CV vs. README

Donald Raab
3 min readOct 21, 2023

Rejecting single page corporate distillation of the human experience.

Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

Summary vs. Index

I’ve become indifferent on the importance of Curriculum Vitae. My CV tells you where I claim to have worked, for how long, corporate titles I have amassed, where I went to school, and skills I claim to have some proficiency in. My CV does not tell you who I am and how I think about things and how I approach problem solving and how I collaborate with and build teams.

My CV is summarized data about me. It is not information. It is a shiny brochure that maybe helps a future employer decide if they want to spend 15–30 minutes of their valuable time talking to me. I dread 15–30 minute interviews. But I digress. Which I often do. I think about a lot of stuff. Right. CVs? Yuck.

I am much more than a single page of my summarized accomplishments. I keep an index of links to interesting content I have produced and initiatives I am currently, or have been previously involved in. I share things I think may be helpful for others to learn. This may be links to blogs, articles, slide decks, videos, open source projects I contribute to. I keep these links updated in a README on GitHub.

I’d rather spend an hour or two talking to a potential future employer or client based on the actual content I have produced that they found interesting. Nothing really interesting about a person’s life experience can be discussed in 15–30 minutes. I can tell you where I worked, and for how long, and how I contributed the key recipe for success to every single project and team I ever worked on in about 5–10 minutes. I could summarize this for you in my CV, but if that is all you are interested in, then I probably wouldn’t find you interesting enough to work with anyway. I can save both of us 15–30 minutes and wait to connect with someone who is looking to collaborate on making a positive impact on the world.

My index is out there, waiting for folks to discover. I shouldn’t need to send a CV to get someones attention and interest. I appreciate a CV still may be required for HR records and background checks. This is CV used as a footnote, not a filter.

I haven’t updated my CV since 2016, which is the last time I changed employers. I updated my README this week. I update my README every time I do something new and interesting.

I believe every software developer, just like every software project we work on, should have a README that we keep up to date.

My two cents.

I am the creator of and committer for the Eclipse Collections OSS project, which is managed at the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse Collections is open for contributions.

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Donald Raab

Java Champion. Creator of the Eclipse Collections OSS Java library (http://www.eclipse.org/collections/). Inspired by Smalltalk. Opinions are my own.