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I want to place some links to projects I worked on in my CV. However some of these URLs are rather long. Is it good idea to shorten these URLs using on-line URL shorteners?

Is it common practice? Could CV full of URLs like "http://tinyurl.com/cqvga" potentially turn off potential employers?

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  • 1
    That particular shortened URL might turn off many potential employers. – Blrfl Apr 29 '12 at 13:07
  • @Blfrl OK, used actual tinyurl instead as an example :) – Matěj Zábský Apr 29 '12 at 13:17
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    Why would you want to? Why do you have URL's on your CV to begin with? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 29 '12 at 13:59
  • Printed or electronic? – Rarity Apr 29 '12 at 16:08
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    If you have your own domain name, you can provide your own personalised URL shortener there. If the page you want is example.net/blog/2012/04/05/this-post-has-a-long-title/ you could give the url example.net/tiny, and have a redirect. – TRiG May 14 '12 at 19:22
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No, I would not recommend shortened URLs in your CV.

Whether you're putting URLs to public profiles or to online projects on your CV, it's important to remember that people may or may not click on them at all -- and if it's a paper CV, people are unlikely to type them in -- at least on the first review of your materials.

However, what people may look for (and I know I do), is some indication of what those URLs are -- in this case, the domain name is a rhetorical device (it provides ethos). In other words, on first review of your materials I might not look at your LinkedIn or StackExchange profiles or GitHub repositories (for example), but knowing that you have a LinkedIn profile, you participate in the StackExchange community, and you contribute to or maintain open source repositories means something.

If you only use shortened URLs, I have no idea what is behind those shortened links, and thus the information that could be doing some good is doing no good at all.

Similarly, assume that I care enough to look at the information itself. If it's an online or electronic CV, I'll click the link; if it's a paper CV, I'll take the time to type the links. However, if you use shortened URLs, I have no idea where I'll be sent to. The cost-benefit analysis of typing a LinkedIn or SE URL and knowing where I'm going, versus a shorter link to somewhere unknown, just doesn't work out in the applicant's favor.

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    +1 If an applicant sent me a resume with shortened urls I would discard it immediately. If my barracuda ever stops one because I did not know what I was clicking then that is my failure to protect my company. And even worse if it misses one that we needed it to catch. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 30 '12 at 12:32
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Nobody, and I mean nobody will take the time to type in a URL that they see on a printed CV. So, from that perspective I say no because there's no point in putting the URLs there to begin with.

If you have an electronic CV, there's no point in shortening them because the user isn't going to type the URL in, either.

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    You just gave me a great idea – Goran Jovic Apr 29 '12 at 13:39
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Speaking as someone who deals with this periodically, here's my impression about how I deal with URLs in a resume:

  1. I get an electronic copy of the resume and click or copy/paste. This generally only happens if you are fairly far through our process, since by that point you would have interviewed with HR and gotten through a phone screen.
  2. If it is clear you own the site I'll sometimes go to the parent page and see what else you have to say. This I'll occasionally type in, but I won't type anything beyond "blog.example.com" or github.com/yourname.

At no point do I type a full path, and I would pretty much never bother to type in bit.ly/whatever. I might click on it, but then the shortened URL doesn't buy you anything.

So the question is, who is your target when you put a shortened URL on your resume? You are targeting the person who a) wants to see whatever it is you are linking to but b) doesn't have an electronic copy of the resume and c) doesn't care about the information that gets lost when a resume is shortened (e.g., am I looking at a professional blog?) d) is better at typing a shorter-but-random string than a longer-but-nonrandom-string.

That seems like a relatively low margin game. Maybe in your industry or area that might be worth it, but I have trouble thinking that it would be a good idea in the general case.

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To add a minor point to all of the excellent cautions above: there is no guarantee that a shortened URL is persistent. TinyURL and bit.ly seem to be doing fine right now, but I still remember my surprise when Tr.im shut down in 2009.

  • While this is a valid consideration for long-term documents, I'm not sure I'd consider a CV delivered to a company, particularly in response to a specific open position, "long term" by any means. – a CVn May 2 '12 at 8:49
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    @MichaelKjörling True, but in situations when resumes sit in job bank databases and are not updated, or recruiters get hold of electronic copies with old data, it is relevant (I've gotten plenty of resumes with outdated data, including dead URLs). – jcmeloni May 2 '12 at 10:35
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    @jcmeloni, In the age of recruiters spamming and cold-calling anyone they find on Dice.com, long after a resume has been removed from there, some might consider this a feature, not a bug. – Stephan Branczyk Jan 31 '14 at 12:29
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The shortened URLs don't look professional and most people like me don't trust shortened URLs, although tinyurl provides a preview, but I don't think anyone would do extra work for it.
Another drawback of using shortned URL is they are case sensitive in some of the site such as bit.ly and tinyurl, and people normally use lowercase while typing the url, ignoring the actual case, so it's another reason to use long URLs.
Another point of view may be (not sure if its true everywhere or not) but once an interviewer told me that they treat shortened URLs like internet memes and shorthands (like using 'U' instead of 'you').
If your project URls are too long, you can have a blog explaining your projects and can put the blog link in your CV. Another way would be to buy a good domain name and put a redirect in it. It might impress your interviewer too.

0

It might make a good impression if one is able to describe ones work in words (the fewer the better, as HR people don't have time anyway).

On the other hand, it might be of good service to the reader to include a single link to a webpage, e.g. johndoe.com/projects, where one can check out all the details.

If the CV is a .pdf, I would always use the URL as the link text, e.g. johndoe.com/projects and not "john's projects". This ensures that the link is valuable when the document is printed out.

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