How To Not Update Your Resume

A few months ago, i set on the task to update my resume, and it took longer than expected. At the time, my resume had been left untouched for a couple of years, the last time I updated it dating back to when I took my current job.

As with everything left untouched, I was not happy with the state of my resume. The introduction felt forced, the information was not clearly available, the layout felt strange. In one word, it aged. So I rolled up my sleeves, took my keyboard and opened the resume.tex file...

Wait, .tex you said ?

Yes, .tex! For those of you unfamiliar with this technology, here's an excerpt from the LaTeX wikipedia article: "LaTeX follows the design philosophy of separating presentation from content, so that authors can focus on the content of what they are writing without attending simultaneously to its visual appearance". Seems familiar? Well that's because LaTeX is part of a larger family of text formats, the markup languages, which also encompasses the now-omnipresent Markdown format.

When I created my resume though, I was not familiar with Markdown at all and my go to format was LaTeX, as I used it during my studies for papers, reports, etc. LaTeX is very powerful and results in documents that have a distinctive feel to them. It has however a major disadvantage compared to the more modern Markdown: it's very, very dense.

As you can imagine, going back to this after using Markdown for the past few years is quite daunting. So I decided not to, and started rewriting my resume in Markdown.

Down the rabbit hole

First thing, I went on googling resume templates in markdown, to get some inspiration. The first link was this website, describing how to maintain and export a resume from Markdown to pdf/html. I was not ready for that much inspiration! After some reading, clicking and experimenting with markdown and pandoc, I ended up on Christophe-Marie Duquesne's resume page on his personal website. And there's me thinking "what a neat idea, I should get a personal website of my own, and put my resume on it. I never got around to doing it until now, but this seems like the perfect opportunity."

First step, of course, was to buy a domain, and a machine of some sort linked to it. With little to no previous experience in this particular endeavour, I took a few hours to decide on a host, purchased, configured my hosted vm and opened my first ever ssh connection to my future website host.

Next up was to learn about Apache settings, configurations, options, and fiddle around for some time until a first hello, world appeared on my pristine white homepage.

Of course now I needed some content, a welcome page, as little css to write as possible, and a resume page. I chose to use bootstrap as it is, as one of my colleagues put it, "equally ugly everywhere", and it requires no css-writing skills. Then I photoshopped an icon for the site, created a background image and filled up a basic website template.

Then came setting up a git repository on my new vm, creating a fully automated deployment script that would connect to the remote vm, update the website repository, build the html from the markdown resume, patch files where needed and update the site.

Finally, I spent a few hours trying, to no avail, to generate a pdf file from a markdown resume that would be downloadable on the resume page. After failing to get a good result out of the process, I decided to let this go for now and to keep only the html version on the webpage. Then I put down the keyboard, looking back on a well-spent week-end.

Did I miss something?

This was a perfect example of jumping into a project without preparation. As with professional projects, this can be quite detrimental to the final results. However all outcome is not always bad, and too much preparation can lead to stalling the project, over-engineering and killing motivation.

I ended up with a perfectly good website. Did I learn? A lot! Had fun? Absolutely! Updated my resume?