Typesetting a Resume with
Published: May 18, 2022
My first real resume was written freshman year of college in a haste because a friend told me his dad's software company was looking to hire interns. It was a scraped together Word doc that had typos in the headers because ALLCAPSWORDS were considered acronyms and are not subject to the red squiggly spell check. I didn't notice until someone pointed it out to me after sending it out. I didn't get the job.
Updating a resume was always way low on my todo list--the kind of thing that didn't happen until it was needed. So this first resume lived on for years in a similar format. Needless to say, I was never really proud of how my resume looked.
Towards the end of college, I got really into version controlling
my written assignments.
git for code wasn't enough--I wanted to
know, without another proofread, that I hadn't fat fingered a typo
into my essay since the last time I proofread it. So I started
writing my non-technical essays in
LaTeX, which fit well into my
I decided somewhere around then that I would one day rewrite my
LaTeX; however, there was no need at the time, since I
had already accepted a return offer to MathWorks. So I put it on
As I moved to Linux and OpenBSD on personal computers, the desire
docx behind became even greater; but again, updating a
resume just wasn't fun. I had better things to do, like write
Gopher clients using
awk(1) or install Plan 9.
At this point, it's been years since I've touched
LaTeX. I don't
have a compiler installed, nor do I remember the Vim setup I had
going that made for a reasonably fast preview cycle. Could I find
it in my dotfile history? Of
git for everything!). But the effort to port it kept
looking less appealing until a few months ago when it occurred to
me: what if I could write a reasonable looking resume in
I had the experience, and UNIX has a long
history of typesetting. It felt like the perfect blend of:
- Easily versionable
- Plaintext / archivable
- Exportable to PDF
- (IMHO) The right amount of nerdy
So I set out to do it.
See for yourself:
$ curl -sS https://alexkarle.com/resume.7 | mandoc -l
There's of course a PDF version too.
Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out!
Originally I thought I'd try to replicate a more traditional resume. Or at least hide the fact that it's typeset using a man-page tool.
I discovered pretty quickly though that
mandoc(1) is focused on
man pages and less suited for general typesetting. Reading the
roff(7) man page,
things like setting font, margins, etc are pretty limited (which
makes total sense if targeting a terminal more than a printer).
I realized my options were to switch to
groff(1), which looks to
be a more fully featured typesetting tool, or double down on the
For now, I've chosen the latter, mostly because I think it's a cute
hat tip to one of my favorite tools--
In lieu of margin/spacing/font adjustments I was able to keep a relatively compact feeling by:
.br(line breaks) instead of
.Sy(bold font) instead of
.Ss(subsections) in WORK EXPERIENCE
Creating a two column work experience layout using a
-taglist (importantly, the list items themselves can be lists for job description!)
.Bl -tag -width "YYYY-MM - YYYY-MM" -compact .It 2021-10 - Present .Em Senior Software Engineer .Bl -dash -compact .It Wrote custom CLI tooling for bug triage and local development ... .El .El
For the first time maybe ever, I'm happy with how my resume looks.
I had a blast learning some fine-grained
roff(7) commands that
don't show up in regular man-pages even though I removed them in
favor of the classic
SEE ALSO layout.
I am not a lawyer, so I don't know for sure if traditional software
licenses apply to
mdoc(7) resumes, but the MIT license does mention
"associated documentation" so I put one in the comments of the
If you like how it looks, feel free to remix it and make it your own! If you do, I'd appreciate if you keep the link to this post and license in the header, but more importantly, I'd love to see it! My email is in the source :)