Resume Tip Tuesday: Why You Should Not Use a PDF

Posted September 10, 2013

Welcome to Resume Tip Tuesday! Come to CareerBliss every Tuesday for a brand new resume tip to help you in your job search! 


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It's best to use Word Doc instead of a PDF format mainly because PDF may not be supported by all Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software. Most companies are using ATS systems to automatically sort through the tens of thousands of resumes that come their way.

Recently, Rich DeMatteo of Corn on the Job wrote a crucial post about “Why your PDF Might be Killing You” and this advice is too important not to share.

If your resume is in PDF form, there’s a chance that the ATS will be unable to read your resume.

"There are roughly 55 different ATS vendors on the market.  Of those 55, only a few are able to translate the information from your PDF resume into their system," according to DeMatteo.  Why risk it?

To Be Safe, Save as Word 2003 (.doc not .docx)

“I think you’re always safer using a Word document than a PDF, as well as sticking to .doc instead of .docx extensions,” according to Sarah White as cited by DeMatteo. "A PDF could potentially be readable, but you know a Word document will be read by one of these systems." Why 2003? Because the Word versions after 2003 generate a .docx file, which employers won’t be able to open if they have an older version. Susan Ireland, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume, explains how to convert your resume to Word 2003 here.

Also, Is Your Resume ATS-Proof?


Tune in next Tuesday for another awesome resume (or cover letter) tip!

Check out Resume Tip Tuesday Archive!

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviewssalary informationcareer advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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