. Book published, title, publisher, location, date. Etc. - what sort of things would you use the 'Find' facility for?All occasions on which I presented the lecture titled XXXX. Every publication in which my poem YYY appeared. Every activity related to ZZZ University. - do you intend to have more than one table of data in this template? What data would those tables hold?Not sure about this. I'm still newbie enough that I don't fully grasp the use of tables. Certainly open to advice. - would you intend to ever use the 'Sort' facility? What for?I might want to sort for all records that I have categorized as Creative Writing and given a priority rating of 1, in descending order (most recent first). Or everything I've categorized as Teaching and/or Lecturing at College-level institutions. Or all Lectures, Panels, and Symposia at institutions categorized as Museums. Or everything I did professionally in 1983. I would also want the ability to go through the records and select specific ones to include in a custom sort. - what kind of calculations do you think you will want?Not sure what calculations, if any, this will involve -- for the newbie reason given above. - would you want various layouts? What would they each be for?I can foresee wanting a one-page layout for a short version and a multi-page version with running headers and footers for the full-tilt-boogie version. Possibly a different look/style for the Creative Writing cv/resume, something more sober for the academic/professional ones. Perhaps a Report layout that allowed me to deselect records gathered in an initial sort to refine the list for printing. Hope this gives you all some better idea of what I'm after. I'm now tinkering with the latest interation of the FMPro Inventory solution (the one released with FMPro 10), whose infrastructure looks as if it could handle what I have in mind. In my revised version, each item of Inventory will be an event in my personal/professional life. I'll continue to evolve this on my own, and of course will bring any questions and problems I can't handle to the forum. But I'd love to see how someone with more db savvy than me has addressed this task -- assuming that someone has. And, as I said earlier, I'd prefer not to reinvent the wheel, so if someone has already evolved such a solution I'd gladly use that as is or retool it to my own needs. Assuming I'm not the only person who sees the potential usefulness of such a solution, I also think that it would serve a substantial number of people. Indeed, when I look at the freeware solutions Filemaker offers, I'm surprised that this isn't among them -- it cuts across all the professions and areas of business activity.<!-- EndFragment -->
I think Sorbsbuster asked the questions most of us were thinking since you first posted.
I wouldn't be so surprised to find that noone has done this. I doubt that most people have quite the extensive need that you do.
(And I'm still a bit curious when your marriage to your first wife would ever be relevant in a CV - unless you're also planning on leaving a "this was my life" file for the kids.
Anywho - I almost think that you'd end up doing less work starting from scratch. I'll brainstorm for a bit with you here:
You'll have a table called "LineItems" or "Events" or whatever for each task.
You'll want a field in each of those records for which subheader each would fall under (e.g., Publications, Employment, Education, etc.)
You'll want a checkbox field for which categories of CV's each record should show up in, keeping in mind field and length (e.g., ArtFull, ArtMedium, ArtShort, EducationFull, EducationMedium, EducationShort, etc.)
Your final printout would involve a search for the category with a sort by the subheader then date. Your final printout should contain a leading subsummary field with the subheader title in it.
I'd also consider a second table called Distribution or something like that, where you can track who your CV went to, on what date, and which version. Two container fields in this table could also be good for keeping a copy the CV you sent and the cover letter.
Since it's just you entering data, your interface shouldn't require much work. Just a few fields on each data entry screen.
Those are just my initial thoughts. Do they help at all?
Thanks -I'm starting to see more clearly how your thought process is going.
Let's start with your definitive statement: "A 'Record' is an 'Event'."
The best-ever Filemaker file I wrote is the one that I use several times a day, probably, every day. It consists of one table, and one field: 'UsefulInformation'. I use it to record anything and everything that I may ever want to know again. I use Filemaker's ability to index and search through 1000s of records containing millions of words, in a flash. In the field 'UsefulInformation' I note all sorts of things, for example:
- My Bank Account Number and PIN Number
- The names of the people I met on holiday last year
- The address of that website I found offering cheap printer cartridges
- The unpublished instructions about how to stop my dishwasher bleeping when it finishes
- The directline phone number I was given to my ISP's Help Line
- My username and password for Flickr
- My friend's delicious recipe for American Fruit Salad
- blah, blah...
You get the drift. The point is that for you, a record is 'An Event'; for me, a record is 'A Piece Of Useful Information'. The trick is in the presentation and the tagging. Those friends I met on holiday - I will make sure that I write a few paragraphs in good old English describing them and all the things I would like to remember about them, but at the bottom of the record I will do the traditional tagging with things like, 'goatee beard', 'interested in butterflies', 'brother called Sue' - any of those things that 20 years later will help me (and Filemaker) find that record again in an instant.
I make sure that the first line of the record is something immediately indicative of what the record is about. I write it like it was the Subject of a following e-mail. In your case I would suggest you have consistent 'Subjects' (and in databases, 'Consistency Is Next To Godliness' - even being consistently *wrong* is better than being inconsistently right), such as:
- Delivered lecture on 'Willy Nelson' in Portland. Extended Version. 12/10/2007.
- Gained certification in 'Advanced Video Editing', UCLA, 11/6/1994
- Delivered lecture on 'Willy Nelson' in Baton Rouge. Short Version. 4/8/2005.
- Started employment with 'Sundance Film Festival' 8/12/1976
- Gained certification in 'Forklift Truck Driving', Acme Driving School, 11/6/1994
- Delivered lecture on 'The 19th Century Romantics' in Chicago. Full Powerpoint Version. 8/7/1986.
- blah, blah
Type a couple of 'returns', and then write all you want about the detail of that 'Event'. Don't be limited - you could probably type the whole of 'War And Peace' in there and it won't scare Filemaker. Now, when you want to know how often you've delivered lectures, you can
- "Delivered lecture".
Filemaker will return all those occasions that you've delivered any lecture.
- "Delivered lecture on 'Willy Nelson' ".
Filemaker will return all those occasions that you've delivered your lecture on 'Willy Nelson' - in any format.
- "Delivered lecture" Portland.
Filemaker will return all those occasions that you've delivered any lecture in Portland.
You can then refine the search, or sort it as best suits your purpose. I think if you try it, you will be amazed how awesomely powerful an 'information sorting' tool it is.
Mark II Version
Here, we double the complexity of the file - we add a second field. You will probably have a folder somewhere with the various versions of your Resumés, presentations, lectures, PDFs of your certificates and awards, etc. Great - add a second field, called 'RelevantDocument', make it Type: Container, and give it, say, 6 repetitions - as many as the maximum number of documents that you think may be related to the record or 'Event'. Then when you create a record that is, say "Delivered lecture on post-prandial legitimacy and its counter-effect on neo-colonialism", right-click in the container field and link it to the Powerpoint presentation, Word document, pdf, whatever. You will then have instant access to all of the materials relevant to that 'Event', - Filemaker can re-open the catalogued document or file directly from that record. They can be videos, photos, recordings, JPEGs, MPEGS, MP3, scans - anything you like.
Mark III version
Double the complexity of that file, and start adding one script:
You had one layout - 'Data entry, Form View'. where one screen was one record 'Event', and all the text about that event was visible for perusal (even if it meant scrolling).
Now add a second layout: 'Data Entry, List View'. Make it that it truly is a List View ('View' menu) and have it that only the first line of each record appears in the very shallow Body section. Now you can see the importance of the need to type the first line of the 'Event' like a good e-mail Subject. Whenever you do your search you will view the found set on this layout, and your eye will immediately be able to run down the records and see which was the relevant one(s) you wanted.
You can then create your one script, attached to a little button on the LHS of the record, which will simply flick round on to 'Form View' to let you read the detail of the entry. (Okay: two scripts - another one to take you back again to the List View.)
There is a Mark IV Version with 'Favourites' along the top of the screen and click-through to websites, but that's about it. I am happy to let anyone have my template, but to be honest it would take them longer to read this post than to write it themselves. It really is that simple.
I am confident this is the way to go, for two reasons:
- it works for me. Has done for 15 years.
- your data is so potentially diverse (a lecture here, a poem there, a key date somewhere else) that if you don't do it this way you will end up with a database of 1000s of fields, one for each potential eventuality, full of unsearchable data (in any practical sense).
I hope this helps,
Some other reasons for doing this as a FM db . . .
1. With the latest iterations of FM, I can include fields to store documents, media, and other files relevant to a particular event/record. For example, I can store a scan of my college diploma with the record that lists my graduation date.
2. When I revise my Word-document version of my CV each January, I'm always dropping older/lesser past events out in order to make space for newer/more important ones. I do this just to keep the printed version within manageable size. (Remember, I'm 65, and I've been busy.)
Let's say I gave a lecture at Syracuse University that I recall as taking place in the early 1980s. I no longer have that listed on my current cv; I probably dropped it off circa 1990. If for some reason I want to retrieve its specifics and add it into a new cv/resume (because I suddenly have a job offer from Syracuse U, let's say), I have to open up my earliest digital versions of my cv and hope to find it there, or else go to dead-tree pre-1988 cvs for it. Whereas if I had this as a record in my db, presto! A simple find puts it at my fingertips and into the custom cv I'm creating for this situation.
3. So what I'm really working on here is a personal/professional autobiography/chronology solution within which I can find any entered event easily; from which I can sort, extract, and print (or save in pdf form) customized cvs and resumes to suit any situation; and with which I can slice and dice the entered data in all the ways that FM makes possible.
No offense intended, but it surprises me that this concept would strike anyone in the FM community as novel. When it occurred to me, as a recent post-newbie, I took it for granted that such solutions existed, because I figured the very first thing an FM maven would undertake professionally would be the production of a db cv/resume. My online searches haven't led me to anything remotely resembling this concept, so I gather I'm pioneering here, much to my delight but somewhat to my trepidation.
Unless someone points me to an existing solution for this purpose, I'll plug away at my makeover of the new Inventory solution, and I'll post any problems and questions that come up here at the forum.
"When I revise my Word-document version of my CV each January..."
You're going to design and develop a ground-breaking database to help you edit a CV... once a year? You are a better man than I, Gunga Din...
I think what the mavens may be doing is perhaps keeping that instantly-searchable log of all their relevant 'Events', then once a year sit down, boil up a coffee, and cobble the relevant events into a CV, presented in whatever format happens to suit the intended reader and the fashion at the time.
I believe my suggestion will answer all of your requirements, up to but not including "[automatically] sort, extract, and print (or save in pdf form) customized cvs and resumes to suit any situation"
You've got the beatings of me, quickstudy!
Best of luck with the project,
Why did this thread's window suddenly expand to fill my screen horizontally? Did I do THAT? (Steve Urkle speaking . . . )
Thanks for your input, Sorbs. I do have a general slushpile db (based on the Research Notes freeware solution) that works for me much the way you describe yours working for you. However, I don't agree that what I have in mind will necessarily grow to include more fields than I can manage. I think that with judicious use of categories, check boxes, and value lists I can keep the actual text-entry and date-entry data for each record on one single tab of the main Inventory layout, without crowding.
Also, this solution already has fields that I simply wouldn't use in my general Notes solution. So I prefer working in a solution tailored to this specific task. The Sorts I save will also be specific to this set of data.
Because I may want to add in/drop out bits of the basic info, I don't think your suggestion of putting all the basics into the first field will work for me. For example, I may want to generate just a list of the schools where I've lectured (no lecture titles, no dates) for one purpose, and a list with the places and dates for another purpose. So it seems best to put these into different fields.
I understand your proposal. That's how my modified Notes solution works, just fine for its purpose. I thought about putting the cv/resume data into that, but decided not to. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
Thanks for your input, jsalzer.
My cv may not require my marriage, divorce, and birth-of-offspring dates. However, it does require my birthdate and educational credentials.
This is of course pertinent to my professional life, therefore, but is also personal information.
And there are other sorts for other purposes that might in fact require such personal information, in greater quantity. Why then should I limit what I put into this solution to strictly professional info, when I can exclude from any professional sort all personal info except the few items I select for that sort?
As I wrote in an earlier post, what I'm really working on here is a personal/professional autobiography/chronology solution within which I can find any entered event easily; from which I can sort, extract, and print (or save in pdf form) customized cvs and resumes to suit any situation; and with which I can slice and dice the entered data in all the ways that FM makes possible.
One of the inspirations for developing this solution was my induction into the Medicare system a few months ago. This proved much less difficult and painful than I'd expected (leaving aside the anguish resulting from the awareness that somehow I got old enough to qualify). In fact, it barely took 40 minutes.
But, during the phone interview that initiated my qualification, the Social security staffer asked me a number of questions for which I didn't have ready answers. My parents' dates of birth and, in the case of my mother, date of death. The dates of my three marriages and two divorces. Etc. They have good reasons for asking those questions, which I understood. But they didn't give me a list of those questions beforehand, and I had to approximate answers and then go scrambling through assorted Word documents to dig out the correct and precise dates, supplying those later.
That's when I decided to put all this stuff together: personal events, professional events, etc. One big chronology of my life, set up for a variety of sorts, with an attractive Print layout for the results.
Your suggestions re the possible fields are much appreciated. Some I've already set up pretty much as you propose. Others I'll consider. I like the idea of a Distribution field. I can couple that with the container field in the Inventory layout, so I can store a copy of the specific sort that I print and send to a particular client. And I can link that field to my CRM solution.
As for my needs here being highly specialized . . . I'm the only FM user who wants a chronology of his or her significant life events?
Hey, Sorbs . . . I wasn't exactly clear.
I revise my Word-document version of my cv once a year, because it's tedious to add, delete, and otherwise juggle these event listings. And I don't usually take the time to fine-tune the result for each client -- also tedious. So, unless something momentous happens between January and December, the cv I sent to a prospect on December 1, 2008 will be the same cv, with the same data, that I sent to a different prospect on January 20, 2008.
This solution encourages me to update my cv/resume on the fly, as events happen, and to generate a fresh and situation-specific cv with relative ease whenever needed. It also encourages me to consolidate date-specific life events, personal and professional, in one solution. It will take me a bit of time to move the pertinent data into the solution, but that's a one-time chore. After that it's all updating.
As for this being "ground-breaking" -- I'm just tweaking the off-the-shelf Inventory solution, treating the events of my life as an inventory. Mostly I'm replicating fields from other solutions, copying and pasting scripts and calculations . . . does this qualify me as a pathfinder, or a developer?
Pleased in any case that I impressed you. I can use all the encouragement I can get.
I really like this idea actually, and hopefully you have finally created this.
This is something I will come to need and therefore if you would have a template for me to work from, that would be great!
Retrieving data ...