This morning, one of our Community Business College graduates called and asked for a bit of advice – Should she send her resume to a potential employer in the Microsoft Word format or should she send it as a .pdf file?
Here’s why she asked – She said she first attached it as a Word document for convenience sake but when she tested it and re-opened it, the resume lost some of its formatting. Not bad, mind you, but it did throw some text onto a second page and the margins shifted some.
Our advice to her was to send a second e-mail using the pdf format which does not have the changing formatting issues and offer it to the employer an option with a note to saying something like, “I thought I’d also send you a pdf copy of my resume so that you have a choice to use the format you prefer.”
Now we’ll wait to see if she gets the job interview.
So just what are the rules on file attachment in sending your resume to employers?
The Golden Rule on resume attachments is – first always do what the employer asks. If the employer asks for resumes but “no attachments,” for example, then do not attach anything, but copy and paste your resume. If the employer asks for “no Word documents,” then do not send word documents.
Advantages of the Microsoft Word Format
1. One advantage to sending a native Microsoft Word document is the job seeker can just send the most current resume and doesn’t have to worry about different versions.
2. The second advantage is the employer who receives your Word document can open the document without any additional software (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader) and can then copy the data over into either other hiring software or a template used to hire candidates.
Disadvantages of the Microsoft Word Format
1. One reason employers may ask for “no Word documents” be sent is some Word documents can carry viruses and malicious code that can hurt the recipients computers.
2. As in our graduate’s case, you probably won’t know which version of Microsoft Word that the employer is using. If you have saved your Word document in a more current version than the employer, the formatting may get a little funky. It’s still going to be legible and the document can still be used but it won’t be perfect. Remember, resumes should be as perfect as possible. Sometimes little imperfections serve as an excuse for a screener to reject a given resume without having to read it further.
Advantages of the Microsoft Adobe PDF Format
Portable Document Format and is usually used to present and exchange documents reliably and works equally well across different hardware and operating systems. Invented in the 1990s, Adobe’s PDF has become the standard format for document sharing.
1. Because the PDF format is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization, PDFs look the same the world over. The type of machine doesn’t matter and the operating system an employer might be using doesn’t matter either. As long as they have the free Acrobat Reader DC software they can see any pdf document the same way it was sent.
In that sense, this makes it closer to a piece of paper than almost any other digital format.
2. Most other software programs now recognize the PDF format and will open or import .pdf files without any problem.
Disadvantages of the Microsoft Adobe PDF Format
1. Sending in PDF takes an extra step and requires you to track more than one document. When you convert your resume from Microsoft Word to a .pdf document, you are creating one more file to keep track of.
Say, for example, you’re applying for a job today and you convert your resume to a .pdf format and send it off. Next week, another job opportunity comes along and you want to make some changes and send it again. Now you’ll have another version of your resume. After a few times of this, you can end up with a whole bunch of versions of your resume that can get confusing.
A simple way to fix this is to always create a new pdf before sending it. Then, delete it from your storage file after you’ve submitted it. This way the Microsoft Word document is always the most current form of your resume.
Another option is to use the same file name when saving your .pdf document. Here’s an example: BenFranklinResume.pdf. Then, the new .pdf file replaces the old one and you’ll only have one file to worry about.
2. Although most pdf documents can allow for text to be copied in the document, some are locked. If, instead converting the Microsoft Word document to .pdf, you scanned it off a printed copy, it might even be more difficult to extract text.
Unless otherwise directed (remember the Golden Rule), Community Business College recommends using the .pdf format when submitting resumes.
Need to learn more Microsoft Word tricks? Take a Microsoft Word class with us. You can purchase a short course directly from Community Business College at http://www.cbcwebcollege.com/shopcart/
Do you find the job search process frustrating? Try taking a class on finding a job with our six-week, instructor-led online course at: http://www.ed2go.com/cbc123/online-courses/12-steps-to-successful-job-search