HBO or Netflix?

PDF resume or Word resume?

The struggle is real.

You have chosen the best resume template. Updated your resume, highlighted your best negotiable skills and run it through a spell check.

Now the only question is how do you submit it.

After you have got your resume ready, do not send it right away!
Stop and check the final formatting.

Is it in a PDF format or a WORD format?

The answer is not at all complicated. In this blog post, we will help you make the best decision.

Before you send your resume, make sure it looks professional. Check out Hiration's professional Online resume builder. It provides 20+ free prefessional resume templates to make your resume stand out.

We shall be covering the following topics.

Why is choosing PDF or Word so important?

The companies receive a lot of job applications for an average single job opening. To sort these thousands of applications, they use certain softwares. Because, well, recruiters are also humans!

These softwares are called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software. They sort the resumes by relevance, checking them for keywords for the job description.

If you include all the relevant keywords on your resume, ATS will rank it higher.

To stand out, you should carefully tailor your resume to fit the job description. Add the right keywords to your resume to be above everyone else.

Hiring managers usually go for the names that appear on the top of the results. This is why only a certain people are able to grab the interview.

So where does the PDF resume and Word resume fit in?

The catch here is that:

ATS software is not able to read any special formatting. Therefore it is critical for you to choose your PDF or Word format rightly.

Email your resume right. Do not forget to include the correct format to the hiring manager.

Need some directions to email your resume? Check out our comprehensive guide to emailing resumes with free samples and examples here.

Some older versions of ATS software have problems reading PDF. It is also critical about the specific resume fonts. You need to make sure that you have an ATS-friendly version of your resume.

Confused about which resume fonts to use and which to avoid? Can not tell which paired fonts look better for your job profile? Check out this blog post by Hiration that discusses 10+ modern font styles for your resume.

But how do you know if your resume will have to pass through ATS or not?

Many large companies are most likely to use some form of software. If you are applying to a large firm, there is a good chance that the company is processing your resume information with the help of an ATS software.
Smaller enterprises or startups are less likely to use the software. However, do not take the chance.

If there is a big possibility that your resume is going to pass through an ATS, we have got some amazing hacks for you.
Remember the following rules about formatting:

  • No charts, graphs, images, text boxes, or special formatting should be used.
  • No special symbols to separate information. Unless they are standard symbols on a keyboard (- / *).
  • Upload a resume in a Word file (.doc / .docx). Do not prefer a PDF resume, RTF, or JPG.

Using PDF

If you are using a PDF resume format, keep in mind the following points:

  • A PDF resume can not be altered.
  • If you are emailing your resume directly to the hiring manager, choose a PDF resume.
  • Sending your resume as PDF resume ensures that your formatting remains consistent throughout.
  • PDF format is secure, virus-free, and compatible across all platforms.
  • Sending a PDF assures that your employer receives your resume formatting exactly as you see it on your screen.
  • On virtual platforms, everyone can open a resume in PDF format on their screens.
  • Creating a PDF resume gives you more creative options to explore.
  • Some ATS software have trouble reading PDF resumes.
  • The more creative aspects of your PDF resume can be skipped by the ATS software. It will not read graphics or text hidden in images.
  • You can easily create PDF resumes using softwares like Photoshop. It gives you a lot of freedom in your layout and graphic design on your resume.

Export your resume as a PDF or DOC with our online resume builder.

How do you know if your PDF file is okay?

Highlight, copy, and paste the text. If your computer can read the text, your format is alright.

Quick Tip: If you are sending a PDF resume, make sure it is not saved as an image.

Using Word

  • A Word doc can be altered.
  • Choose a Word doc if do not want to face the complicated nature of ATS tracking systems.
  • If you are applying to a role with no referrals or previous internal connections, submit your resume via Word to get rid of the ATS obstacles.
  • If you are applying to large businesses, use Word Format. Big recruiting agencies generally prefer the Word format. This is because of the database systems they use to save, store, organize and distribute your resume!
  • Everyone in the computer world has Word access.
  • ATS software can easily read a Word doc resume.
  • Many companies prefer documents saved in a .docx format.
  • The formatting gets jumbled up if your resume is opened in a tool other than Word. This can result in the accidental removal or rearrangement of content.
  • Others can change or delete sections of your resume in a doc file. This may happen deliberately or accidentally.

Quick Tip: Recruiters generally remove the candidate’s contact information from a resume before forwarding it. So that is another reason to submit your resume in a (.doc or .docx) Word format!

Before sending your resume in Word, remember to turn off tracked changes and delete all comments. You should also make sure that document properties like Author Info and Title are correct.

Choose the best format for your resume

Applying to online jobs

If you are applying for a job online, check the job posting. It usually provides information on how to send your resume.
They include the instructions about what format to send your resume. Some require plain text, while others require PDF or Word as an attachment.

No format specifications

If no information is provided in your job listing, you should email or call to ask which one is preferred. If, for some reason you can not ask the company, then it is advisable that you send your resume in PDF format.
Do mention that Word format is available if required.

Sending both Word and PDF

If you have the option of attaching your resume in both PDF and Word formats, go for it. This allows the hiring manager to choose his preference.
However, this might take up more of the storage space and time.

Quick Save Checklist

As you save your final resume format, STOP before you press send.
Remember to keep these points in mind:

  • With the advent of Applicant Tracking System software, it becomes more important to know how to save your resume.
  • If you send a resume that is not formatted well, it may not pass through ATS software. Then it becomes virtually impossible to reach a human recruiter.
  • Keep both, your PDF and DOCX resumes handy!