I am on the process to updating my Curriculum Vitae, which I have “compiled” using different software. Now I would like to try Scrivener for this. Do you have any advise?
Thank you

Make it short! :smiling_imp:

Honestly? I’d say a dedicated word processing and page layout program (like MS Word) is far better suited to this kind of activity.

Pages has some clean templates…

I’m with Pigfender and Briar Kit on this. I love Scrivener, but you are probably better served in using a dedicated page layout program (like Apple’s Pages or Microsoft’s dreaded Word) for this.

I’ve used Scrivener for preparing and tracking job applications and it works brilliantly, but my CVs were done in Pages.

Scrivener would be a pretty good place to put your job history, and PDFs of various versions of your CV (I’ve seen how effective it is to emphasize the skills & experience most relevant to each position you apply for). You could even have variations on how you describe each of your previous positions, education, and other skills, so that you can assemble them to best highlight your suitability for any given position. By keeping each component of your CV in its own document, you can assemble them with collections, then copy & paste into Word/Pages to format & edit.

Replaced below.


  1. I work in a “high tech” field.
  2. I work for a Fortune 200 company
  3. I hate staff turn over.
  4. I hire 2-3 people per year, some for other groups that I don’t manage.

I use a three dimensional points system. The points are awarded on documentation (formatting and communication effectiveness), technical skill demonstration (relevant history with project examples), and business experience (do they get how IT in big corporations work). Each request for hire gets assigned minimum, “sweet spot” and “overachiever” values (yes, there are times when you DON’T want an expert, but a junior that you can corrupt into the worker you need).

A CV/resume that is actually requires reading more than a page gets negative points for communication effectiveness. One that has me searching for information get negatives for documentation. One that has me commenting on a font gets negatives on business and documentation. Any non-standard format get’s negatives on business and documentation. If it has color: + for making info easier to find, - for “glamour” or attention grabbing.

The one time I will give you a thought is when that paper hits my desk. Don’t try to impress me. Show me that you understand how to professionally document/communicate, you understand my business, and have the skills I need. The most important one is PROFESSIONALLY document and communicate the other two. That is what the CV/resume actually does.

The one thing that I think is most often missed in “professional” communication is the idea of “know your audience”. Knowing your audience will tell you how to get me to notice your CV/resume/email/powerpoint/etc since you will understand what I need/want to see. Since you know what I need/want, you do it that way and I go “dang, this one is for me”.

What’s my point?

My CV/resume is in scrivener. each section gets a folder. Each item in a section gets a folder (with text). If there are sub-items (projects completed) they are text file in the folder of the item. When building a resume for a submission I compile selecting only the folders/items/sub-items that are pertinent. the compiled output goes to Pages for formating. From there it goes to PDF. PDF goes back to scrivener.

Which is basically me disagreeing with everyone else. Scrivener is great for managing the info and creating the draft. Yes you need to format in an external app. You only need to update experience in one place though.

Not sure any of that helps.

I agree.

For various reasons, during the course of my career, I’ve probably read tens of thousands of c.v.'s on behalf of prospective employers, or as one. It should be the case that you read each one with equal care whatever its length. But human nature being what it is, you don’t. And your heart sinks if you’re faced with anything lengthy; in fact it actually becomes harder to judge the applicant in any meaningful way, and you tend not to.

Of course, if as an applicant you apply to prospective employers who have HR departments to do the early cull, you may be fortunate. But even then the same rules apply: a short pithy document which hints that there’s more to be learnt if the applicant is interviewed, has better chances. A c.v. is a sales document to tempt the ‘buyer’ to take you to the next stage, not a detailed life-story. A short document is easier for you to check before you despatch it, too.

Consequently, unless an employer specifically asks for a long version, or the culture of your industry calls for it, my strong advice to any applicant is to keep it short - I generally recommend a maximum of two ‘sides’*. A prospective employer can always ask for more, if he or she is sufficiently interested.

Yet brevity (and formatting and layout, also parts of the c.v.-preparation task) isn’t really what Scrivener is primarily about. It is what MS Word and Apple’s Pages do pretty well.

*Don’t think, however, that writing briefly means that less time and effort in preparation is required; it may require more.

Good, you’re hired. :slight_smile:


Thank you all for the answers!
There are two ways to look at the subject:

  1. a CV is an extension of a business card: so it should be short (two pages max) and professional. And this is the out-form.
  2. the in-form: how do you keep your records, especially if you are a scholar and give lectures, classes, and write papers? My CV (and I am a modest scholar…) is around ten pages long.
    For the out-form I agree that Pages (or Word) are suitable. But for the in-form I have gathered from your answers that Scrivener could be a good tool in assembling information on what you do, possible dividing this info in small pieces (that you can organize for compiling).
    Does this summarize your suggestions?
    Thank you very much!


Yes, spot on.

You’re hired, too. :slight_smile:

OK, I’ve changed my mind. Use Scrivener and Pages.

Nice summary.
Note also, however, that different fields have different expectations regarding appropriate CV length. My business colleagues would never submit a CV longer than two pages (and some swear it has to be kept to one) but my academic colleagues sweat at the idea of anything less than 3 (but will generally agree that more than 4 is asking for trouble). Which leads nicely back to Jaysen’s point of “know your audience”. Unfortunately, this also means that I’ve agreed with him at least twice this year and that means I have exceeded my quota: I will need to stop reading his posts this year in case it happens again.

Academia is, to my knowledge, the only exception to the two page rule.

If you cannot keep your cv to 2 pages it simply tells employers that you have no idea how to edit. Trust me, no-one on this planet has done more things that are relevant to a single job application than can be neatly fitted onto 2 pages. The old standby… “I have worked on over 50 transactions over the past 5 years. The following represent typical examples:” works wonders and impresses recruiters that you understand what is important to them.

But, good news (since you are in academia): If you are in academia, completeness is a virtue. I understand you would be expected to list all publications, for example.

Another one bites the dust!

You do realize that your reputation is now completely shot? Irreparably damaged? Shredded like a roll of TP recently visited by a cat?

If I read your post I’d disagree and my reputation would be saved.