Show HN: CakeResume – Drag and drop resume snippets to build a unique resume 195 points by trantor on Dec 7, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 120 comments

 > MS Word is the only game in town, like it or not.That's stretching it. Most companies are totally fine with PDF these days, not in the least because it is WYSIWYG for screen and print and just works. Looks a lot more professional too; especially if you are looking for a job in IT.When recruiters or temp agencies ask for Word documents, they want this because then they can strip out all your personal data and pass the documents on to the companies (their customers) looking for employees. With PDF they need to do more work.
 > they want this because then they can strip out all your personal dataThis is correct. Agency employees are taught to remove contact info, apply their own header, and trim the length (5 page maximum) before sending to clients.
 I've seen recruiters pass along résumés in plain text format. Now it makes sense -- copy/paste from PDF.
 Not just personal data, some recruiters even add skill sets to the resume without checking with the candidate
 Well that problem might go away as the latest versions of Word open PDF files for editing by converting them to an editable World file, works pretty well the few times I have used it.
 Sometimes PDFs store actual character data (like vector graphics), and sometimes they store static images. Last I checked (admittedly a few years ago), Word conversion only works on the former. It didn't do OCR or anything so dramatic.If only some PDFs will work for them, they wouldn't accept them at all.
 Can it handle the fancy ligatures[0] that LaTeX creates?
 Yeah, I tend to agree. I write my CV in LaTeX. This way I can easily add or remove things, I can source control the .tex files, and I can also produce a PDF file.
 Also pdf can contain clear text. No need for ocr...
 That's interesting. 100% of the resumes I have sent have been PDF. I haven't even read a request for a Word document anywhere. Which country/domain are you talking about (for me it's tech jobs and academics in Germany). I have stopped applying to anyone who asks for a real world document so maybe that's a niche I'm missing?
 Honestly that's strange to me that you outright refuse. Feel like you have missed out on potentially good positions? Sorry not trying to be snarky, just curious (I personally have never applied to a place that didn't request a PDF or only requested word docs here in the US for tech jobs)
 This is sort of thing that makes a good litmus test.Places I'd actually want to work are far morely likely to accept or even require PDF.
 * I do feel that pdfs are far more professional
 I don't give recruiters a word-formatted CV. Too many times I've had my CV edited from what I gave them before forwarding it on. It got to the point where I had to start asking companies I interviewed at for a copy of what the recruitment agencies had sent to them.
 Wrong strategy, they will OCR any doc type you send them, even paper.Better to just have an explicit conversation with the recruiter agreeing to your ethical/personal boundaries. Based on their response you'll probably get a good clue whether or not they respect that.There are ethical recruiters but as with any group of people you have to sort out the good ones.
 What would they edit onto your CV?
 When much younger and a much more naive about recruiting practices, this happened to me. I went to an interview, the interviewer started asking me a bunch of Novell server question, and I got confused saying I didn't really know that. They indicated it was on my resume, I asked to see it, pointed out that it wasn't my resume (and showed a bunch of subtle formatting changes) and the interview was quickly over. I angrily called the recruiter on my way out and that was my last dealing with them.(TEKsystems in Southfield, MI, for what it's worth. But this was also 1999-ish.)I've since found out that it's a pretty common practice and usually the candidates play along just to get the job.
 There have been stories of recruiters adding in stuff you never worked on before as well.For example, I've had recruiters add in stuff like "2 yrs exp in PHP" when the closest I had gotten to PHP then was editing Wordpress to make it work like it should.
 Sounds like 2 years of experience to me...
 Sometimes it was just adding a cover page - that's fine.Other time they'd edit my contact info out, change wording, stuff like that. I'm not happy with edits being made without my approval, so I stopped giving them an editable format.I never saw anything super egregious like lying about skills - but that's not to say it never happened.
 When this has happened to me they'll stick their logo and contact details on the top
 Having worked on a job application and onboarding web application, I can tell you that our customers prefer PDF or image renderings of the documents over word. Even imperfect word -> pdf conversions are tolerated to some extent if it means not having to open word.And our customers are mostly entrenched industrial suppliers and government-owned private entities with byzantine processes, not some tech startups.In my experience they love to use Office internally, but not for external documents.
 I use that situation as a personal litmus test. If I get no response back or "I can't open this I need Word!!!!1!" I already know I don't want to work there. Why do tech at a techphobic company?
 Strange. When I talk to recruiters, usually I just link my LinkedIn, and when they ask for a separate CV file, they're usually quite happy with PDF. I never heard them asking for Word format.
 That's a recent development. Recruiters are finding out that you can use Office 2016 to edit PDF, too.
 I can understand wanting to download an editable version of the document, but in my experience no company has ever specifically asked me for a word document, I've always sent PDFs. Microsoft was the only company that communicated via word docs (which looked like absolute garbage, by the way, since they expect you to have purchased the latest and greatest office suite complete with all of its useless features), and I still sent them a PDF resume and it turned out just fine.I feel once editing is done, PDFs are much more professional because they open without any virus warnings, update notifications, or "this document is in read-only mode" banners.That said, yes, when editing is NOT done a PDF is almost impossible to deal with.
 I'm really surprised at this comment - I can't recall the last time I had my CV in Word format. At least over 5 or so years ago. And even then, I think it was voluntarily on my part: I don't think anyone's ever requested Word format from me.Have you carried out any research/surveys for Resume Fodder to find out what percentage of people are encountering this?Edit: I'm in Ireland, so maybe this is a US thing, but I've always thought we were a bit behind here in terms of trends of software usage.
 I started building a Django front end for managing a JSON resume, with versioning and cut and paste. It was more for me, so I could stop fiddling with so many old copies of my CV. So I'll take a look at your project.As for output formats, I was planning to integrate HackMyResume (http://please.hackmyresume.com/). Then using the library of existing templates would have been possible. The graphic design quality of some of those templates isn't what I'd want though... I had ideas about enabling HTML templates to support interactivity in some fashion.But HackMyResume is Node based... and Node is annoying as I found out. I see you are using Go, so no idea what it might take to integrate Node or reuse the logic. Why can't you use the JSONresume templates available?Then I decided to stop being a developer :) Life is ... different now. I'd recommend it if one is so inclined.
 What do you do now if you don't mine me asking? I have only been a dev for 3 years now so its a little early for me to consider changing my occupation (if anything I would be likely to get a phd and/or consider teaching/research) but I'm always interested to see what people choose when they make a major life change.
 I took a year off, tried to work on my writing... Way too many ideas there and there is still some writer's block thing going on. I have tried to transition into this other interest a few times, but having to pay rent is always a blocking factor. Writing code all these years has worn some groove in my mind, I fear. One good screenplay though... If Universal Basic Income existed, I'd definitely be in the arts in some capacity. Theatre, etc. I'm completely useless for anything else other than IT or creative stuff - sales, management, MBA, etc.I was thrashing about, so I decided to go to grad school to get an official certificate aka MSc in machine learning. The statistics part is surprisingly interesting, it's technical so I'll make some money, but it's not the grind of development. I would not take a data engineering position, for example. My last job involved some work in this area and it was a breath of fresh air re: my desire to deal with computers. I wish I'd looked into it earlier. My engineering/dev background + this will hopefully make HR/recruiters think I'm a unicorn. A highly paid unicorn.I have this book, you'd probably enjoy it:
 When I receive a resume in PDF instead of Word, I count it as a plus for the candidate.
 > so I wrote Resume Fodder (https://resumefodder.com) as an open source alternative.But JSON Resume is entirely open source already: https://github.com/jsonresumeWhy not simple add a Word output to the existing project? You also created a new schema, which is almost the same, but not quite.I don't understand the purpose of re-inventing the wheel here. The other project has dozens of contributors, I'm going to assume it stays up to date more.--- Edit: I see your product does actually integrate with theirs. Still seems like it could have all been one product, though. I don't understand what you mean by "an open source alternative."
 I agree with what you say. These days I see a lot of projects which could've simply benefited both themselves and others by contributing code to the original project which they re-implemented.
 I tried (wasted my time?) putting my rich resume in JSON Resume, and it didn't work for me. The development of the project is way too slow for its simplicity.For example, you can't add projects to a job; you can't assign skills to a project or a job. For people who did consulting, this is a must, but not available. There are many other issues, but those are, for me at least, the road blocks.
 > Maybe (?) that works for the super-elite echelon who don't really have to "job hunt", and who maintain a resume only as a formality. But for the other 95%+ of plebs who have to actively apply or work with recruiters... MS Word is the only game in town, like it or not.On my last job hunt, nearly every employer and job board accepted resumes in PDF.For the most part, the only people who wanted Word were recruiters, and I'm done doing business with them. Every single job I've ever gotten has been the result of me directly applying, and all recruiters have ever done is waste my time and spam me.
 I use a mix of a semi up-to-date LaTeX CV and Github/Linkedin profile. Though I haven't switched full-time jobs in about 10 years, it's served reasonably well for securing some side work (mostly academic, but some other consulting and contracting as well).I agree that this is still kind of an open problem, but unlikely to be a business opportunity in the making.
 Shameless self plug:I wrote https://github.com/awalGarg/cv-maker/ which generates the resume in markdown. From there, you can convert it with pandoc to basically whatever you want. It is not much polished yet, though.
 Poppycock... I've not converted my resume to word format in twenty years, the last time someone asked for it. Not to mention the resume should be in a read-only format, "secure" from recruiter modification.
 PDF is far and away the #1 format for resumes. #2 isn't MS Word—it's plain text. The rise of HR and applicant systems mean employers are looking for machine-readable experience and education.
 Thanks that's awesome.I love json resume but last time I couldn't even find a good way to generate pdf's just html, much less doc.standard template doesn't seem to be working.
 HackMyResume does Word, PDF, ....http://please.hackmyresume.com/But it is a Node app.
 I think that's what I used, if I remember correctly, the pdf looked bad, and trying to capture the webpage as pdf did not improve things.
 Great point! I'll keep in mind. Thank you.
 Personally I've gone all-in on the Stack Overflow CV / Developer Story (mine, for example [1]). I'm exploring building the missing tooling to update everything else (LinkedIn, AngelList) from SO as the single source of truth.Developer Story does have a PDF export but it's very limited to including everything which is a bit heavy, and no UI customization right now.I'd be more likely to explore a tool like CakeResume if they imported from an SO CV i.e., if the cost of adoption was reduced. I think this reflects the typical developer opinion on most resume generators.I'm not saying SO has to be the standard, it could be a JSON schema with even more features, but we really need some standard.
 I'm a huge fan of the "single source of truth" approach. The actual content (achievements, skills, education, past projects) should be "data" and we should be able to generate the snazzy timelines, pretty resumes (the views) with single clicks.That's the approach i'm taking with JobRudder [1]. You enter your "data" and we generate resumes, achievement reports, timelines etc. We're looking into updating LinkedIn, posting to twitter (for those who like that) and other integrations.I'm happy more folks are thinking this way.
 I might be interested in this, but your website doesn't give me anywhere even close to enough information to know what your product gives me. All I see is one low-res screenshot and some sales lines that are reference what I can do, not how it works. Most people in your target demo aren't going to commit to signing up for something unless they know how much time they have to invest and what they will get for that amount of time.
 That's fair. Thank you for the feedback and possible interest.I've tried many varying levels of information (just a few weeks ago we had multiple large screenshots and more text) and the feedback is always a bit mixed (between those who think it's cluttered/dense and those who want more). It's not right yet, but we're working on it. Maybe we'll switch to a video.In the meantime, feel free to try it out (30 days free). No pressure.EDIT: One other thing. What do you think would make it easier to get value immediately? Starting with a resume you have now? LinkedIn?Thanks again.
 You're absolutely welcome. I don't think I'd be more likely to watch a video, but having that option is likely to appeal to many people.
 Your company is interesting. I probably won't try it personally because I'm self-employed working as an independent contractor, so most of the benefits don't really apply. Admittedly, I'm in the minority in this case though.
 Thank you.I wish JobRudder could help your use case. I don't know enough about getting ahead (what it takes to get more contracts, higher fees etc) as an independent contractor, but i'm very much willing to learn if you'd like to talk about it.Thanks again.
 Somewhat unintuitively (to me before starting at least), finding contract work wasn't a challenge I've experienced yet. Even without promotion, I get more requests for work than one person can commit to while offering dev services at market rate.The challenges I've experienced relate more to the business and administrative functions and in general optimizing the amount of time spent on non-billable things. One analogous challenge a contractor faces is figuring out how to make the jump from software contracting into technical consulting.
 > Even without promotion, I get more requests for work than one person can commit to while offering dev services at market rate.That's wonderful situation to be in :)> The challenges I've experienced relate more to the business and administrative functions and in general optimizing the amount of time spent on non-billable things.This is a tough one and it's something i struggle with too. I take it you already have the usual suite of apps to help (xero/freshbooks, timely/toggl, hellosign etc).> One analogous challenge a contractor faces is figuring out how to make the jump from software contracting into technical consulting.Also tough, but more familiar. This jump always feels like a matter of specialization to me. It usually means leaving the variety of being a generalist behind. Luckily there are many ways to specialize: Functional. Technical. Process Engineering. You can even combine these specialties.The less technical specialties require more nuanced proof of your abilities. It's definitely a good idea to keep notes of applicable project, moments, achievements.I was a consultant for 7+ years (taxes + tech), although not an independent one, and i'll say this: it takes even more non-billable time to do it right.Do you have special skill set?
 1 - Thanks!2 - Exactly what you said.3 - Not necessarily. I've done a ton of work with Python and a good amount using Python for APIs and web apps. I'm doubling down on that currently, but that's probably too general to be considered a speciality. It's definitely something I'm trying to feel out.
 > It's definitely something I'm trying to feel out.Good on you. Knowing where where you want to go is a large part of the battle.
 I agree. It's a pain maintaining the same data everywhere.Developer Story is a really good product but I haven't yet taken the time to create mine. I should go do it now.
 When I click "Try Now", I get a modal to signup. Is there something specific about this tool that requires signing-up first? Why can't we access it as is? (I understand some reasons, but I feel they don't apply when you are doing a "Show HN" of the beta version).Otherwise looks nice, atleast in the images.
 It doesn't even work, so don't sweat it :DGetting a "Username is too short (minimum is 2 characters)" after signing up with Twitter.
 Thank you for the comment! Since I'd like to build a platform instead of just a tool. I want to build a platform for people to share their passions. Resume tool is just the begin.
 You want a platform, as a user I primarily want a tool, not a platform.Maybe you got something useful to offer, but you need to demonstrate value first before hassling me with that.In our job application frontend we don't even require logins or passwords. Only after you have finished your application and confirmed the privacy agreement we send an email with a confirmation link, only then you can add a password to follow the progress of the application, but even that is optional.
 > In our job application frontend we don't even require logins or passwords. Only after you have finished your application and confirmed the privacy agreement we send an email with a confirmation link, only then you can add a password to follow the progress of the application, but even that is optional.I noticed smartrecruiters.com follow this format and it was such a pleasant experience using it.
 You probably should be more subtle with the sign up. Get people interested and then soft sell the login. That's how I would do it. With people you have to be subtle. And have to give a lot of value up front before they are willing to let you into their e-mail and wallet.
 I agree, let them make resume first, then ask them to sign up if they want to save/export.
 Nice. Thank you! Actually, that's how CakeResume v1 works. But finally I decide to ask for emails. Now the signup conversion is high in Asia. However, I'll keep in mind and maybe someday change this.
 Looks nice from the landing page, but maybe a bit image-heavy for a resume isn't it?On the topic of resume building though, while I haven't had the need for making one in a long time I have this idea I just want to throw out there.Just make like an HTML page with every possible detail about your history. Then, in e.g. Chrome, you can easily hide the different sections/words that isn't related to the specific job you're applying for. Then print as PDF. Seems like it would be easy to maintain and "generate" the resumes per application.
 > Just make like an HTML page with every possible detail about your history. Then, in e.g. Chrome, you can easily hide the different sectionsI do this in LaTeX. I have the full document and just comment out in the code what I don't in each case before compiling the PDF. As it is a plain text file I have it in a git repo so it's trivial to look for older versions or attach tags to specific CV versions I've submitted.
 +1 for LaTeX but the barrier to entry is so high. I use LaTeX for mine but I'm always on the lookout for a 'nicer' markup language.
 LaTeX is a no brainer for anyone with a mind predisposed to programming... E.g people in the software industry. It makes working with my CV a _piece of cake!_
 This guy has an interesting approach with YAML for the content, LaTeX for the template, and pandoc for compiling: https://github.com/mrzool/cv-boilerplate
  Looks nice from the landing page, but maybe a bit image- heavy for a resume isn't it?  Traditionally, yes. But the point of a resume is to get the phone screen. If images and formatting will pop for Company X, go for it. Just make like an HTML page with every possible detail about your history. Then, in e.g. Chrome, you can easily hide the different sections/words that isn't related to the specific job you're applying for.  Awesome idea. I re-write my resume for every job opening. All the way down to nouns and buzzwords associated with that particular company. Hell, I've gone so far as to subtly match their branding (e.g., fonts, text treatment).It strikes me as really hard to do that programmatically without a mess of show/hide logic that defeats the point.
 It does a little bit image-heavy. That's how it's different from tons of resume builders you get right now! I want to build a tool to inspire more people to introduce themselves in a unique and vivid way. I want to help people share their passions. It called "CakeResume" because people need resume, but when them sign up for the site, they share their stories (with images and videos)! For example, a barber can share his/her works with images, and financial analysts can share their works with slides.
 In this case, print the CV is not a good option. Maybe a online profile, with a no-image print option.
 Or take it further and have a few different levels of verbosity for each section and have some weighting to which get shown when generating new CV's
 Trantor after thinking more about your site, I'm sure it's a mistake to require registration before allowing them to feel how nice it is.First, you could simply require the registration before allowing them to export so you still capture the data.Secondly, I'm afraid the usability and slickness are so nice that you will lose more than gain by not letting people get a quick chance to see how good it feels.Glad I got that off my chest. My opinion and \$1.85 will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, so fwiw.
 I dunno. I like the standart EU CV. http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/documents/curriculum-vitaeYou can save it as XML if you want to update it later. You can email it as PDF or .docx file. And it supports many languages.
 I always thought it was best-practice to never include a photo of oneself on their resume.
 I've seen a bunch of recent resumes - all of which include photos (nothing dramatic, just a professional headshot).I personally don't have it on my resume because I feel that it's un-necessary and a bit unprofessional. But I can see it's appeal (there have been too many instances where there's one person who does the phone interview and another the in person interview)
 In some countries a photo is required, so it's nice that they've included the option.
 >>But I can see it's appeal (there have been too many instances where there's one person who does the phone interview and another the in person interview)How does having a photo on a resume help prevent this? Are you referring to the interviewer? (i.e one person who conducts the phone interview and another the in person interview)
 having a photo helps you know who it is that you are interviewing (to an extent...I look pretty different now compared to that on my passport (~4 yrs old) if that's saying something :/)But what I mean is, resumes get passed around (from HR to team lead etc.) and having a photo helps identify the person being interviewed. (generally one person does the first interview, followed by an technical interview done by someone different - and it's very easy to get different people answer these interviews till the very last in-person interview - infact, I've seen a couple of friends do that at the big 4.)I'm not saying that this will help but it's gives everyone a false sense of security.
 Some non-USA countries expect photos.eg Germany: http://www.thelocal.de/jobs/article/47649It's definitely considered strange in most of the USA.
 Seems to vary greatly by region. I'd feel embarrassed for an applicant that put a photo on a resume in the US, but apparently the opposite is true elsewhere.
 I've heard in Japan it is required, so that they can confirm you are the "right" age, and good looking enough for the job. Hopefully not still the case.
 Pretty interesting concept! I'd like to be able to add variables that are used throughout snippets, so changing designs doesn't require me to re-enter a lot of information.
 Or at least, be able to see the full template size before dragging.
 I expected to see the Experience sections listed in the dropdown, but instead I just see "paragraph" and "list". I almost just clicked away from the site at that point.You should probably do a better job of calling out the things people expect to put on a resume, instead of hiding them under generic non-resume terms.
 Thank you! We'll change that :)
 What I don't like on resume generators is the fact that what they say about being "unique" and "impress" is the exact opposite from what will happen if suddenly everyone will start using them. All CVs will be the same eventually....
 Awesome little tool. I like the idea of drag&drop snippets, but every list snippet has a fixed number of items. Why not one snippet with the ability to add/remove list items? Moreover you can't easily replace snippets without keeping the current information. Lots of copy/pasting involved.
 Sure! We'll add this feature soon :) Thank you!
 Looks nice but gonna be a bit off topic and ranty, I really don't want to bother about resumes and their formats anymore. Is it really not acceptable to give a LinkedIn URL when asked for a resume, or as a recruiter if you see my LinkedIn profile, why do you still ask a resume? I think it looks well enough to replace any resume in any format, and its generally available. (of course if you don't choose to limit it to only 1st level connections)Farsighted Note: I am aware of PDF export feature, but its very ugly..
 For one thing, as an interviewer it is nice to have a hard copy resume to refer to on the fly
 I don't really get the reasoning behind the downvotes. Still on topic enough to have a discussion about. Someone care to elaborate ?
 It's not ugly on Chrome! But for other browsers, still need some works to optimize.
 Bit of a misunderstanding here, I was referring to LinkedIn's feature of Export Profile as PDF
 Sheesh modal/reg just to try it! You could allow some playing and collect users 1 step later.I like the idea. Your site looks great - clean and attractive. The animations are enticing.
 Thank you!!
 This looks good (i like the drag and drop mechanic).I've spent a lot of time exploring and building career tools [1], and my observation so far has been that "formatting and style" isn't the main problem with resumes. Seem to me that most people struggle with "what" to put in a resume and "how" (phrasing, concreteness etc) to put it.Good luck and congrats on launching.
 Grr. If your resume is the only resume in the world, then yes, it's unique. Otherwise, the best you can do is distinctive.
 So this is definitely down to how you define the word, but by the above definition, shouldn't Globally Unique Identifiers be called Globally Distinctive Identifiers?Also, because my brain has been damaged by modern programming languages, it seems like uniqueness should be defined as (please excuse my rusty logic syntax):R = resumes, r \in R, unique(r) -> (\forall s \in R-{r}, r != s) (for some definition of equality).
 A finite collection of distinct values constitutes a set.A collection of unique values constitutes a set with exactly one element.
 I love this, would be possible to add in an HTML export functionality that I could use to host on my website for example?
 Looks like a modified version of this: http://preview.codecanyon.net/item/html-builder-frontend-ver...
 Resume generators are getting a little trope-ish. Personally, I just use jsonresume's schema more or less to keep all my employment information. I don't like their generators, too heavy and esoteric, personally. I just use the JSON file.My website is generated with a static website builder, hugo, and uses wkhtml to generate an optional pdf. It just pulls a subset of what I want to display from the exhaustive, version controlled json file. My entire website pulls contact information, name, location, social media profiles etc information from that one json file. It separates content and presentation and I keep it all in one file. If I wanted two versions of the information, I just change the html document and what I pull.
 Great idea! Would love to add this feature to my site. http://www.nocparequiredjobs.com
 Given the name I really thought this was going to be a service that puts your resume onto a cake and sends that cake to a company you want an interview at.
 Interesting. We might consider introducing this service on that fool's day..
 I'm really surprised this is the first tool I've seen like this. Makes perfect sense. Love the interface. Awesome work. :)
 Most resume builders are not popular because they ask for money for some designs. I hope that does not happen with this one.
 Cool. I tried to "try it now" but got some modal instead, so obviously I then closed the window instantly.
 I like the website. Haven't tried it out yet.I usually just whip up a good looking HTML page and then use wkhtmltopdf :p
 Web site doesn't make much sense. What's it about? What's being resumed?
 This might help explain things -- it's a résumé site: