Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship with Google Docs

I know I've been recommending it a lot lately, but I might have to take back what I've been saying about Google Docs being the end-all-be-all of online resumeland.

The reason that I am suggesting this is because I've been struggling lately with helping people actually FORMAT their resumes. (This has been especially awful when I try to use a Google template, but more about that later).
To start this adventurous post, I'd like to mention that I learned something the other day:

I was talking to my programmer husband, Sam--well, actually venting a bit about my poor attempts to set tabs inside a Google Doc. He looked at me and said, "Google Docs doesn't use set tabs like a Word doc. Pressing the tab key in a gdoc is just like hitting the space bar." That's when I realized that he was completely correct. In fact, that's why, when someone is trying to format the sections of their resume (pay attention to the cursor below the word "Objective"), it can be very frustrating:
It is actually very difficult to line up the second line because the words "Employment History" which might be typed under the word "Objective," take up more space, and if the user is attempting to tab to an alligned position, it just isn't possible. Tabs don't work for this as they would in a Word doc. It is all about using the space bar and eyeballing the formatting, which makes it really hard for the beginning user to format a clean resume.

After playing around with this a bit more, I wondered, hey, maybe it WOULD be easier for my patrons to use one of the Google resume templates.

As you can begin to see, there is quite a variety of different templates to choice from. I decided to try the Classic Resume:

At first it seemed easy. I selected the text that I wanted to change and then, OH NO! What happened?!!
If you look under Jane's name, I was attempting to highlight the incorrect address and replace it with the proper one. This didn't go very smoothly for me as immediately, the spacing began to change. Things only got worse as I tried to type in text in the bullet-pointed areas. The text and formatting started jumping around, and I started to panic!
It quickly turned to this (check out the missing letters as I tried to replace the name of the company Jane had worked for):

Unfortunately, I don't know what to say or do at this point. If I can't figure out the formatting, I certainly do not think that a new user will be able to be successful (without perhaps throwing the mouse against the wall). So where does that leave us? Back to the resume builders?

Right now, I'm not sure. I think that for now, I'll stick with the imperfection of a plain Google Doc, but like a child who has finally realized that her father is not infallible, neither is Google. As hard as it is for me to admit, resumes are difficult no matter what kind of tools we attempt to use.

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