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Use Dropbox to Instantly Update Your Online CV

Portion of the Berlin Wall with words

Your curriculum vitae or CV is one of among the most important documents in academe. As Heather mentions in Friday’s post on archiving CVs, you’ll use it when looking for jobs, when applying for grants, when going up for tenure, and so on and so on. More than a year ago, Natalie wrote a great post summarizing how one should go about creating and maintaining a CV. I find myself doing a lot of the latter. I find it easier just to add information about a conference, a publication, or classes I’m teaching as soon as they happen rather than at the end of the semester.

This works well for me…until I need to update the CV that lives on my website. Since I write my CV in Word, the formatting doesn’t translate especially well to WordPress or the web in general. (Perhaps this wouldn’t be a problem if I used LaTeX for writing.) I’ve redesigned the layout and I’m generally pleased with the results. I’ve also included a link to a PDF to the “paper” version as well, for those who want the “real” thing. But the trouble is that I inevitably forget to update both the online version and the PDF. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the website could update itself in sync with the version in Word I’m always working on?

A few weeks ago, I had a sudden flash of insight for doing just this, and it involves one of the ProfHacker team’s favorite tools for syncing: Dropbox. Every Dropbox account has a Public folder, and Dropbox automatically generates a link for any file placed in the Public folder. All it took to suddenly make the most recent version my CV available to the world was to place my CV in Dropbox and substitute the link to the PDF with that to the publicly shared document. In about 30 seconds, I insured that anyone coming to my website could always get an up-to-date copy.

The CV section of my website

Of course, using Dropbox in this way doesn’t do anything to change the text that displays on the website itself, and I need to figure out a method to help me remember this second, critical step in the process of maintaining my CV. But at least I know that those who really need the most recent version—search committees, for example, #knockonwood—have it at their finger- / mouse-tips.

Have you found any helpful uses for Dropbox’s public folder? Let us know in the comments!

Lead image by Flickr user frans16611 East Side Gallery / Creative Commons licensed

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