Resumes and Hackdays

January 12, 2011

Stop for a second and consider this question: where is your resume?

If you’re like most people, it’s probably scattered across a half dozen Word documents somewhere on your computer; or maybe your old laptop; actually, you may even have to search the sent mail folder of your email to find it. It’s probably out of date and the thought of updating it and fighting with formatting issues makes you groan. And after all the effort you put into it, it still never looks quite right. It’s 2011: why don’t we have a better solution?

Challenge accepted.

I took on the resume problem as a “hackday” project. LinkedIn holds hackday competitions once per month to encourage employees to work on – well, just about anything. Got a great idea for a new product? Build it. Think some new technology is better than what we currently have? Try it out. Spend a lot of time complaining about some issue? Put your money where your mouth (or keyboard) is and fix it. The format is simple and informal: form teams, code up a storm, and then show off the results to the rest of the company. The best hacks – as determined by a panel of judges (such as the CEO, VP of engineering, and various directors) as well as by popular vote – win prizes and become real products.

The idea for my hackday project was simple: create a tool that will take the contents of you LinkedIn profile and automatically convert them into a resume. The key features:

  • Pre-built templates: resume styles for all occasions, including business, classic, modern, law, and more.

  • Drag and drop: choose which sections are visible in your resume and put them in any order you want.

  • Privacy options: control who can see your resume.

  • Share options: share a link to your resume with others via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • Export: convert the resume to PDF format for emailing or printing.

In short, you can produce a beautiful resume in just a couple of mouse clicks. And since it is online, you always know where to find it! Check out some samples: resume 1, resume 2, and resume 3.

The Resume Builder project won the hackday prize for “most likely to ship”, so the next step was to try it out on our experimental site, LinkedIn Labs. The Labs site lets us experiment not only with new products, but also to new technologies. Building and deploying the Resume Builder gave me a chance to learn and play with an arsenal of best-of-breed tools, including Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Compass/SASS, Git, Capistrano and LinkedIn’s RESTful API’s.

The Resume Builder launched in early December and has seen an overwhelming response. Check out some of the recent reviews from Lifehacker, Mashable, The Next Web and more. Hopefully, it’ll save you from having to dig around your computer for Word documents or battling with formatting issues. Just keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and your resume will be ready the next time a great opportunity comes along - Jim.

Try out LinkedIn's Resume Builder now!