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XML Formatted Resumes?

In the recent (and very long) thread about applications not following instructions in job postings, there was a lot of talk about sending your resume in Word or plain text.

It made me wonder if anyone was being even more geeky and using XML for resumes.

It seems like a good application for XML. The format of resumes has become very standardized over the years. Enough so that one could probably write a DTD (or schema) for resumes. And being able to parse all the applicants resumes would, I think, make automated filtering easier. And would even make reading resumes easier because you could convert it into whatever format or order you want. But I poked around at some of the XML sites and didn't see anything about standardized DTDs for resumes.

Does anyone know about any efforts in this direction?

Is this incredibly stupid? (be gentle)

Bill Tomlinson
Thursday, October 02, 2003

A great implementation of this would combine the DTD with several style sheets that could render the resume into different "look and feels" for HTML, pdf, Word (use of the new XML file format), etc.  The editor would allow you to edit your resume as a form, tree view, etc., then let you see how it looks rendered to different formats.

I think a lot geeks would pay a few bucks for this, just to avoid the "no, 2 pixels to the right, no, try it in bold, no, make it a bullet point" torture.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Why not send it as XHTML then (which is just an XML vocabulary)? It can be viewed in almost any browser, styled with CSS (and builtin degradation for older browsers), while providing structure and the option to transform into other representations.

Johnny Bravo
Thursday, October 02, 2003

At http://ns.hr-xml.org/2_1/HR-XML-2_1/SEP/Resume.pdf you can find the latest HR-XML specification for a Resume.  The goal is to keep a major version active for 2 years and support it for six.  Many recruiting firms and HR departments are consuming or adopting this specification.  It's actually really thought out well.

Disclaimer - I'm an implementer

K

K
Thursday, October 02, 2003

You may find this interesting:

http://xmlresume.sourceforge.net/

saberworks
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Take a look at http://xmlresume.sourceforge.net  -- it has
an implementation for XML resume format. It has converters
for PDF, text, and rtf formats.

Ramarao Kanneganti
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Thanks for the link to HR-XML.  Companies have built all kinds of strange internal databases to hold resume data but I've yet to see any sensible input mechanism (I recall the words of forboding about submitting to some companies who had an OCR scanner - any horizontal line would be read as the end of a page, turning your one coherent resume into 2 or more that would surely get deleted for lack of information).  This really makes sense. Of course it relies on having some reliable mechanism for generating the documents in the first place.

As to the question about sending a resume in XHTML format, that's nice because you can style it differently, but it really misses the point about being able to use XSLT on it to transform it to an internal standard.  How am I, the company, supposed to know that your cascading stylesheet class of .class0001 is really an indication of a certifcation name?  Using XML with a DTD I'm assured of what I'm looking at.

Furthermore, even if I receive a dozen different resume formats I should be able to use the DTD (or preferably the RelaxNG shema) to transform it into something I prefer internally.  While XHTML is an XML document, XHTML + CSS isn't the same as XML + DTD.

Lou
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Thanks for the pointers the XML resume resources.

Okay, now the big question, if you saw a job posting for requesting that you submit your resume using one of these publically available DTDs, would you bother?

Or the flip side, if you were an employer looking to hire someone, would you ask for this?

Bill Tomlinson
Thursday, October 02, 2003

I thought DTD's were dead.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, October 02, 2003

"if you saw a job posting for requesting that you submit your resume using one of these publically available DTDs, would you bother?"

No I would not.

"Or the flip side, if you were an employer looking to hire someone, would you ask for this?"

No I would not.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, October 02, 2003

"I thought DTD's were dead."

XSD's can be a performance bear.  If a DTD is sufficient for the task at hand, the overhead of processing an XSD instead can bring your app to its knees (depending on how much validation you need to do, etc.).

Or am I just missing out on some really great, not resource intensive XSD validators out there?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Again, the killer app is to write a really spiffy (but doesn't need to be too complex) tool that facilitates writing the CONTENT of your resume without specifying any formatting.  The app then generates the file format you want with one of several predefined, professionally looking styles.  More styles can always be added later.

The point isn't necessarily to deliver XML to HR, but to separate the graphic design part of resume building from the content editing.

Has anyone done this?  Do any of the projects mentioned have anything like this?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, October 02, 2003

for the low price of $20
(first site i found on google)

http://www.web-resume.org/

apw
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Why would using XHTML (i.e. XML) prevent you using XSLT?

The point of XHTML is that you describe the STRUCTURE of the document and the appearance is determined by CSS.

Walter Rumsby
Thursday, October 02, 2003

I wrote my resume using XML. I do not have a schema at hand, but it has a format like this:

<res:resume
        xmlns:res="http://alexlechuck.com/schemas/resume"
        period-begin="199601"
        period-end="200112"
>

    <res:contact-information>
        <res:contact-information-item>
            <res:name>Name</res:name>
            <res:contents>Alexander Chalucov</res:contents>
        </res:contact-information-item>
        <res:contact-information-item>
            <res:name>Phone (mobile)</res:name>
...............
    <res:summary>
        <res:summary-item>
            Over 5 years of experience as a <b>software engineer</b>, over 3 years in a
            <b>senior</b> position.
        </res:summary-item>
        <res:summary-item>
            Involved in the full life cycle of application development: preparation of the <b>initial
            offer</b>, gathering <b>user requirements</b>, conceptual and physical <b>design</b>,
...............
    <res:project title="Land Use Planning System" date-begin="199603" date-end="199701">
        <res:portfolio href="professional_portfolio_landuse">
            To see screenshots taken from the applications developed in this project, press here.
        </res:portfolio>
        <res:position>software engineer</res:position>
        <res:background>
            The development of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the Land Use Plans of
            the fourteen municipalities of the Black Sea coast was assigned to GIS Invest Ltd. by the
            Ministry of Regional Development and Construction.
        </res:background>
        <res:technical-background>
            The system allows the storage and editing of land use plans digitized at different
            scale factors, creation of maps, queries. It is implemented in Windows
...............
        <res:project-participation>
            <res:project-participation-item>
                Customizing PC Arc/Info interface in SML.
            </res:project-participation-item>
            <res:project-participation-item>
                Implementing procedures for ensuring topological correctness in PC Arc/Info.
            </res:project-participation-item>
            <res:project-participation-item>
                Implementing Import/Export procedures in Visual C++ using MFC, ODBC and SQL.
            </res:project-participation-item>
        </res:project-participation>
        <res:detail detail-name="hardware" value-name="x86" active="true"/>
        <res:detail detail-name="os" value-name="win" active="true"/>
        <res:detail detail-name="lang" value-name="avenue"/>
        <res:detail detail-name="lang" value-name="c++" active="true"/>
        <res:detail detail-name="lang" value-name="sml" active="true"/>
        <res:detail detail-name="lang" value-name="vb"/>


It's not very structured but allows me to create:

1. Different looks of the resume - compare:
http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_3_2.html
and
http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_3_1.html

2. Resumes with different levels of detail - compare:

http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_0_1.html
and
http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_5_1.html

3. List of used technologies:
http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_detail_1.html

4. Graph of what technology is used when:
http://www.alexlechuck.com/_html/professional_resume_detail_hardware_1.html
(notice the links back to the projects)

5. Links into the portfolio page rom some of the projects

Of course what I did was done with the purpose of:
a) impressing the potential readers.
b) playing with XSLT.
and it's definitely not worth the effort otherwise.
While a) more or less failed, b) was fun. And if there is a standard DTD, I might write another XSLT some day.
I am actually considering using Apache Forrest to produce PDFs but right now I don't really have the time and motivation to do it.

Alexander Chalucov
Thursday, October 02, 2003

The problem with using XHTML in place of XML in this case is that there's nothing in the DTD for XHTML that lets my parser know that you're using <em> to indicate LEVEL, or <ul> to indicate qualifications.  XML lets you convey that quite fully.

Of course you could write an XSLT that would transform that XML to XHTML and then use CSS to make it all formatted for conveyance over the web.

Lou
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Imposing the unnecessary complexity of xml on something that is essentially an information task would be a 100 percent reliable indicator that the employer is a complete bunch of turkeys.


Friday, October 03, 2003

Dear Blank Space,
                            You don't get it, do you? The poster is asking about XML because it makes it easy for him to transform his resume into any employer's individual format.

                              The idea is one that needs to be looked at by each job sector separately, since each job sector has its own specific requirments as to wha the fields should be, but both as a recruiter and a job applicant I can see that the idea has a future.

Stephen Jones
Friday, October 03, 2003

Ramarao Kanneganti wrote:
Take a look at http://xmlresume.sourceforge.net  -- it has
an implementation for XML resume format. It has converters
for PDF, text, and rtf formats.

Seconded. I've actually used this, and while it takes a bit of fiddling about to get it to work properly, it does work, and I've used it successfully to create HTML, PDF and plain text from the same source.

If you want to see sample output, you can look at my CV at
http://www.furthermore.org.uk/archives/000007.html 

Alright, it is a plug, but I didn't know someone was going to start a thread on this topic, honest.

Matt
Friday, October 03, 2003

Hmm. I can't make the link to my site work when I click it. I seem to be jinxed. Am I doing something obviously wrong?

Also, I meant to say, the XML resume people are looking at how to interoperate with HR-XML which seems to be more of a HR industry initiative.

Matt
Friday, October 03, 2003

HR_XML is definitely more of an HR industry specification.  However the specification is very well thought out and encompasses anything that you would expect to show up in a resume.  You get a few benefits from consuming that specification even if all you want to do is transform your own resume for display. 

The fact that you do not have to do any critical thinking when turning your resume into XML is pretty nice. All of that thinking has been done for you by people who specialize in the field.  Why would you want to reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? 

If you find yourself dealing with an HR department that consumes that specification there are a couple of good things that can happen.  Most of these groups have some sort of parsing software that takes a resume and breaks it up into schema parts for searching and recruiting purposes.  You will be able to deliver your resume in a format that doesn't need to be machine parsed allowing you to better fill those elements.

Even if you do not know they consume the specification my guess is that your XSL transformed output will parse better because it is based on the specification that is being consumed.  Either of those should give you a leg up in the hiring process.

K

K
Friday, October 03, 2003

I browsed around the HR-XML resume site, looking for the xsd. I found it, but AFAICT they only offer the xsd in the form of two dozen individual object schemas, with no single download available.

Maybe they're not ready for primetime, maybe I'm missing something, but this looks to me like typical committee BS - serving their bureaucratic ends without really providing a usable product.

Thoughts?

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 03, 2003

Philo,
Yes, I'm inclined to agree. HR XML may eventually become a defacto industry standard, and anything you use as a CV producer may have to be able to generate something that conforms to their schema to send to an HR department / agent, but at the moment, if you actually want to write a CV in XML you are going to need to generate actual human readable documents from it, and XML resume is the only thing I've seen that gives you those capabilities.

Or roll your own of course, but (apart from getting some experience with XML technology) I can't see why you would want to.

Matt
Friday, October 03, 2003

Heh, after more thought I've realized I should've expected nothing less from an HR group - completely losing sight of who the actual customer is and focusing on their own political needs/agenda first and foremost.

My point - HRXML looks okay, and I want to try it out, but I don't want to sit here and right-click/save 24 different documents to make the thing work.

Would it have been so very difficult to offer a single .zip containing everything and/or an omnibus xsd with all the object definitions?

Once again, I'd be happy for someone to point out where I'm misunderstanding something...

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 03, 2003

That single zip is available to registered members but for some bizzare is not publicly accessible.  Go here http://ns.hr-xml.org/2_0/HR-XML-2_0/index_ns.html if you want to avoid the registration process

I might be K
Friday, October 03, 2003

[sigh]

Patently obvious it was designed by HR types. The resume schema has:
Telephone, Mobile, Fax, Pager
Each is maxoccurs=1

So you can't have, for example, Office and home phone numbers.  Why not have a PhoneNumber entity with an identifier and maxoccurs=unbounded?

(Incidentally, this is my #1 "issue" with HR applications - they ALWAYS want discrete phone number fields instead of going with a softer 1-many number field with a type. And they ALWAYS regret it later)

Problem #2: The Address entity is maxoccurs=1. So you can only keep one address in your resume.

This spec isn't going to make it without serious help.

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 03, 2003

I agree with Philo, the HR-XML effort looks to be badly infected with committee-itis. (Sorry, K.) The XMLresume one seems more, well, ready to go.

It's like the old IETF maxim: rough consensus and working code are what makes standards.

Bill Tomlinson
Friday, October 03, 2003

> You don't get it, do you? The poster is asking about XML because it makes it easy for him to transform his resume into any employer's individual format.

Dear Stephen Jones,

Having researched and developed widely used HR software, I am acutely aware of the problems of blunt data formats.

Any widespread adoption of XML would be accompanied by recruiters and employers imposing formats on job seekers to an even greater extent than they currently do. This is not of course necessarily the case with XML, but that's what would happen.

This would exacerbate widespread problems in the recruiting process, including marginalising good candidates. 


Friday, October 03, 2003

If recrutiers impose formats on job seekers they don't get applicants.

In Spain a few years ago they decided to insist on hand-written resumes so they could get your handwriting examined by the local graphologist. No company in the States would dare do that, for the simple reason that Spanish employment was running at 25% and the figure in the States is 5%.

More importantly, companies often impose hurdles simply so you will fall down at the first fence. It's an arbitrary way of cutting down on an excessive number of applicants.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, October 04, 2003

Not to mention the fact that graphology is snake oil...

"More importantly, companies often impose hurdles simply so you will fall down at the first fence. It's an arbitrary way of cutting down on an excessive number of applicants."

Whack-a-mole resume filtering. It's a way to prefilter based on a criteria the reviewer feels comfortable is "justifiable."

Which see: the cover-letter thread. ;-)

Philo

Philo
Saturday, October 04, 2003

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