Since new advancements in file-sharing applications have made file conversions into forms like PDF or JPG more accessible, many resumes have strayed from the traditional Word Format. And, though PDFs and image files may have their respective advantages, they aren’t really the best option for a few reasons.
To avoid any potential obstacles to your job search, here is a series of things to keep in mind before you send a resume in a non-Word Format.
PDF and image files cannot be edited
The first and most crucial aspect of PDF and image files that you should consider is that they cannot be changed after submission. Though this may not seem like a problem at first, you should know that recruiters may sometimes need to edit resumes slightly before they review.
Usually, this is to add the staffing company’s logo, remove some contact details, or format it accordingly to a client’s or the higher management’s requirements. As a result, while using a non-Word format, you are essentially restricting your review process and that definitely cannot be helpful in your job hunting.
Incompatibility with Application Tracking Systems (ATS)
Though new developments in the hiring process may mean that some companies have adopted a different recruiting system, many still prefer that you send your resume in MS Word file format. Take as an example a company that uses an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan your resume, in which case, the system might not be able to read your file type. This could result in crucial details of your resume being left out. In particular, for most JPEG or image files, ATSs cannot recognize any information, leaving out your entire resume!
Likewise, if you use applications with their own file formats, such as Pages, InDesign, or Photoshop, it’s always a good idea to change them into an accessible format (like MS Word), for the simple reasons that they are not that widespread in use, and it’s really not worth risking it.
Plus, you can even use Google Docs to convert files into Word Format for free; you don’t really have anything to lose. You can follow this article if you wish to convert Google Docs to Microsoft Word.
You may be asked to submit a Word format
In most cases, employers personally try to avoid any mishaps early on. Hence, you should follow their guidelines that indicate a required Word Format. This is because downloading original resumes in foreign formats can result in formatting errors. In particular, if your resume follows a strict or unique design, such as tables, column formatting, or templates, it’d be harder to distinguish after reformatting.
Though some recruiters may go through the effort of retyping your entire resume upon review, you shouldn’t rely on it; most likely, others would just move on to the next candidate. Plus, ignoring instructions gives the impression of disobedience or noncompliance, which most organizations do not find a desirable trait in their applicants.
Not compatible with other software applications
Understand that, unlike Word, most software isn’t universal. As a result, if you own a Mac and don’t have MS Office, you should opt for alternative resources. If that’s not a possible option, you can always send a rich text file (.RTF) to ensure compatibility.
Likewise, older versions of the same software may also not work with each other. So, if you’re using something like Office 2007, you can choose its compatibility mode to ensure formatting isn’t altered or messed up if your recruiter uses Office 2003.
Formatting and saving your resume as a Word File
Saving your resume as a Word File couldn’t really be any simpler. All you need to do is type it out in a Word document, click on File, Save As, and type the file name. Similarly, you could also save a Google Doc file as a Word Document. In that case, you should click File, Download As, and then choose Word Document (.docx).
However, you should note that Google Docs occasionally have formatting errors. As a result, it’d be a good idea to check the file from another system before submission.
Other than that, when formatting, general guidelines are often preferred by hiring managers. These could include:
Though it may seem simplistic at first, bold headings are an effective tool for drawing attention to the most crucial aspects of your resume. In using the “bold” feature, you’d make it a lot easier for reviewers to skim through your resume. Though this may not sound favorable, with the hundreds of applications they receive, most hiring managers spend an average of six seconds per resume. So, they don’t really have time to pay attention to the specifics.
Though this isn’t a feature that directly formats your resume, it can aid in the job search process. In particular, this feature can help ensure that items in your resume are laid out neatly. With the Shift+Ctrl+8 shortcut, you can clear out any messy formatting mistakes.
Headers and Footers
Resumes often include essential information that doesn’t necessarily contribute to your achievements. A crucial example of this includes your contact information. As a result, you can conserve space by using a header or footer for subtle details. These can be found in Word’s “Insert” tab’s drop-down menu. Upon selecting it, you can simply choose your preferred header/footer type and format.
Clear and Concise
You may have heard this multiple times, but it’s crucial to remember that there’s no use beating around the bush on a resume. Be direct and impartial when listing achievements and qualifications as hiring managers usually don’t like boastfulness.
To keep to this tone, we recommend using 10, 11, or 12 point font sizes and that you set your margins to less than 0.5 inches all around. Similarly, you should avoid any form of slang or informality; this includes using acronyms without defining them first or even sharing any personal data, such as marital status, birth date, or a photograph.
More than anything, your resume should be a reflection of yourself. As a result, you should format it according to your work focus and extracurricular experiences. But, to ensure the best positions, we also recommend adding relevant details according to the job or industry you intend ono applying for.