Resuming résuméing

2016 October 7

When I was applying to grad programs in early 2013 I used Microsoft Word to create my CV, which has lain dormant in my /home directory and Dropbox since then. Now that I’m transitioning to the workforce I am in need of a résumé, so I dusted off the old .docx and started bringing it up to date.

I am quite fond of the layout: a main axis set in a bit from the left, a body column to its right, and a multipurpose context column on its left. I think it’s slick and well-proportioned, even though in all likelihood it violates several Cardinal Sins of Résumé Building or whatever.

All this setup really comes down to is some choice tab stops, a breeze to setup and reconfigure. Word is great for tab magic. At the same time, maintaining a résumé is one of the only reasons I use Word at all. I hadn’t even installed Office on my 2¾-year-old Windows laptop until a few months ago, when I went back to those CV .docxs and found WordPad to be prohibitively tab-challenged. Plus, if I’m going to spend time (re)designing, editing, etc., I’d like to learn something from it (or at least brush up on skills rustier than my Word-fu).

So, I’ve been looking out for a replacement. I considered LaTeX, and there certainly are several pretty-OK templates out there. In the end, none of them really stuck with me, especially since I already had a design I was pleased with, and the amount of time and effort it would have taken me to rework a LaTeX template to my satisfaction seemed like more of an investment than I was looking for.

Eventually it dawned on me to use HTML and CSS. I hadn’t used CSS for print media before, so this was a convenient opportunity to give it a go. I knew that I could write rules to recreate my existing tabby layout, and that I could loosely translate the spacing and font specs from Word right into (S)CSS.

Given the layout isn’t all that complicated, there were too many ways to set things up, and I still need to go back over the stylesheet and clean up vestigial/commented-out bits left over from testing different strategies. What is in place now likely isn’t the neatest way to do things; one of my primary goals is to be able use the same HTML on this site with minimal additions to the CSS, so I was biased against going full absolute-unit and used more flexboxing than necessary. Also I have some more plans down the road (e.g. per-application customization scripts). We’ll see what happens, I’m still learning.

You can check out my lil rés-repo on GitHub.