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Why I do my resume in LaTeX (toofishes.net)
143 points by gnosis on Feb 19, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 137 comments

LaTeX needs a modern successor.

Yes, the output looks \bf{gorgeous}. But the underlying toolchain and language are past their expiration date. By far.

Tasks as simple as "let's add an image here" or "let's move this to the left a little" frequently turn into hour-long journeys deep down into the guts of a 30 year old codebase.

There is no reason why a modern tool couldn't use the same algorithms to create equally beautiful output. We're not writing raw postscript to talk to our printers anymore either.


Yes! Here's what I want in a modern successor to LaTeX:

- Default output is PDF (DVI is a port on my computer :) )

- Optional DOC/DOCX output (even if it supports just a subset of the program's capabilities)

- Bibliography management built-in (no separate ancient BibTeX)

- Command-line searching and importing from Pubmed / Google Scholar / etc. built-in

- Bibliography styles can be created/edited by normal humans

- Syntax closer to Markdown or reStructuredText, to enhance readability of source file (and maybe shrink the learning curve)

- Program is smaller than 1.6 GB (the size of the default MacTeX distro).

I've played with writing something like this for a while (in Python). The hardest part for me has been dealing with bibliography data - there's always one more weird Pubmed record that breaks my XML parser. Makes me really appreciate Knuth/Lamport/Patashnik and their successors.

Some answers: - Default output to PDF has been there for years.

- The base .tex syntax will probably never change, but there is no reason why some tool/plugin/luatex extension couldn't read something else and convert as necessary. I used Deplate and Pandoc for a while.

- AFAIK ConTeXt has some integrated replacement for bibtex

I don't think we need a successor to LaTeX. The base is solid and ready to be built on, especially now with a sane programming language in the core of LuaTeX.

1. Default output is PDF (DVI is a port on my computer :) )

Pdftex (the default Tex engine) supports this. Both Xetex and Luatex do as well, and both of these additionally assume UTF8 as the input encoding and allow you to use True Type and OTF fonts directly.

2. Optional DOC/DOCX output (even if it supports just a subset of the program's capabilities)

igneous4 mentioned Pandoc, which supports RTF as an output format, which is as good as doc/docx for importing text with basic formatting into Word. Pandoc also supports Context. If you want to move the other way, there is docx2tex, which is the best Word to Latex converter.

3. Bibliography management built-in (no separate ancient BibTeX)

I think there's nothing satisfactory here for Latex. You might like to look at Jabref. With Context, the automatic build process makes the invocation of Bibtex invisible. There are many make-like tools for Latex, none are seamless.

4. Command-line searching and importing from Pubmed / Google Scholar / etc. built-in

Again, nothing built-in, but Zotero will do what you want.

5. Bibliography styles can be created/edited by normal humans

Again, nothing adequate here. Try looking at Biblatex. I hand/regex edit .bbl files if I have special bib style needs.

6. Syntax closer to Markdown or reStructuredText, to enhance readability of source file (and maybe shrink the learning curve)

Tex's markup is actually nice. I often wish I could use Texisms when I am editing Markdown, etc. Pandoc allows you to convert between all of these.

7. Program is smaller than 1.6 GB (the size of the default MacTeX distro).

Most of which is fonts. If you have less than voracious font needs, or use TTF/OTF (via. Luatex/Xetex), you can get away with a small fraction of this. Try a more lightweight Texlive installation, and find out what you need.

The hardest part for me has been dealing with bibliography data - No surprise. Bibliography management used to be a relative strength of the Tex family, because the competition was so extremely shoddy. Now it is a weakness; Word 2010 with Endnote is actually very nice here. It's a shame that relatively few Latex hackers appreciate how far behind Tex&co have fallen.

Makes me really appreciate Knuth/Lamport/Patashnik - Knuth is inspirational, his code keeps on rewarding those who read it. Patashnik doesn't get much love from me: he held so many wrong opinions vehemently.

You might just use Pandoc. It happens to use LaTeX behind the scenes to create pdf's, but there's nothing that says it must do so in the future.

I prefer Context (built on top of Luatex the same way that Latex 2e is built on top of Tex 3) to Latex, because it allows a much cleaner separation of content from styling, but I think what you say is unfair.

Adding images to Latex documents is straightforward using the core libraries graphicx and putting \includegraphics{FILENAME} at the place you want the graphic. Adjusting placement to left, right, overhand, etc., is done using Tex primitives. It's true that using Tex , Latex and the main Latex packages correctly is not straightforward and that until you have mastered them, you can get into difficulties, but that is also true of Word.

The difference is that it takes longer learn how to produce any sort of ugly document in Latex than in Word, and longer to produce beautiful documents in Word than in Latex.

but I think what you say is unfair

Sorry, but I'll stick to my point. We should stop making excuses for software that was great in its time but is simply not adequate anymore by today's standards.

Almost nothing is straightforward in LaTex, and images aren't either. Placing an image exactly where you want it can become a serious issue - even more so in documents that change and get reflowed all the time.

Yes, LaTex often makes good decisions that require little tweaking. But the moment you disagree with one of its decisions you find yourself in a world of pain.

Almost nothing is straightforward in LaTex, and images aren't either.

Almost nothing is straightforward in Word, and images aren't either.

Word works very intuitively until you try to achieve fine control of layout. Then if you haven't done things the correct way, where Word's document model is not more intuitive than Latex's, getting the results you want will be painful.

It is true that the distance between Word and Latex in terms of suitability for producing high-quality output has narrowed drastically in the time from, say Word 6.0 to Word 2010. But the Tex family is not software that was great in its time. I use both Word and Tex-based technologies most working days, and I massively prefer to the Tex-based technologies in terms of quality output. It is still the case that for obtaining quality proofs from a .doc/.docx file, professionals use external software such as Adobe Indesign. Indeed, there are workflows that take Word documents and convert them to Tex-based representations for typesetting.

Well, MS Word is the standard straw man that always comes up in these discussions. This is why I said "we should stop making excuses".

standard straw man - Care to name a system that isn't a straw man? Word is serious, capable software, and the de-facto standard for document preparation.

Word is not even playing when output quality is a concern. You named one yourself (Adobe Indesign), the other that I know of would be QuarkXpress.

I don't know a piece of free software that directly competes with LaTeX, the latter has been the de-facto standard for university papers and a small group of book-writers/enthusiasts for about 20 years.

However, pitting LaTeX against Word is about as meaningful as pitting Linux against Windows. You wouldn't excuse the thorny Linux desktop experience with the security track record of windows either - it'd be an apples vs oranges comparison.

You actually can get decent output quality from Word. It is just that Word becomes inefficient when this is a concern. Indesign is not really aimed at authors, but is for people who want to turn edited copy into publishable proofs.

Open Office exists as part of a free Java-based ecosystem. I couldn't say it is used in any serious publication workflows, but the components are there. Context is aimed at serious publishers, and has strong roots in educational (i.e., not academic) publishing.

Apples vs. oranges: the point of this subthread has been that I thought your statement But the underlying toolchain and language are past their expiration date. By far. and backing this up by talking about how hard "easy" things can be that turn out to not to be trivialities anywhere. Latex is not for casual users, but it is very much not past its expiration date for authors who are serious about typesetting. I'm not making excuses for Latex, nor am I unfairly bashing the alternatives.

There is a reason Latex doesn't let you put images where you want them, namely that it means it has to skip ahead and leave a blank area on the paper.

Past their expiration date? What about having to do the following every time you add/change a references seems outdated? pdflatex paper && bibtex paper && pdflatex paper && pdflatex paper

:-) TBH, though, there's just no comparison for producing nicely-formatted research papers. Especially in that eye-straining, dual-column, 9pt ACM conference format.

You should use rubber. It will do all the nasty stuff for you, and make the errors slightly less dumb. Admittedly somewhat poorly named for searching for help on it, but it works.


The last time I tried Rubber, it was way too buggy. So I usually prefer Latexmk:


Wow, thanks.

I think there's been some serious improvement anyway. Many examples on the Internet use outdated libraries and engines, but if you use modern tools like XeTeX and Biblatex, things get better. For example, using a font with the Opentype features in Xetex and specifying another font for Chinese text is very simple, and since you can do everything in UTF8, there's no need to muck around things like inputenc anymore.

Of course, there are still some ugly corners, and the underlying code isn't always pretty. Things like Luatex sound quite promising in this regard.

LuaTeX looks promising, embedding Lua as a scripting language over the underlying algorithms.

Luatex is the successor implementation to Pdftex, and it works very well: Context Mk.4 is written as a mixture of Tex and Lua, and is a much cleaner code base than Latex2e.

Pdftex is currently the standard Tex engine for the two main Tex distributions, Texlive and Miktex.

Markdown is a good start, the minimal syntax is nice to look at, and it could be poweful with an inline scripting language to define macros (Ruby, Python, Lua).

Pandoc lets you write in a slightly (and tastefully) enhanced Markdown, but also lets you drop down to write LaTeX macros if you like.

TeXmacs aims to be such a tool.

I have the impression that Texmacs has about as much momentum behind it as Gnu Hurd.

If you're ever planning on sending your CV to a recruiter, don't use LaTeX. Recruiters (reputation for being upgraded estate agents and scum of the earth aside) will want to remove any contact details from your CV to ensure that their client doesn't attempt to contact you except through them. This is why they'll push for word document versions.

You might think, "Oh, well I'll just find a recruiter that won't do this" but depending on your chosen profession this may be harder than you think.

You might think, "Ok, well I'll just create a PDF version without contact details on it" but that's not enough, because some recruiters actually don't put people forward because they sent PDFs, while telling them that they're putting them forward - the reason being that you're at the back of the queue not because of ability but because you're 'difficult' or they're not able to stick the recruiters logo on or easily paste into their template.

Now if none of this is an issue for you, feel free to go ahead and submit a latex generated pdf. Sadly, Word is the lingua franca of recruitment. I've had two guys interview with me independently of a recruiter for positions after said recruiter told them they'd put them forward when they didn't - in both cases the used a Latex CV.

Finally, formatting is relevant only to a point - if you've got experience in your field then that trumps any formatting. I've hired guys who use comic sans in their CV because they were bloody brilliant, not because they were funny.

That's ok, I don't plan to send it to any recruiter.

The one contact I had with a recruiting company (big brand name) was when I applied to a job, I interviewed with some technical people at the company, they decided to hire me and they told the recruiting company to tell me I was hired. Some months went by, I got no message, so I took another job, and just for the sake of it I wrote the CTO to tell them they could've at least sent me a note that they weren't hiring me. Turns out the recruiting company misspelled my email address and they were still waiting for my answer and the position was unfilled. Everyone was apologetic but I couldn't go back as I committed to something else.

When you said that they decided to hire you, was that something they told you right after the interview? If so, I think it would've been prudent to follow up with both the CTO and the recruiter after a week or two had passed. Worst case you'll just look enthusiastic about your new job, and there's little harm in that. It's always possible for these sorts of little mishaps to happen, even if it weren't through a recruiter. A short email could've saved much confusion.

No, they said "we will get in touch with you soon", which they tried to (as I found out later) via the recruiters, but I just assumed it was the usual (sadly) method of ignoring candidates they didn't choose. Since I had other applications going on, I just moved on. It was after 1-2 months that I contacted them.

From my experience, recruiters only ever send "big company" profiles: MSCE certified, Cisco whatever, Oracle yadda yadda, Java enterprise stuff and stuff, RedHat thingy and the likes. My interest in these sort of profiles is exactly equal to zero, because we use Debian, Perl, C and postgresql. And we haven't even got a single windows machine, and nobody in the team ever wore a tie in his whole life.

Actual people I'm interested in have zero certs, may have zero diplomas, wear ragged jeans and flip-flops and beards, but they have friggin' code to show and run Linux (or some other Unix) on their personal computer. Anything else than displaying obvious ability to write code is meaningless to me. Since I explained this was the profiles I'm looking for, I didn't received any more résumés from recruiters.

So it all depends very much on the sort of job you're looking for. My guess is if you're an hacker and you want to work in a startup, never mind the recruiters. Making a latex résumé is fine, because of the added bonus points.

It's an interesting comment and I know you're not alone, having worked with similar people in the past.

Certs provide a baseline - if you have an MSCE it means you can use Windows, nothing more. For some positions it's a means of covering your arse which is useful when you're in a big company.

Personally I prefer to judge people by their deeds rather than their words, or in this case letters. That's why we have a fairly gruelling test for positions these days.

OK, here's a question: why do companies use recruitment consultants? I've never heard a nice word said about them, certainly not in the tech/IT field. Not by people who work for companies hiring, not by jobs applicants. What value do they add, other than going through a big pile of CVs/resumes and turning it into a smaller pile of CVs/resumes (and, by the sounds of things, likely tossing out a whole load of excellent candidates in many cases)?

The value recruiters provide isn't in filtering, it's in sourcing.

It's very hard to source candidates. Job boards are more or less useless for companies advertising direct, as they're dominated by recruiters (who pay less for job adverts as they're bulk buying and can afford to spend more).

Recruiters are also good at getting passive candidates by cold calling candidates whose details they've obtained through slightly iffy routes. For example a company won't buy the phone book of a competitor from a disgruntled employee and then start cold calling their staff to hire them away, but a third party recruiter will.

I'm trying to raise financing at the moment to build a startup that will provide an alternative solution (a job site with intelligent candidate/job matching using the kind of techniques dating sites use).

If anyone wants to see my pitch deck feel free to email me (even if you're not an investor, happy to share with anyone who's not a direct competitor).

Thanks for the explanation. It makes a lot of sense that sourcing candidates is hard and that's where recruiters add value. I do it slightly ironic that you say that job boards are more or less useless and then you go on to say that it's recruiters that make them useless by clogging them up.

I sent you an email regarding your startup since it interests me on an academic level and I'd love to learn a little more.

I think some of it is simply a lag in market adjustment: older managers/corporate culture tend to have pre-internet habits about hiring like the assumption that recruiters are necessary to find good candidates and frequently the system is structured in a way which complicates getting people without going through a recruiter.

The root problem is that many places don't measure performance and so you get the same problems which are endemic in marketing where successes are credited to people but failures are seen as systemic. At the last few places, our recruiters literally failed to provide a single qualified candidate (or even strong resume) but this was usually excused as a tough market - and while good people are always in short supply, taking the 30% cut which normally goes to the recruiter and giving it to the person would certainly help.

You can't imagine how large that pile of junk CVs/resumes is. When I was doing hiring (MSFT), having full-time recruiters working for me was key to getting the load down to something that was even remotely manageable. I can imagine that if your company was small enough that you didn't have the money to hire a full-time recruiter to source candidates, relying on third-party referrals would be a reasonable alternative.

That said, almost 100% of the non-college hires I made were either personal recommendations from other members on the team or people whom I directly contacted after seeing their name pop up repeatedly in the context of interesting things.

A recruiter would be better positioned to add value than I. I've dealt with recruiters on an employer and employee basis and it generally varies massively as to what you get. Out of all the recruiters I've known, there's only one that I have a long term relationship and would consider a friend. That's not a positive note for an industry, given that I've led recruitment in about 4 different jobs across two industries.

If you imagine a pre-Internet world, recruiters would provide employers value by having a large potential labour pool, searching that pool for 'talent', then (allegedly) doing some sort of screening so that HR gets CVs that are relevant to the post.

In the modern age, much of this could be bypassed but some companies (most notably larger companies) have exclusive contracts with large recruiters, meaning that if you want to work there you have to go through a specific recruiter.

Madness, I know, and an industry ripe for disruption but full of people that would fight tooth and nail against it (and not just the recruiters but the employers in some cases).

Nice to see that others do it too! The real problem I have seen with resumes in PDF format is that most companies (actually mostly agencies) tend to ask for .doc files. In fact a lot of their online application process requires .doc files.

I have a very simple solution - avoid applying there! Often people who tend to write their resumes in LaTeX would find most of these jobs less than acceptable anyways.

When exceptions are required I extract a text version of the resume latex2 rtf/txt/html (or combination) tend to work ok. The rtf and text can easily be saved as .doc. Of course thing are never going to be as pretty as the PDF (but then again these job applications are rarely priorities)

Here is a sample derived from my resume: http://ranchev.net/latex

"...a lot of their online application process requires .doc files.

I have a very simple solution - avoid applying there!"

Amen to that.

If more people voted with their feet when companies pull this sort of crap, the world would be much better place.

Despite asking me for a .doc, Microsoft didn't complain when I sent them a PDF (of my LaTeX-typeset résumé, of course).

I use ASCII. Everyone can read it, I can paste it into emails, and I waste no time fiddling around with formatting on a document that will just be scanned for a few keywords and discarded.

I sent a resume in ascii, resume.txt, to a company's HR dept.

They asked me to send them a .doc Word version.

I changed the suffix on my file from .txt to .doc, sent them essentially the exact same file. It opened for them in Word because of the suffix, they were happy and I was then interviewed and hired.

That still makes me smile, these many years gone by.

When I was applying at many of the big engineering firms last year, several of them wanted a copy pasted, text only version of my resume. Maintaining a copy of the resume in good plaintext form is always a bonus. Well worth the slight bother when updating.

Another advantage to keeping a plaintext copy is that it can be quickly formatted however an employer may require it.

What I'd like to know is why not just do up the resumé in HTML and style with CSS? I'm not a web designer by any means, but getting a simple style up and running is no big stretch (especially if you're capable of LaTeX markup).

To be fair, I still don't have a resumé in HTML (I'd use Markdown), but I haven't needed to update mine in a while. Next time I do, I'm going HTML with a print stylesheet.

1) HTML pages are not inherently printer-friendly

2) LaTeX is a text formatting language. It can be argued HTML is (fundamentally) also a text formatting language, but if you submit a resume to me styled with HTML and CSS using colors and graphics and drop shadows, I will personally burn your resume, damn the consequences.

You're right, HTML itself isn't printer friendly, but it's really only a semantic document. It's up to you to style it with a print stylesheet.

And of course, I wouldn't use CSS to colour everything and add gradients and all that junk. The goal is simply to create a nice layout in a format that doesn't depend on MS Word or LaTeX (which, nice though it may be, is alien to most and also not as commonly installed as a web browser).

And naturally, I'd print-to-PDF before sending off to a recruiter. Mac OS X Print-To-PDF is really quite lovely.

HTML is printer (output in general, be it screen, print or aural) agnostic. At least it should be. I also have my CV as HTML with print CSS. Print to PDF, send, done. Sure, LaTeX is much more powerful, but I am not sure how much does that matter for a simple text document, without any maths notation.

And if someone submits a PDF resume using colours and graphics and drop shadows you'll hire them enthusiastically?

- Guy who is interested in this issue as his resume is HTML but without drop shadows

What about adding a CSS style with the 'print' media type?

I'd still use LaTeX, though. Media types are just a really cool trick...


Mine has been in HTML + CSS since about 1998 (over 12 years now, back then it was "XHTML") with CSS print styles. Everything inlined and very compact. Works great.

Looks good, but having your email as "myfirstname /dot/ mylastname [at] gmail" is a bit tacky and unprofessional. GMail has decent spam filtering, why not just publish your address normally?

That's a pretty impressive resume. Is it ok to steal your design?

Just make sure you put "design stealing" on your version of the resume.

I think this hits it dead on. In many ways, HTML is the people's LaTeX.

Here's mine: http://sidneysm.com/resume/

The content of the résumé is JSON data (http://sidneysm.com/resume/resume.json) with some embedded Markdown, and it's transformed into an HTML document by a JavaScript tempting library I hacked up on top of jquery-haml.

That's what I do: http://danieljackoway.com/resume

It doesn't look very nice when printed/PDFed by printing to PDF.

HN profile link? Do people take this seriously?

Some YC companies definitely do. I'd guess that most startups do to an extent.

I think if anything frequent use of HN would reflect poorly on one's productivity.

The same could be said for someone who says "I read books all the time." You could look at it as someone being unproductive (hey if you're reading a book, you're probably not working!) or you could look at it as someone educating themselves.

I've learned a great deal by reading Hacker News.

I've found that printing to PDF on OS X produces documents that look great.

(Unlike, say, Firefox on Linux, it doesn't add header or footers, the text looks great, and in general doesn't look terrible at all.)

The headers and footers are optional. In my Linux Firefox, if I go to the File menu, select the Print option, go to the "Options" tab, there's a whole "Header and Footer" section where you can set them to whatever you want, including "--blank--".

Details of this print dialog might, of course, depend on your GNOME version, your distribution, and the time of month, like everything on Linux.

Now the quality of the text is a separate issue; I haven't actually done any printing from a web browser on Linux in a few years, so I have no idea what that looks like nowadays.

The main problem I have is links. The printing to PDF doesn't care about <a> links. It will linkify anything that looks like a URL or an email address, but that means that I have to have JS put the url in, plus it's ugly to have the urls there at all.

Not sure I understood you correctly, but have you tried using css?

  <style type="text/css" media="print">
    a:link, a:visited {
      color: black;
      text-decoration: none;

    a:link:after, a:visited:after {
      content: " (" attr(href) ") ";

Wow. It does? That sucks.

As far as links go, I already treat the resume like a print document; all the URLs are written out explicitly, have their own lines where appropriate. (I guess that's why I haven't run into the problem yet.)

I have an online version of my resume which is precisely this, though not as custom-done as the rest of my homepage. But I used this lovely template: http://sampleresumetemplate.net/ and edited as necessary.

I would love to put my resume into LaTeX, if I had a simple way to do so. Unfortunately, it would be a pretty painful process, and not something for which I have currently budgeted the time. I will check out some of these templates and frameworks mentioned in the future. For now, though, since I haven't even started my new job yet, not an especially urgent project : )

Actually, it is not painful at all. You just need the right style file. Then you place your text in various sections, and LaTeX formats it perfectly for you. I love LaTeX.

While I'm on the topic: slides (presentation) done via LaTeX (and in PDF) look simply _amazing_. Powerpoint has _nothing_ on LaTeX + PDF.

Strange that you would say such a thing. I think slides in LaTeX look awful. They all look the same, there is never any transition or animation (which can be very useful) and since adding images is kind of painful in LaTeX, there are usually very few images. Most of the time, LaTeX presentations are just bullet points on a semi-nice background.

Seriously, I have seen plenty of talks on plenty of conferences and events and the ones done with LaTeX always stood out as the most boring (-looking) ones.

You seem to be unaware of Beamer

Quite on the contrary: I am actually talking about Beamer. Maybe I was just extremely unlucky to only see really bad presentations, but I have not seen any beautiful presentation in Latex beamer and many great ones using Powerpoint or Keynote or some other tool.

I don't know what kinds of presentations you've seen, but I've seen (and made) more-than-decent presentations with it. Plus, if you have any math in your slides, neither PP nor Keynote hold a candle to LaTeX. That being said, I agree it is usually quicker to get fancy effects in either PP or Keynote.

Yeh I was wondering what I should do my resume in sometime last year, decided html was the best format for me.


Hello! I saw your resume when looking around a couple of months ago. I thought it looked great, and ended up using the general layout as, uh, inspiration:


My CV is XML and XSLT, and I don't print it to a PDF -- anyone unable to click a link to it, is probably not someone I want to work for (sure, there are exceptions, but...)

This is what I do (Markdown ftw). I don't know how it looks printed though, so I have a .doc version for that.

Before my most recent job search (~4 mo. ago) I finally invested the time and effort to break free of Word docs and switch to LaTeX.

Honestly, I spent about a week relearning the basic syntax (it's been years) and learning how to do much more advanced formatting than I had done before.

The effort I put in was worth every single minute. I started with a fairly advanced template and tweaked the hell out of it until I was satisfied with the end result. I now have a resume that is:

1) version controlled in git as text/code (don't underestimate how cool this is)

2) very simple to update or add sections to without worrying about breaking Word's formatting

3) looks stunning, imho

4) got me callbacks from nearly every place I applied to. I feel like the eye-catching resume was a huge part of this

You write code all day long.. formatting a document with it just makes so much more sense once you make the initial time investment.

If a recruiter or job site can't handle the PDF, I don't want to work with them anyway.

I do it because: It looks baller, I get positive comments on it in my interviews every time, and it's easier than using Word. Why typeset when computers can for you?

I've never fretted over and spent so much time on minutia of typesetting as I have with LaTeX.

I suppose it's fine if you're satisfied with some default look that someone else has come up with for your document. But for me that's never good enough.

I want my documents to look a certain way, and it's virtually never the case that any LaTeX class or document style looks good enough with the default settings. So I wind up doing endless tweaking until finally it looks the way I want it to.

Of course, by then it does look brilliant. And the time spent is well worth it. But you do have to put in the time to get these kinds of results, if the default settings don't suit you.

See the section "Format once, change the content a lot" in the article. (particularly important with resumes) If that's not true in your case, you're almost by definition using LaTeX incorrectly.

"Format once, change the content a lot"

That assumes a number of things:

First, it assumes that at some point you'll settle on some perfect formatting for all time. That's really unlikely (especially for me).

Second, it assumes that the same resume format is appropriate for each prospective employer you'll be sending your resume to. There are many who feel you should tailor your resume to the employer you're sending it to. That could certainly include tailoring the format, depending on how different the jobs you're applying for are. A resume for a web design job might look very different from one for a programming job. And many people do both.

Third, it assumes your LaTeX skills will never improve and you'll never discover new styles or fonts or tricks you'll want to apply to your resume to make it better in the future. Things you didn't know at the time you first wrote it.

All these are potentially incorrect assumptions. There are some great reasons to keep tinkering with the formatting, even in LaTeX.

That said, I never implied in my original post that the reason that I spent a lot of time futzing with the formatting in LaTeX was because I was re-formatting stuff I'd already formatted to my satisfaction once. No. In fact, it took a long time to format it in the first place.

Yes, it's true that maybe this will save me time and grief in the long run (if I can let sleeping dogs lie, and not try to improve the formatting once I've settled on one I like), but maybe not.

Anyway, I'm not trying to convince anyone to ditch LaTeX and switch to Word. I love LaTeX. And I hate it. It's a love/hate thing. There are some really great things about it. It can make your documents look marvelous, and you can do some amazing things with it.

But it can also be very frustrating (especially if you want to do stuff that's non-standard, and varies too far from the defaults that the (often broken) document classes had in mind when they were written).

I have to admit, when I saw this I went looking for resume examples in LaTeX and I was impressed. I'm downloading Lyx right now(Linux high-level LaTeX front-end) and intend to redo my resume...and I'm not even looking for work! Its that appealing.

As a great fan of latex, I would LOVE to use it to format my CV. But here in Britain there are far too many HR departments and agencies who will look at your pdf and say "I'm sorry, could you send the original Word doc?"

Not that recruiters are always the best way to get a job, but it would be silly to write them out of my searches

I've had that before. I sent them the latex source and they've been able to handle the rest.

In the same idea, there are the nice looking resume template from Dario Taraborelli: http://nitens.org/taraborelli/cvtex (Typesetting your academic CV in LaTeX).

If you want your CV not to be seen in the crowd: the Europass CV LaTeX template http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/help/Catalogue/entries/europ... ....

I just use Word. It's easy, I know it already, and it looks nice: http://readlt.com/r.png. Template if anyone's interested: http://readlt.com/resume-template.doc

It looks decent, I agree, but from typographic point of view, it looks lower visual quality than LaTeX-produced text. Look at how the letters seem to be unevenly aligned to the line, and the spacing between them is also not quite right. See for example [something cool] in your screenshot. The first bracket is miles away from the s, the closing bracket is stuck to the l.

EDIT: another issue further down: compare Sed and Vestibulum. In the latter the e looks way too far from the initial letter. More careful kerning would push the e a bit under V's wings.

I realize it's not the most important thing in the world, but still :) Anyway, I don't claim to be an expert in typography at all, that's why I also use LaTeX for my CV:


I think that's just funky MS Word font rendering at low zoom settings. Zooming up removes that artifact, and the PDF doesn't display it like that at all. Certainly the actual spacing of the characters is fine, shown in PDF and printed versions.

No wonder you became a computer scientist -- with that name! ;-)

Not sure I get the joke, do you know someone famous with the same name or does it just sound weird to you? :)

The first Hungarian digital computer was designed in 1957 by someone with the same name, if I'm not mistaken.

Ah, yes, you are right :)

Two pages?

That's not a résumé, it's an (academic) CV. They have a tendency to be long; our faculty head's, for instance, has 39 pages.

The thing is contrary to anyone else with a pdf or html resumé, you had to take a png screenshot so we can see it.

Office has PDF export capabilities for a while now.

I like this resume's design. To make it even better, I might just have to convert it to LaTeX.

He posted a follow up with a LaTeX resume template here: http://www.toofishes.net/blog/latex-resume-follow-up/

I must confess that I don't understand it well but it has inspired me to actually try LaTeX for the first time.

(EDIT - fixed dumb typo. Thanks, RiderOfGiraffes)

Er, s/temple/template/ ??

If his résumé is so good, why isn't it available on his web site?

"Contact me by email and let me know a good reason you'd like to see it and I'll be happy to send a copy along to you."

Sure, I will try to convince you that I want to see your résumé because your skills look like a good match for a position I'm trying to fill. Except I don't know your skills because... I don't have access to your résumé.

Talk about some ego.

He is perhaps trying to avoid aggressive recruiters.

I do it because I can add my papers to a global bib file and then just \cite them easily

The last job I applied to, I sent a plain text resume and they were impressed. Since then I've just kept my LinkedIn profile up to date and get a PDF from that to send out (believe it or not, I need to send a resume to HR if I want to change departments within the company).

Personally, I find a latex resume comes across as pretentious if it's your only latex publication, which is usually easy to determine from its contents.

I don't think that word means what you think it means. I might consider it pretentious if the resume was written with a dip pen on parchment embossed with the family crest.

Taking a simple task like writing a document in Word and using it as an excuse to learn a text formatting language sounds perfectly reasonable for a hacker.

Furthermore, the fact that a resume is written in LaTeX doesn't mean you publish it that way. If you have really great-looking PDFs that you send out, who's to care? When I send out my resume, I only send PDFs etc anyway, unless explicitly requested otherwise. Can't trust recipient clients. Not that you always can with PDF, either...

I've had interviewers recognize my use of LaTeX on hardcopies of my resume by recognizing Computer Modern.

Another telltale sign are the default margins, though I spose someone would sooner change the margins than change the font.

I double checked.

    pretentious, adj.  Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed
Learning latex because you're curious is one thing. Using latex on your resume solely to give the impression you know latex would qualify as "affecting greater talent than is actually possessed".

I don't think that many people use LaTeX on their resume as a way to look impressive just because they know LaTeX. I think that many people use it because they find that it easier to control the layout of their document than in something like MS Word or {Libre,Open}Office Writer. I spent a number of years with a MS Word resume filled with tables to space things out correctly. I used to dread needing to make changes to it because of how fragile the setup was. On the other hand, I find it relatively easy to make changes to my resume now that I have it in LaTeX.

I don't create many documents in PDF or print form. When I do, I use my very basic LaTeX knowledge to create something that looks nice. Because word processors are useless and fiddly.

It's cynical and utterly baseless to deduce "pretentious" motives.

I think most people who use LaTeX on their resume would do it because it makes it look better and is easier in some ways (that McGee mentioned), not because it is there to pad their resume.

McGee explicitly mentions that the reason he does it in LaTeX is not to get the "+12 points bonus". I think you're being presumptuous in accusing others of being pretentious for using LaTeX.

I think you're misinterpreting the motivation for doing this.

If you actually have a family crest, I'll let it pass. If you make up a fake family crest (think Donald Trump here), it'll come across as douchébag pretentious. I'll probably pass it around to my friends and we'll have a good laugh. You won't get a call.

I don't understand the appeal. Every single LaTeX-based CV looks exactly the same. The same mediocre serif fonts, the same structure, the same basic layout in every way. I guess there is something to be said for the 'classic' way of doing things -- i'm not saying it's bad per se -- but i certainly don't find it novel or particularly 'gorgeous'.

As far as the ease of use and the typography functions, i find Pages (from the iWork suite) to be more than adequate. The layout that he did would have taken me only moments to re-create in Pages, and although LaTeX has some advanced typography features that Pages and OS X don't, the latter seems sufficient to me for just about anyone's CV.

This guy needs to spend a few more years in this industry, he will realize that as long as your résumé doesn't contain typos, nobody cares what it looks like. Hell, I even review résumés that are text files. The faster I can access it and read the important stuff, the happier I am. I couldn't care less if it's using TeX, LaTeX, Word, PDF or HTML, and I will probably even ding you if you brag because you used LaTeX to write it, because you're using tools that are twenty years old.

There is a very nice LaTeX class than can be used to make beautiful resume's: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/modernc...

See sample resume's here: http://www.math.uic.edu/~hurder/math589/vita.html

Is it weird that I was very surprised that anybody writes anything important in anything other than LaTeX??

As this is turning into a "What do you use?" thread: I use Publisher. I can precisely position everything on my resume, align it to a grid, etc. And if an employer only accepts doc files, it's trivial to copy-paste the file contents to Word and reposition them correctly.

I use org-mode in Emacs: it's the fastest and most convenient way of editing a document's structure I've found so far, and I find myself doing that a lot with my resume. Then I export to LaTeX, HTML, or plain text.

How does the org -> latex -> pdf look in the end? Could you post it?

It contains my home address, mobile number and so on, so I'd rather not post it.

But it looks like a plain article class LaTeX document, except that I changed the margins and the font (Palatino instead of Times). If you want a more sophisticated layout you can customize the LaTeX-specific options; they'll be ignored when you export to other formats.

So I'm on Linux - specifically Debian. Where do I start with LaTeX? Do I have to use a specially created editor such as Lyx?

No, you don't need any special editor. In fact, I wouldn't recommend using one, as all the special editors are really just a crutch. It's much better to learn how to program the underlying LaTeX itself, rather than rely on some high-level tool to do it for you. (just my opinion here)

There are an absolute glut of LaTeX tutorials out there to get you started. Here's one:


But there are many, many others. Some are particularly good for people in certain specialties. For instance, here's an excellent LaTeX resource for logicians:


Ha. I remember Smith being ridiculously adamant about everybody using LaTeX for their essays and logic stuff...

You can use a wysiwyg-ish editor like LyX or TeXmacs, but eventually, you'll likely want formatting it doesn't make trivial, particularly for something like a resume.

If you're comfortable with Vim or Emacs, both of them have good LaTeX support. The AucTeX package for Emacs is particularly excellent (it needs to be installed separately, but Debian packages it).

There are also editors best described as "LaTeX IDEs". They provide a syntax-highlighting editor and have particular support for running the LaTeX processing toolchain, parsing error messages and warnings (a nontrivial proposition), and sometimes provide support for generating LaTeX code snippets like table layouts. One such package is Texmaker, a Qt-based IDE with a look-and-feel somewhat like Qt Creator.

gedit has a LaTeX plugin which is what I use.


I just re-did my resume using indeed.com's resume uploader. It gives you a nice clean formatted resume that you can share publicly, export to .pdf, or email. I don't really see a point in using latex, with these new tools available.

I think linkedin has a resume upload and maybe branchout does as well if you are more of the social networking type.

If anyone is interested been doing this for ages.

You can get the template by git clone git://github.com/dscape/NunoJobResume.git

I have a latex resume and I run into a few problems. Some companies/agencies only accept .doc formats. The latex2rtf or latex2txt is also error-prone. But, my resume looks awesome and it's easy to move things around/add things without any formatting. I haven't touched formatting in 5 years or so.

I used a latex class to format one of my papers. At the final date of submission I found out they except only .doc format. I am still looking desperately for a latex2doc converter. Anyone here knows about this?

You could try asking on #latex on freenode. But, from what I remember, there aren't any. Or at least not any that do a passable job.

One sort of hackish thing you could try is simply printing out your resume and scanning it in. Then import the scanned pages as images directly in to the Word document.

It will technically be in Word format, and may even look nice when printed (assuming you've scanned your printouts in at a high enough resolution). Though, of course, the text won't be editable.

Under the assumption that the paper in question is being published in a journal, that might be a bad idea. In my experience, journals will typically take your content and then reformat it themselves to fit in whatever their constraints are (page size, number of columns, possibly starting in the middle of a page, etc, etc). For journals that take LaTeX submissions, they will generally just apply their house style file. For journals that take Word submissions, they will generally just apply their house Word style. For journals that accept either one... see above. ;)

There is latex 2 odt. Might be a starting point.

There are a few latex-to-html converters and you can import the html in Word. You'll have to redo all your layout though.

If I redo all the layout, the whats the point?

It's not ideal, but you can upload a .pdf to google docs, then download it as a .doc.

You can use http://www.scribtex.com to design latex documents, too.

I use jobspice.com and call it a day.

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