Introducing PPResume, a LaTeX-Based Resume Builder
Welcome to PPResume (opens in a new tab), a LaTeX-based resume builder that helps people create beautifully typeset resumes in minutes.
Years ago, my friends asked me to help them with their resumes, since I am good with typesetting, especially LaTeX, I was happy to help. I have helped about a dozen people typeset their resumes in LaTeX, and most of them are quite satisfied with the high-quality, beautifully typeset resumes.
To my surprise, some of them still come back to me after several years and ask me to help them update their resumes again when they are looking for a new opportunity.
In 2016, I opened an e-commerce shop to sell service for typesetting resumes in LaTeX. I got a few customers, made some money, and realized that if you could offer people high-quality, beautifully typeset resumes, there could be a market for it.
However, I did not have enough time to create a service for this idea until I was laid off in November 2022. Since I have mastered all the necessary skills to make this idea a reality, I decided to put it into action.
The motivation behind this project is to create a resume builder that can help people create beautifully typeset resumes in minutes.
Here comes the first question: there are tons (opens in a new tab) of resume builders on the market, why another one?
List of commercial resume builders on the market:
- Resume.io (opens in a new tab)
- Standard Resume (opens in a new tab)
- Zety (opens in a new tab)
- Novoresume (opens in a new tab)
- VisualCV (opens in a new tab)
- Kickresume (opens in a new tab)
- ResumePuppy (opens in a new tab)
List of some free, open source resume builders as well:
- Reactive Resume (opens in a new tab)
- JSON Resume (opens in a new tab)
- open-resume (opens in a new tab)
- resumake.io (opens in a new tab)
Most resume builders on the market put a heavy bet on UI/UX, however, their PDF output is not very good — if not quite bad — because they create PDFs using the browser's print function, essentially taking screenshots of some HTML nodes. I am not saying that you can not create beautifully typeset resume PDFs with HTML/CSS, but it's not easy. In a word, a well-designed UI/UX is important, but what is delivered to the recruiter is the resume PDF, not the UI/UX of the resume builders.
In fact, when it comes to typesetting documents, you have several options:
- Microsoft Word
- Adobe InDesign
All these options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Microsoft Word may be the most popular word processing software that is often used to create documents such as letters, reports, and resumes. It is very easy to use, making it accessible to most people. However, it has limited design capabilities and is not good at creating complex layouts.
Adobe InDesign, on the other hand, is a professional desktop publishing software designed specifically for creating print and digital publications such as magazines, brochures, and eBooks. It offers more advanced design features and layout tools than Microsoft Word. However, the learning curve is so steep that most people have no idea how to use it.
HTML/CSS is widely used and supported by all modern browsers on all platforms, so you do not need to install anything to view HTML documents. However, if you want to create HTML documents, you need some kind of coding — wait, I just want to create a resume and you are asking me to learn coding? Are you kidding me?
LaTeX (opens in a new tab) is a professional typesetting software that allows you to create documents and produce extremely high-quality, beautifully typeset PDFs. It is widely used in academia and research, especially in mathematics, engineering, and computer science. However, it has a very steep learning curve and is very difficult for beginners to learn and use. In a word, it makes little sense to learn LaTeX just to create a resume.
Here are two example resumes. The first was created with RXResume (opens in a new tab), which uses HTML/CSS to create PDFs, while the second was created with PPResume (opens in a new tab), which uses LaTeX instead. Feel the difference yourself and see which version is more balanced, elegant and beautiful in terms of typesetting.
If you have a keen eye and prefer beautifully typeset resumes with extremely high quality PDF output, then I would recommend LaTeX. However, as mentioned earlier, LaTeX is notorious for its steep learning curve, it is quite difficult to get started. Looking for a LaTeX-based resume builder instead? Too bad, there are very few LaTeX-based resume builders on the market.
As far as I know, before PPResume, ResumePuppy (opens in a new tab) is the only commercial resume builder on the market that uses LaTeX as its typesetting engine. However, it provides only 5 sections for resumes, such as "Personal Info", "Experience", "Projects", "Education", and "Skills", which may not be enough in many cases, while PPResume provides at least 14 types of sections that could cover most cases.
resumake.io (opens in a new tab) is an open source resume builder that uses LaTeX as its typesetting engine as well. However, although resumake.io (opens in a new tab) was started in early 2017, it does not appear to have been actively developed for some time, and the product is far from finished in my opinion.
Therefore, if you are looking for a resume builder that output top-notch PDF with exceptional quality, you have very limited choices as of now.
Let us go back to first principles in writing a resume. A resume is a piece of paper that shows information about you, your education, work experience, skills, etc. The goal of a resume is to help you get an offer from an organization (be it a company, a school, a research institute, etc.)
Writing a resume is a very lengthy and tedious process. It usually takes several hours to write a resume and days to make it as perfect as possible. It takes so long because the resume plays a big role when you are looking for a new opportunity. A carefully crafted, beautifully typeset resume can help you stand out from the crowd and get an offer. Many people revise their resume letter by letter, word by word, line by line to make sure it does not contain any mistakes, just to pass the baseline. If you want your resume to stand out, a clean, elegant, and beautiful typesetting would be a big plus.
The process of writing a resume can be divided into three steps, and each step requires different assistance:
- guidelines for writing a resume
- spell and grammar check
- LinkedIn profile import
- fine-tuned typography
- layout adjustments (font size, margins, colors, etc.)
- high-quality PDF output
- ATS-friendly resume
- integration of job boards
- resume hosting with analytics (views, downloads, etc.)
PPResume will focus on typesetting first, and we will gradually add support for content and delivery in a progressive manner.
In December 2022, I wrote the first line of code for PPResume. Here's what it looks like at the end of the second week, a dashboard with a form on the left and a resume preview container on the right:
This is what it looks like after 8 months of hard work (as of November 2023), still a dashboard with a form on the left and a resume preview container on the right, but this time the dashboard is much more powerful.
As mentioned above, PPResume provides an intuitive and powerful dashboard that can guide you through the tedious process of writing resumes.
PPResume has real-time input validation that helps avoid common, simple low-level mistakes. All form fields are validated as you type.
Filling out long forms is tedious but not that hard in PPResume. PPResume offers a variety of input controls, such as Select to choose an option, Month Picker to enter start and end dates, Multi Select to enter keywords or courses, and Rich Text Editor to enter many text. You can enter a variety of information with peace.
PPResume also provides you with powerful and intuitive structural editing to refine your resume, allowing you to duplicate, delete and rearrange items with ease.
Last but not least, PPResume gives you options to customize the layout, such as font size and margins.
Once we have a solid foundation for top tier typesetting with high quality PDF output, we will put more effort on content and delivery.
For example, we could integrate grammarly (opens in a new tab) to help users improve syntax and grammar. We could also integrate AIGC tools to generate content based on user's prompt to give users more inspiration.
Stay tuned and give PPResume a try (opens in a new tab) for free!