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I have recently been updating my academic CV. I realise that some items are not as internationally recognised as to that every reader will be aware of their importance without googling them. Hence, I am thinking about inserting hyperlinks to those items lest the reader wish to learn more.

Now, many items on my CV are clickable, and a reader particularly interested in one item may now just click on it to see a webpage with more details to pop up.

However, I rarely see a CV with many hyperlinks behind those words/phrases. Is this a taboo, or I am OK to do so?

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Hyperlinks become obsolete over time and are not likely to be sustainable in a fixed, permanent or semi-permanent document. –  Paul May 26 at 2:14
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@Paul I don't know about the OP, but my CV is not at all "permanent." I update it every couple of months at least. And the links in it (to research group website, download links for publications, websites for awards and honors) are not the type to disappear quickly anyways. –  ff524 May 26 at 4:03
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Every time somebody clicks a link in your CV, it breaks the flow of their reading. Do you really want to encourage that? I would explain unfamiliar terms in the text of the CV itself. (A short phrase or spelling out an acronym is probably enough.) And then I only use clickable hyperlinks for text that clearly has link-potential (URLs, email addresses, DOI ref #s), not arbitrary phrases in the text. –  alexwlchan May 26 at 7:54
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@alexwlchan: I would argue that selecting and copying the text from the original CV, then pasting it into a search engine and trying to find some document matching that text breaks the flow of reading much more than a quick right-click-open-in-new-background-tab while reading the document. –  O. R. Mapper May 26 at 11:12

5 Answers 5

I agree: most academic CVs do not have a festival of hyperlinks. I don't see a problem with it, unless -- as @Taladris says -- the large amount of hyperlinking creates clutter in the document. For something like a CV, where the spacing on the page is highly adjustable, I would think that you could probably have even a highly hyperlinked CV and take a little care to make sure that it does not look too busy to the eye.

I can tell you though why I don't feel the need to hyperlink my CV (and I imagine the reason holds more generally). It's simple: I also have a webpage, and anything which appears on my CV which could get linked to also appears on my webpage. Further, the translation between the two is straightforward: I have a section of my CV listing papers, and I also have an immediately visible link to a subpage containing papers from my main webpage (which, as you can see, is no frills to say the least, but it seems to get the job done).

Although I am certainly no expert on the visual display of information, webpage design (you'll know that immediately if you clicked on the above link) or anything like that, it is my opinion that a webpage is a more natural medium to have clickable content than a CV.

I think every young academic should have a professional webpage. If they do have one, I'm not sure that a heavily hyperlinked CV is necessary, although again I see no harm in it.

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This answer seems to contrast a webpage with a CV, whereas I cannot find any hint in the question that the OP's academic CV is not a webpage in itself. –  O. R. Mapper May 26 at 11:13
    
Thanks for the answer! I do have a professional webpage, but I am uncertain whether the admission committee would even bother to click it open or not. Hence, I feel incorporating the hyperlinks directly into CV may be a better idea. What do you think, please? –  Farticle Pilter May 26 at 14:21
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@Farticle: Yes, in my experience admissions committees will be interested in the student's webpage. I'm sorry to say that some admissions processes are so old-fashioned that all the materials are printed out and reviewed in non-electronic form...but this seems to be an argument for putting the address of your webpage on your CV, because then someone on the committee can use their own technology to explore your webpage. –  Pete L. Clark May 26 at 17:50

As long as it does not reduce readability, I don't see any reason for not including hyperlinks.

Readability is of course about format. As a personal preference, I would not like to read a document where all words are in blue and underlined, or equation numbers in a red square. So you have to find a way to make the links discreet (but still easily noticeable by the reader).

Readability is also, and mainly, about the content. Be sure your content is still clear when your CV is printed (or in case links are broken). Also, try to keep links meaningful. In particular, keep all your links high-quality: if links to your publications or to the diploma system of your home country will help for your evaluation, you would ruin all your effect if these links are "drowned" in a sea of meaningless links.

Did you consider about tool-tips instead of some links? It will still provide some information, but with the drawback of having to load a new page.

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General advise would be, yes, include links but do not rely on them for key information. You do not necessarily know if the recipients read the electronic version or a printout. If it is a printout, it is very unlikely that people will key in URLs to look up information, unless they are interested. In for, example a job application, your application may be one of a large number and there may not be time to spend on looking up information that should have been included directly in the first place. Remember it is you responsibility to yourself to provide everything the reader of the CV may want, not the other way around.

So although, there is no problem with including links, think twice about what information you link to and what you actually put in your CV.

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Thanks for the advice! Currently, what I have linked in my CV are mostly descriptions of some of the awards. After reading the award details, the committee may have a better understanding of how important/trivial that award is. Another type of hyperlink, for example, is a media cover on an award ceremony by my university. I feel it good if the committee can see the coverage, but feel not necessary to mention it explicitly in CV. –  Farticle Pilter May 26 at 14:26

Another option is to keep most (if not all) hyper-links the same font and colour as the rest of the text. Most PDF readers change the cursor icon when hovering over a hyperlink, so if the reader expects something to be a hyper-link (such as an email address or DOI), they should easily discover that it is indeed a link.

It will not be so obvious that some less crucial links exist, but for the eagle-eyed viewer they are there. For those who are just quickly scanning the document, the links won't introduce distracting clutter.

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I think dark blue is a better choice. At the same time you hint it is a link (I hate guessing game / point & click adventure for documents) while not disturbing the reader not interested in clicking. See e.g. my CV. –  Piotr Migdal May 26 at 14:15
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@PiotrMigdal Subtle colours are a given ;). In your CV, you could reduce the amount of colour by linking either the arXiv ID, or (preferably) the journal name and issue to the journal website. Although the links may be useful, IMO the disordered addition of colour clutters the page and many of the links don't need to be so long. I admit, I'm being pedantic! –  Moriarty May 26 at 14:27
    
I agree with this advice. This is how I do it for my CV, too. –  Sverre May 26 at 18:06
    
@Sverre That is a beautiful CV! What font is that - is it a TeX font? –  Moriarty May 26 at 19:08
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Glad to hear the effort I put into making it look nice (to me, at least) has not been in vain! The font is Linux Libertine. I have in this specific case used the LaTeX font package libertine, but the font is the same. –  Sverre May 26 at 19:22

I would advise against including any hyperlinks in your CV. There is very good chance that your CV will be printed out for consideration and it is at this point that you need to have your CV shine so you should design your CV to be read on paper rather than on screen. Hyperlinks, by necessity, will want to be formatted differently from the surrounding text but this will look odd in a printout where the links are non-functional and add no benefit.

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I agree that coloured links look bad when printed, but do hiring committees still commonly print CVs? The jack-of-all-trades solution is to keep the colour and formatting the same, but leave the hyperlinks in - as in my answer. –  Moriarty May 27 at 11:11
    
But if your hyperlinks look the same, will they be noticed? And if they're not going to be noticed how will they get clicked? And if they're not clicked, why include them? –  Jack Aidley May 27 at 12:06
    
@Moriarty: I can offer only anecdotal evidence, but every time I've seen one of the academics going through CVs they've been going through piles of printouts. –  Jack Aidley May 27 at 12:07
    
Fair enough, that's more evidence than I have - all the more incentive to not colour your links. If I see something that should be a hyperlink, like an e-mail address or DOI, I'll hover my mouse over it to check. Knowing that the links are invisible, I can keep an eye out as I read. If you're set on not having visible hyperlinks, it's better to keep them invisible rather than eliminating them. –  Moriarty May 27 at 13:24

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