Resumes – When to Use Word, PDF, or Text

How can sending your resume to a perspective employer be so complicated? Well, it’s not if you follow these easy-to-use guidelines for submitting the correct version. First, you start with the same written document to create each of these versions of your resume. See, it’s already easy!

Begin by saving and storing your resume as a word 1997-2003 document. Use this version of word to ensure that your resume can be “read” by older computer systems that may be reading your submitted document. The need to use this version of word is slowly changing but it’s still a good idea to be safe and not sorry. The version of word can be important because companies do not typically alert you to the fact that your resume is not able to be read. Your word document can be sent as well as uploaded electronically. If your resume will be read by another word user than you can be confident that it appears as it is written when they open it as an attachment.

A PDF version of your resume should be used when the reader is likely to read your resume on a mobile device (think IPAD, smart phone). A resume sent as a word doc and then read on a mobile device will likely have some confusing formatting and some odd/changed symbols. Your resume will no longer present the professional image that you mean for it to have. Remember, a PDF is simply a picture of what you have created so you can be sure that the formatting and the design are exactly what you want them to look like no matter which device it is read on.

How do you create a PDF version of your resume? First you take your word document, copy and paste it into a new document. When you save it, simply chose PDF as your option. When you send it, just remember to attach the correct version.

A text version of your resume is frequently requested when uploading your resume on line. Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) are unable to read text boxes, certain symbols, and special formatting. Sending a text version allows you to see what your resume will look like to a hiring manager that is seeing it electronically. Note – it looks bland and nondescript and is lacking the “eye appeal” of your beautiful word document. Hiring managers are aware of this so do not be worried. This document is being “read” (and scored!) by computer programs.

To create the text version of your resume, copy and paste your word document into a new document. When you save it, simply chose Plain Text as your option. Then, pull it back up so you can edit out any strange symbols, correct odd spacing, and clean up the text formatting. Once again, save it and then you will have your text document ready to be uploaded!

Be sure to closely read the directions of what form of a document your perspective employer is specifying. If you don’t follow these initial specific directions a hiring manager can tell a lot about you!

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