Zameer Manji

Your Resume Should be in LaTeX

Created On:

Having your resume in LaTeX has many advantages over creating it in HTML or a Microsoft Word document.

Version Control

Unlike a resume created with Microsoft Word, a LaTeX document can be placed in version control. The content can be diffed across reversions and can placed on github. In addition, version control lets you achieve multiple versions by using branching instead of creating different files like resume-disqus.doc and resume-facebook.doc.

Focus on Content

If I were to create my resume with HTML I would have a lot of time fighting with CSS trying in vain to get my resume to look appropriate. Since it is difficult to do important things such as center text vertically, I would have wasted a lot of time focusing on formatting my resume as opposed to improving the content.

LaTeX really lets me focus on the content of my resume instead of the formatting because the typesetting engine deals with 95% of the formatting for me and does a superb job. An example of this great formatting is that LaTeX is designed to prevent additional pages that only contain one or two lines of text. It will instead employ a series of tweaks to the resume to ensure everything fits on one page. I have found that it is very common with an HTML resume to spend hours tweaking CSS or the content to ensure it fits on one page.

High Quality PDF Output

The output of LaTeX is a PDF and as mentioned before, really well formatted. Compared to resumes created in Microsoft Word or HTML a LaTeX based resume has many additional features that increase the overall quality of the document.

This means that a LaTeX based resume will stand out from a pile of resumes that use 12pt Times New Roman because it will have justified text, kerning and other aesthetically pleasing elements. In addition, all of this output is placed into a PDF document which gives your resume additional advantages.

A PDF can be viewed on any modern operating system and device and it is guaranteed to look the same on all of them. Your resume won't be at the mercy of browser quirks, missing fonts, or unsupported CSS features. A PDF is also designed for printing and guarantees your resume will look the same on paper.

Basic Template

The full source of my resume is on my github and you can use it to get started with your own. However, if the look of my resume isn't what you want, you can get started with the following packages:

\documentclass[10pt,letterpaper]{article}
\usepackage[margin=0.75in]{geometry}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{microtype}
\usepackage{hyperref}
\usepackage{tgpagella}
\usepackage{enumitem}
\pagestyle{empty}

Most of these packages are useful default packages for any LaTeX document but a few of these are very important for a resume. First the hyperref package is essential for creating links, it provides a \href macro that allows your PDF to have clickable links when viewed on a computer. The tgpagella package sets the font to TeX Gyre Pagella which is a very nice serif font. The microtype package adds many little niceties to the output of the document such as optimizing interword spacing and adding additional kerning. The empty page style removes page numbers which are not appropriate for a resume.

Other Resources

For more information on LaTeX you should really read the wikibook. If you have any questions the TeX.SE site has all the answers.