Why My Resume Isn’t In MS Word

A friend of mine poked me the other day about a position doing some mobile app consulting that I thought it at least a good idea towards that I’d consider seeing where it would lead. Not that I’m not happy where I am, but, it never hurts to look, especially when the opportunity is one that comes to you. So, my friend contacted the recruiter who then asked me for a version of my resume that’s is in the Microsoft (MS) Word document format (.doc or .docx depending on which version of the software you have). I replied very simply that I don’t have an MS Word version of my resume and that I have no intentions to change its format to MS Word. Of course, that gets into a neat discussion with some recruiters towards what their systems and processes allow versus intentions of the job pursuant (me). I think its just better to add this to the rest of the series of articles I’ve already written that describe this “how I work” posture.

Applying Lessons: Microformats

Many years ago, definitely more than half a decade, and probably not quite a full 10 years ago, as a website designer and [learning] website developer, I came across the idea of microformats. These were snippets of HTML that could be embedded into webpages that would then make a document easier to read my bots, machines, and different content management systems (CMS). Iniitally, my thinking of these microformats is that they would be used to make web browsers smarter, but that’s something that’s for all intents and purposes has gone away except for a few niche moments (Mobile Safari recognizing phone numbers and package shipping codes, some versions of the Webkit browser recognizing addresses and giving a link to an accompanying web app, etc.). Nevertheless, I insisted on learning how to navigate these formats and began using this liberally in various design projects.

Such activities evolved into me creating an HTML (webpage) version of my resume. For a long time, this was something that merely sat on the side of my projects as something that I could use to experiment on some aspect of HTML and CSS knowledge. Given that many of the projects that I worked on were covered by non-disclosure agreements, having this resume as a dynamic/living portfolio made all kinds of good sense.

And then I got away from using MS Office on a daily basis and the HTML version became the primary. I’d do things such as add more content (turning it into a curriculum vitae summary of all of my professional work). I’d add a print-specific view to the CSS so that those who needed to have it as a PDF could print it as such using their own PDF creation software and see just what’s necessary, and even at one point there was an embedded business card for the mobile-only viewer. With HTML, there was a lot that I could do that I couldn’t with just MS Word or PDF and I made sure to take advantage of that.

Most recently, the resume has been given a public-facing URL, and is nested within my other personal web properties both as part of my personal branding exercise, and as another item to track. You see, one of the things that I noticed about having my resume on various websites and in many formats for various recruiters is that I couldn’t keep track of where the information went. I knew who I sent it to, but not how it might have gone further than that. So, in making it public-facing, I added some domain analytics to the resume so that I can track where folks are coming from when they hit the URL directly (for example, such as when they click on it from my domain landing page). I’ve also taken the extra step in adding code from Google Analytics separate from the code that I use on my other web properties to analyze what else happens to the document when it leaves a normal view. For example, there are some folks who might pass the link or file along, and that code is embedded within the page, and so its more like a direct view, rather than something of an off-shoot from another web property.

If it sounds like I’m flipping the model that many folks have in mind when it comes to having a resume and then just sending it out, then yep, that’s the truth. As I’ve said in other articles, I would rather that my data streams be managed by me, not just by a web company with a terms of service listing that I might need a few nights of reading to dissect.

Why Be Locked Into MS Word

Technologically, there’s not really much of a reason to be locked into using MS Word for a resume format. Yes, I understand that its a format that many content management systems for recruiters love – but in this day and age, to have that restriction is lazy coding on the side of the maker of that CMS. And then that points to the inability for the recruiting company to make web-accessible formats, open data management, and smoother content processes between prospect, recruiter, and hiring company as a part of their firm’s DNA of doing business. Oh, they might be good at placing people, but they are horrible at being data scientists with all of the data they collect – its in a format that too locked for them to even pay attention to all of that good stuff that makes for faster, more fulfilled, and more through hires.

There are a few folks that like to use LinkedIn profiles for resumes. That makes sense, and for a long time, I considered just letting that service manage my personal profile (its replaced email for me now). But, I realized yet another thing – I don’t know who’s looking at me in detail until I pay them. I could build the analytics that would tell me much of that and enhance my profile or let them do it. LinkedIn does work for the skills and activity referrals. But, there’s something that could be hacked into what I’m doing as well. It would just be a matter of making or not making such data public.

Now, I could go about taking the HTML that I have, and putting that into MS Word. But it would require:

  • (a) investing in a Windows/Mac computer to then invest in MS Office to then copy/paste/format the content or
  • (b) move my resume into Office Web (MS’s SkyDrive), then deal with the formatting, lack of ownership on my part, but manageable sharing; and then manage two versions of my resume.

Present: Resume As Advocurrency

As it stands right now, I’ve got one resume, accessible via one URL, that sits in one place, that gets managed only via the mobile devices that I’ve authorized to manage it, and is tracked by two competing analytic services on two ends of the viewing. If anything, that’s nothing like the world of “give them the content and let them figure your best position out” that I grew up in. It sounds more like a person who’s more cognizant of the data he produces, and how formatting it for the best picture of him means that he’s learned the formatting, content, and connections that matter the most (Jonathan MacDonald nailed it with advocurrency). If a company doesn’t want a person that’s solid enough in that, then perhaps they do need to stick to the stack of MS Word files and the people that await on the other side of those templates.

As for me, I’ll see you and that opportunity in tomorrow