Microsoft Word sucks

Tonight I spent a little time updating my resume in preparation for the job hunting I’m about to start. By updating I actually mean rewriting completely from scratch. I haven’t applied for a job since early 2000 when I applied for my current one and have somehow lost my old resume since then. No problem, it needed rewriting anyway.

I hate writing resumes. I hate “marketing” myself. If I wanted to sell myself I’d go find a street corner to stand on. At least that’s honest. I hate using “action words” (as opposed to regular verbs, which are just fine, it’s hard to communicate without them, eg “This sentence no verb.”). I hate trying to pad my resume with the keywords that some HR drone is going to be grepping for after my resume is OCR’d and dumped in a database with 34595673343 others. I hate trying to walk the fine line between exaggerating my skills and outright lying, I hate worrying that I’m going to be called on something I put in there, and I hate the idea of being that new guy who’s woefully unqualified for the job he BS’d his way into. There’s so much bullshit that goes along with this.

I also hate Microsoft Word (Sarai, you knew this was coming). I swear I don’t understand how this program works. I’m not an idiot, I don’t think, but I’m having trouble doing the most basic things in this program. Things like changing the indentation of lines with bullet points. I got one section the way I want it but the other two that had to match simply would not line up the same. I adjusted the indentation rulers at the top but as soon as I tried to do anything, they’d move right back to where they were. The solution was to delete everything in the two problem sections, set the guides how I wanted them, and type it all back in. The other major problem I had involved one italicized line with a bullet point line immediately under it. The bullet point disappeared and that line changed to italics too, for no readily apparent reason. Changing it back to regular text also changed the line above it, the one that was supposed to be italicized. Italicizing the first line again also changed the second, and so on and so on. I eventually deleted and retyped both lines, which seemed to fix it. Ugh, I thought this thing was supposed to be easy to use? It makes no sense to me. What kills me is that I could have done this whole thing in HTML in about five minutes. I wouldn’t even use Word except that I know some HR departments will insist on it. And once the Word .doc is done it’s easy to save it again as RTF and PDF.


raindrops says:

Have you considered a CV style rather than the standard resume? You can work those hated “action words” in there a bit more comfortably and still describe what you have done and can do without having to shortchange yourself with tiny blurbs for each time/space place you’ve occupied.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of a skill and experience breadth/depth chart. Everyone loves charts, right?

kchrist says:

Conventional wisdom says that resumes should be kept to a single page, and as short and to-the-point as possible. I’d be afraid that something longer would be tossed or just overlooked in favor of a traditional short, bullet-pointed one.

Gotta give them what they want and expect, you know?

kscaldef says:

Conventional wisdom is full of shit on that point.

One page resumes are appropriate for entry-level positions, but when I’m interviewing someone for a senior developer (or any other senior technical blahdy-blah) I would be very hesitant if they didn’t have 2-3 pages of experience. (On the other hand, I interviewed someone yesterday with a 10(!) page resume. That was a bit over the top.)

My resume is written in xmlresume using an Emacs XML editing mode. I can’t really imagine doing it any other way. I can generate (X)HTML (with CSS styling), PDF, plain text, and even DOC if I installed the right libraries.