fuzzy notepad

CVs and file extensions

(This article has been translated into Czech by Alex Novak—thanks!)

Like many employed engineers, I get roped into the hiring process from time to time. I don’t actually screen résumés, but I do grade some code tests, and the résumé is sent along with it—in case I find myself desperately seeking an explanation for receiving five hundred lines of JavaScript arranged as haiku.

In glancing over these résumés, I’ve observed a pattern: I’m far quicker to judge the file extension than the contents. It’s easy to lie or exaggerate in a document, but habits are far more difficult to hide. If you’re the kind of person who reaches for Microsoft Word, you’re still going to do that when writing a résumé.

I expressed this to Twitter, and not only did I get several people asking what formats I preferred, but I’m drowning in a deluge of suggestions for ridiculous résumé formats. Let us collect some here.

(Disclaimer: I don’t speak for my employer yadda yadda.)

docx: What the hell is this? Are you even a programmer? I haven’t had an office suite installed for years and I don’t plan to start now just to find out what dumb school you went to. I may open it as a ZIP and glance over the text nodes in word/document.xml; hope there’s no important formatting in here.

doc: This isn’t much better, and your office suite is ancient besides, but at least I can throw this at antiword and have a good chance of being able to read it.

pdf: Okay, sure. I apologize in advance for the horrendous mangling your hand-crafted masterpiece will experience when it encounters everyone’s HR systems from 1993.

pdf with only glyph strokes and no text information: Fuck you.

pdf clearly generated from LaTeX: Instant boner. Are you sure you’re in comp sci and not math? Maybe you want a LISP shop.

tex: Hired.

rtf: You’re either an idiot or as frustrated with the lack of light document formatting formats as I am. But it doesn’t matter because I still can’t read it.

txt: NICE, as long as it contains either RFC-style genuine plain text, Markdown, or ornate Unicode box-drawing decorations with emoji insets. Suggestions for appropriate monospace fonts a plus.

odt: This is still a pain in the ass for me to read, but kudos for trying, and double kudos for using a file format no HR department on the planet will recognize.

ps: Nice try, but I’m not a printer. Cross your fingers and hope Inkscape gets it right.

html: There is something very fundamentally wrong with emailing HTML as an attachment. If you’re so familiar with HTML then maybe you should get, like, a website.

xls, ods: Allow me to respond with this chart of how much I hate you.

xps: You are out of your goddamn mind. I’m intrigued.

xml + xsl: I’ve had enough XSLT for one lifetime, thanks.

link to a shared document on Google Drive: It appears you work for Google and they won’t let you have a real computer, only a Chromebook. They’re probably paying you more than anyone else can, so it doesn’t much matter whether we make an offer.

py: Putting your entire program in a single file is poor form. This should be a bdist egg.

exe: Acceptable only if this is a crack for expensive obscure software released in the past 15 days. I will also be judging you based on the sweet trance music that plays while it’s running.

swf: Unless this is a vim swap file, get the fuck out. If it’s a vim swap file, you direly need to delete/recover some old files, and then get the fuck out.

iso: I’m aware of precisely one psychopath who has created a disk image that boots into the OS he wrote and displays his PDF résumé. No other form of .iso submission is acceptable.

c: goddammit kevin

jpg: Now you’re just fucking with me. A text-heavy image should be a PNG.

anything that 0-days my machine: You can have my job.

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