How to Send Your Resume: as a PDF or Word Document?

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How to Send Your Resume: as a PDF or Word Document?

Once you’ve perfected your resume and are ready to apply for a job, you may wonder whether to send your resume in PDF or Word format. Though there are advantages and disadvantages of using both, you should generally send your resume as a PDF.

The most important thing is to follow the employer’s instructions. How to send your resume is often clearly stated in the job posting. In these cases, follow the guidelines to the letter. If they ask for a Microsoft Word resume, send a Word resume, if they ask for a PDF (or if they don’t specify), send a PDF resume.

There were a number of reasons why it was better to send a Word resume in the past. However, most of them no longer apply.

It is important to make the best possible first impression when you send your resume. PDFs simply look more professional and are less problematic.

Using a resume builder is an effective way of creating attractive resumes whether you use a .pdf or .doc resume format. There are numerous resume templates to choose from and they save you valuable time.

Advantages of sending a PDF resume


One of the big advantages of sending your resume as a PDF is it ensures all the formatting remains the same. The document will appear as you designed it, whether it is opened on a smartphone, laptop or any other device.

This is not the case with a resume sent as a Word document. Nowadays many PCs and laptops use alternative softwares and in addition, people don’t have the same versions of Word and they use different file types (such as .doc or .docx.). These inconsistencies can seriously mess with the formatting.

Often the margins are different sizes, a one-page resume can spill over onto the next page, fonts can appear differently (as the program may not have the font you chose), or even worse, your resume may just appear as undecipherable code.

If you’ve spent valuable time working on your resume, focusing on the resume format and layout, it would be tragic for an employer to open a messy resume instead of your well-produced resume. It gives entirely the wrong impression.

Why some recruiters prefer Word resumes

Recruitment companies often ask for resumes as they can be edited. As they don’t want the employer to contact you until they have secured the contract, they remove your contact information and add their logo before sharing your resume.

They may also tidy up your resume by correcting mistakes and adding keywords. If you’ve carefully written your resume this shouldn’t be necessary. Make sure you avoid the most common resume mistakes and read these tips for writing a winning resume.

ATS (Automatic Tracking Systems)

An ATS is a type of software which scans resumes to make sure they contain enough keywords. In the past, ATSs struggled to read PDF resumes. However, ATSs have improved a lot over the last 5 years and more advanced versions of the software can read PDFs.

When a resume is written clearly and properly, then PDFs are no problem. Read this guide on writing a resume for applicant tracking systems to avoid the most common pitfalls. If an employer is using older, more basic software then they will specify in the job posting that you should send your resume as a Word file.

Whichever format you use to send your resume to an employer, make sure it is up-to-scratch. Resumes should be clear, concise, and well-structured. Make sure you understand how to write a resume and also don’t forget to include a cover letter if required.