A Timeline Must Be Valuable

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As I work on the sequel to A Bridge to the Quiet Planet, keeping up my schedule is challenging. You’ve probably read enough of my blog analysis on this, and you’re probably gonna keep hearing about it. My latest insight is that we misuse timelines by having them for the wrong reasons.

What’s the value of a timeline?

This question can be shocking. We’re often taught to regard them as valuable, almost sacred. Timelines are important, right? We should all get as much done as possible, right?

Too often, sticking to a Timeline is regarded as a virtue. The Timeline we’ve set (doubtlessly under different circumstances) is regarded as sacrosanct. To challenge it is unacceptable in many people’s minds. In short, we make following the Timeline something we must do over anything else.

And that’s wrong because a Timeline is just a tool. A Timeline is something we should use because it brings value. A Timeline isn’t sacred, and more than the Ivy Lee method or flowcharts or whatever.

You use a Timeline and create one because there’s value in it. If there’s no value then don’t create one.

For instance, with myself I found my novel was best approached with a sort-of Timeline as it kept me focused. Other things like blogging work on tight Timelines. Some of my coding practice is better handled with vague goals. In some ways I juggle multiple kinds of Timelines, and allowing myself to do that is comforting.

But Timeline for Timeline’s sake? Why?

Timeline? Good, I’m all for them – when they’re useful.

Steven Savage

50 Shades Of Resume #38: The Personal Timeline

Resume 38

Maria Rybak’s resume is a timeline – something we’ve seen before, but she approaches it in an almost stark approach that’s minimal except for text, while still incorporating good visual touches and standard resume elements.  It’s an approach that’s both creative and measured, which is a difficult balancing act.

It’s also a resume that presents a lot the more you look at it.  So let’s see just what we can learn from it.

  • The angled look is different, very artistic, and adds a bit of visual richness – which I think it needs otherwise its measured sense may get a bit too dull.
  • She uses a distinct, limited color palate throughout the resume.  That unifies it visually and keeps the feeling of “precision” at the same time.
  • The resume is actually divided – by her name.  The top is the timeline, the bottom is skills and related information.  That’s a clever division, and we’ve seen similar things done before.  In this case it makes sure the parts of the resume stay distinct.
  • The timeline itself is nicely done, not overdone, but rather precise.  It also acts as a visual separator for the bottom of the resume and her picture and information at the top.  It reflects her chosen palette.
  • In addition, you’ll notice the resume is education on the bottom and practice on the top.  That’s a great, effective division – this really shows job history and education at the same time, and tells you a lot.
  • The photo, as always, is a nice personal touch – and here I think it’s needed to keep this from being to impersonal.
  • The resume works to communicate.  It’s another resume that is really trying to tell you about the person.

A few things I’d change:

  • Some of the font size seems a bit too small.  A few less words an a bit larger fonts would help – though I wouldn’t diminish too much of the white space – in this case the white space works.
  • The level of detail on some timeline elements is a bit larger.  A little tightening may make it flow better.

I think in this resume we actually see a change from the norm that doesn’t overdo itself, and meets very specific goals.

Steve’s Summary: This is the kind of “experimental” resume I like to get – does the job while doing it differently.  Also it tells me she’s quite talented.

[“50 Shades of Resume” is an analysis of various interesting resumes to celebrate the launch of the second edition of my book “Fan To Pro” and to give our readers inspiration for their own unique creations.]

– Steven Savage