How to not make a résumé in React

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I’ve seen a fair share of tutorial links floating around in newsletters and Twitter and the like recently. They all promise the same thing, namely how to use React to create a résumé.

I mean, I get it. It’s important to have something to build towards when learning a new skill, especially with development.

At first blush a résumé seems like a good thing to build towards: They are relatively small in terms of complexity and can probably use content that already exists on your LinkedIn profile. If you’re looking for a job, it’s also a handy way to double-dip on a skill that is in high demand.

I checked out a few of these tutorials, and after noticing some patterns, I’d like to mention a few things you could do to your résumé instead. I’m not going to link to the ones I tested because I don’t want to give bad advice more exposure than it is already getting.

I can’t even begin to conceive of the kind of mind that, when faced with the question of how to put their résumé/CV online, start by installing a Javascript framework. My CV‘s online (and hey, it got me my current job so that’s awesome) and I think it’s perfectly fabulous. Simple, human-readable, semantic HTML with microformats support. Perfectly readable on anything from lynx upwards and you’d probably get by in telnet. Total size including all images, fonts, style and script is under 140kb, and can all be inlined with a quick command so I can have a single-file version that looks just as great (I use this version to email to people, but I’m thinking I ought to just inline everything, all the time). Under 1kb of my payload is JavaScript, and it’s all progressive enhancement: using an IntersectionObserver (which I’ve written about before) to highlight the current “section” of the document in the menu. Print CSS so it looks right when you put it onto dead trees. Etc. etc.

My entire CV requires a quarter of the bandwidth of just the JavaScript of any of the handful of React-based ones I looked up. The mind boggles. I tried disabling JavaScript on a few of them (even if you believe “nobody uses the Web without JavaScript” – and you’re wrong – then you have to admit that sometimes JavaScript fails) and they did horrific things like not loading images or links not working, as if <img> and <a> tags were something that requires you to npm install html@0.9 before they work..

A simpler, faster, more-accessible, more-secure Web is possible. It’s not even particularly hard. It just requires a little thought. Don’t take a sledgehammer to a walnut: the best developers are the ones who choose the right tool for the job. Your résumé/CV is not a real-time backendless application on a post-relational-backed microservices architecture, or whatever’s “hip” this week. It’s a page that you want to be as easy as possible to read by the widest number of people. Why make life harder for you, and for them?

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