PDF Vs Word? Which File Format To Use When Sending a Resume in 2020 | Zipjob

Jan 1, 2019

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

With all the different file formats out there many people ask – What file format should I send my resume in? Should I send my resume in Word or PDF?

There is a bunch of contradicting information on the web giving readers bad advice. Sending the wrong file format could be harming your chances of getting your resume noticed.

We’ve got you covered! We’ll go through which file format is best for sending or emailing your resume.

Before choosing your file format, ensure you read the job description thoroughly to see if the employers prefers a certain file type. You should always send the format the employer asks for.

We’ll go through which resume format to send if there are no instructions.

The most common resume formats are:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (Doc, Docx)
  • TXT (Plain Text)
  • HTML

Word or PDF for Emailing a Resume?

The best format to send your resume in is usually Microsoft Word. A PDF is also acceptable but it may be difficult for some ATS to process it. If you’re sending it to a large company, stick to Word.

Below we’ll discuss the different file formats and when to use them.

(We also have an important tip for you at the end of the article regarding what you name your file.)

Sending a resume in PDF format:

Sending a resume in pdf

Many job seekers prefer sending a PDF as it keeps the formatting the same for whoever views it and that it’s compatible across most operating systems.

Here are some problems with sending your resume in a PDF format:

  • The employer or recruiter might want to make a change or note in your resume to organize it or help get it through to someone. A PDF can be locked and difficult to work around.
  • The receiver may not have the correct software to open a PDF file.
  • Although this issue is now rare, some Applicant Tracking System (ATS) may have difficulty reading a PDF file. (More information on ATS and your file format below).

Should you send your resume as a PDF?

A PDF is acceptable to most employers but you’re better off sending a .Doc if it’s a larger institution that uses resume screening software (ATS). If you’re sending your resume to a recruiting agency a .Doc is preferred because it’s easier to make edits to your resume.

Sending a resume in Microsoft Word format:

Send your resume as Word document

A Microsoft Word document is the safest bet for submitting your resume. Here are the reasons why you should always submit a Word document:

  • There have been surveys done that show employers and recruiters prefer a Microsoft Word document over PDF.
  • A Microsoft Word document is easily opened by many programs and devices.
  • An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) could easily read a resume

Should you send your resume in Microsoft Word?

Yes, sending your resume in Word is the safest bet. Employers prefer it and it can easily be screened by ATS.

Always send a Microsoft word resume

One thing to remember is that you should always be sending a Microsoft Doc file and not a Docx file.

Microsoft Doc vs Docx

Many people make the mistake of saving their resume in the Docx format. This is the newer version of Word and you should never send it in Docx.

This may be because some have not updated to the newer version of Word and it may be difficult for other processors to open.

To convert a Docx to a Doc:

  • Open the document in Word
  • Select “file” in the top
  • Scroll down to Save As and choose Microsoft Word 97-2003 in the drop down menu.
  • Click Save

For converting the document on Mac and more detailed information – check out wikihow’s guide to converting your file.

Sending a resume in HTML and TXT (Plain Text)

HTML and TXT formats should generally never be used when submitting a resume.

The only time you may want to use a TXT format would be for job board submissions that don’t allow you to attach your resume.

To save your resume as a TXT file, simply follow the same steps we outlined above regarding Docx and Doc. After you click save as, choose “Plain Text” or “TXT” when you save it.

Applicant Tracking System and your file format

ATS is an automated resume reading software which the majority of companies now use to screen your resume. The resume the ATS processes as a good match for the position are sent forward to the hiring manager.

Over 76% of resumes submitted are deleted for various reasons and an incorrect file type may be one of them. Always send a Word documents to ensure your resume goes through.

A PDF may be locked and an ATS would be unable to scan the text in your resume.

You can check out our guide on getting your resume past these systems.

You can also get a free resume review from an expert and see how your resume performs in these scans.

Naming Your Resume

The name you give your resume is also an important factor to consider when sending out your resume. Your resume should named a combination of your name and “resume”.

For example:

  • Scott.Brett.Resume.Doc
  • ScottB.Resume.Doc

Recruiters or hiring managers will sometimes go back to search the database for your resume. You want to ensure that they find your resume easily when they type in your name. It also comes off as professional so be sure to use your name and “resume”.

Closing thoughts – Your file format is an important factor to consider when sending out your resume. The last thing you want is for it to be rejected by a resume screener.

Although the PDF is becoming more widely accepted, sending your resume in a Microsoft Word format is still the safest bet. Just be sure you’re sending the older version of Word and not Docx.

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

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