Sep 28, 2018 - 05:04 PM
What file format to use for a resume depends on how your resume is likely to be handled once submitted.
The three most common formats are .doc / .docx (MS Word); .pdf (Adobe Acrobat); and .txt (plain text). We recommend you have a copy in all three formats so you’re prepared for any situation.
Your resume is likely to be read by ATS software before reaching a live person. The ATS will scan your resume for keywords, so it needs to be machine-readable and searchable. Though some ATSs can parse .pdfs, the doc / .docx format is readable by all ATSs and is a safer bet.
Next, a human will look at your resume. You worked hard to make your resume look sharp, and you want it to remain preserved by the time it reaches a live person. ATSs can destroy formatting and garble text in .doc files, while .pdfs usually remain intact. Differing versions of MS Word can corrupt doc / .docx files when opening them, while .pdfs are seldom corrupted regardless of Acrobat version. Therefore, if you’re emailing your resume directly to a recruiter or hiring manager, .pdfs are best.
It’s a good idea to paste a .txt version of your resume in the free response field of the ATS so that your resume is keyword-searchable and available if the others become corrupted.
Aug 22, 2018 - 09:04 PM
Before you start, keep in mind that what really matters is the specific employer's preference. If the job posting contains instructions to use a particular format, you need to use that format. Beyond possibly creating logistical problems, using a different format tells employers you do not read carefully or purposely fail to follow instructions.
First, you want an employer to be able to open the resume you attach. This means using a common format such as Word, PDF, or .txt. Second, you want to consider that some file formats can cause your document's appearance to change a lot when the recipient opens it with certain types of programs; a hiring manager opening your resume can also hit a key by mistake and lose information.
Second, you should assess the likelihood of your resume having to go through an applicant tracking system, which may not be able to read image filed or PDFs. For this reason, resume professionals often recommend using Word for online submissions and PDF format when sending your materials as an email.