Generate tailored résumés with Spin

Recruiters might ask me to change my résumé, and by “might” I mean “always.” Some­times it’s reorder­ing sec­tions. Oth­er times it’s giv­ing them a Word doc­u­ment instead of a PDF. This hap­pened enough times to jus­ti­fy at least some lev­el of automa­tion, so I wrote Spin, a CLI that gen­er­ates résumés tai­lored to dif­fer­ent audi­ences. Spin con­verts a super­set of Mark­down Extra to HTML5. So if I made fur­ni­ture on the side, I can gen­er­ate two résumés with $ spin ./woodworker ./programmer.

The woodworker and programmer pro­files are writ­ten in Mark­down Extra mixed with @ direc­tives. The direc­tives define sec­tions and expe­ri­ences with infor­ma­tion like start and end dates. Check out the exam­ples in Spin’s source.

Mak­ing résumés com­piled prod­ucts yield some ben­e­fits:

  • Code reuse. Two pro­files may share let­ter­heads, con­tact info and sec­tions. Corol­lary to this, chang­ing a résumé to entice Agile Cube Farm LLC doesn’t have to change the résumé I lat­er send to Hour­Long Standup Co.
  • Con­sol­i­da­tion. I can write every­thing I ever did in my life in one place. I may now jour­nal my qual­i­fi­ca­tions freely in world’s most obses­sive­ly struc­tured diary.
  • It’s free. Spin is not friend­ly to peo­ple who aren’t used to cod­ing. But all of the résumé man­age­ment tools I’ve seen so far cost mon­ey, are down, don’t sup­port pro­files, or require more labor than I want to put in. I got every­thing I want with Spin for free after the ini­tial time invest­ment.

Implementation notes

I picked PHP to churn this out quick­ly and gen­er­ate doc­u­ments in HTML5 to allow an inter­me­di­ary step for styling and script­ing for those who care enough. I didn’t want to use PHP­Word because my use of it would be too opin­ion­at­ed and would force con­sumers to fuss with PHP exten­sions. Pan­doc works just fine thank youverymuch.

One can use Spin to main­tain a few pro­files and con­vert every out­put doc­u­ment to DOCX and PDF using Pan­doc. My qual­i­fi­ca­tions serve as a real-world exam­ple of this. The base HTML doc­u­ments them­selves may also have extra fea­tures that make them more pleas­ant for view­ing on a brows­er.

If Spin helps you, please con­sid­er buy­ing me a beer!

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