PDF Vs Word The Best File Format For Resumes in 2021


Your resume will be written, formatted and personalized according to your wishes. Now it’s time to hit Save, but what file format should I use? PDF or Word? There are almost as many answers as there are options for the files! When problems sending an unreadable document affect your resume, you need to make sure that you are choosing the correct file type.

Use the same file type mentioned in the job description:

Not all companies will say this. However, if the job description says something about “Send your CV as a PDF attachment to hr@yourdreamjob.com”, you should still send your PDF CV to this email. Read the job description carefully to determine if the employer prefers a particular file type. You must always send the format requested by the employer. In the rest of this article, we will see what format to send for the resume if there are no instructions.

What are the most common types of resume files? PDF or Word?

The most common resume formats are:

  • Adobe PDF drive
  • Microsoft Word .doc or .docx
  • TXT (plain text)
  • HTML
  • Of these options, the first two (PDF drive and Word documents) are the most common.
  • Your best CV options: PDF and .doc
  • The two most common resume formats work best for two different purposes.
  • The best format for an application

When applying for a job online, the best format to submit your resume is usually a Word document. This format is the easiest to read by most candidate tracking systems (or ATS). With companies increasingly investing in more sophisticated ATS software that will analyze your resume, you can be sure that virtually all ATS scans can read a DOC file.

Why should you risk being overlooked due to its format? Submit your resume as a Word document.

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 The best file format to attach your resume; PDF or Word

On the other hand, many job seekers hand out their resumes as business cards when looking for work. When you direct message someone and attach your resume, you may want to send it as a PDF. This will keep your formatting and it will be the same on all computers.

Please note, however, that when submitting your CV in PDF drive format, it is NOT advisable to use a graphic or creative CV format. Computers, hiring managers, and recruiters prefer traditional one-column resumes that are quick to understand.

What you need to know about submitting a CV in PDF format:

Many job seekers prefer to submit a PDF because it keeps the same format for the viewer and is compatible with most operating systems.

Here are some issues with submitting your CV in PDF format:

  • The employer or recruiter may want to make a change, comment, or highlight on your resume to help them stay organized. When submitting your resume for review, Word’s Suggest Changes feature is invaluable!
  • A PDF file can be locked for security reasons and will not work very well if the password is not in the file.
  • The recipient might not have the right software to open a PDF (a small problem for a recruiter, as well as a problem sending your CV to someone in your network who offered to view it or to share it).
  • Although this problem is occasional these days, some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) may have difficulty reading a PDF file. (For more information on ATS and its file format, see below). For example, a two-column resume format can read left to right even though the information is unrelated.

Do you need to submit your CV in PDF format?

A PDF is acceptable to many employers … but it’s best to submit a .doc if you’re one of the 90% or larger companies that use an ATS. If you are submitting your CV to a recruiting agency, a .doc is preferable as it will be easier to edit your CV.

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What you need to know about submitting a CV as a Word document:

  • A Word document is the easiest type of file to edit, which is a huge plus. It is also possible to keep your Word document clean and organized, which is a huge advantage over TXT files.
  • A Microsoft Word document is the safest way to submit your resume. Here are the few reasons why you should always submit a Word document:
  • Surveys have shown that employers and recruiters prefer a Microsoft Word document over PDF.
  • Many programs and devices open a Microsoft Word document without any problems.
  • An applicant tracking system (ATS) could easily read a resume
  • Should you send your resume in Microsoft Word?
  • Yes, submitting your resume in Word is the safest bet. Employers prefer it and it can be easily controlled by ATS.
  • Microsoft doc vs docx
  • In a previous version of this article, a DOC was recommend over a DOCX. It’s unlikely to make much of a difference in 2021, as all versions of Word made after 2007 will open DOC or DOCX files without any problems.

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Can I submit a resume in HTML and TXT (plain text) files?

  • HTML and TXT formats in general should never be used when submitting a resume.
  • The only time you’d want to use a TXT format is with applications that don’t allow you to attach your resume.
  • To save your resume as a TXT file, just follow the steps outlined above with regards to Docx and Doc. After clicking Save As, choose Text Only or TXT when you save.
  • Candidate tracking systems and their file format
  • ATS is software that most companies use to filter your resume. The ATS process summary as a good match to the position is sent to the Hiring Manager or recommended.

Over 76% of submitted resumes are being ignored and the wrong file type could be one of the reasons. Other résumés are rated poorly by ATS due to lack of keywords, discrepancies or complicated formatting. Always submit a Word document to make sure your resume is accepted.

Also note that a PDF file can be locked. This means that an ATS cannot scan the text of your resume.

Final note: how do I name my resume file?

The name you give your resume is also an important factor to consider when submitting your resume. Your résumé should contain a combination of your name and “résumé”.

For example:



Sometimes recruiters or HR managers come back and search the database for your resume. They want to make sure your resume is easily found when they write your name. He also presents himself as a professional!

Be sure to use your name and “CV”.

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