The Best Format to Send a CV (Word or PDF)

Author: ExpressCV Editorial Team
Updated on July 18, 2019

To cut to the chase—You should choose whatever format the hiring manager asks for!

But...Things aren’t always that simple. What if the format isn’t specified?

The Problems with the MS Word Format for Resumes

Microsoft Word can be useful when you’re editing your resume. But the problem with sending your resume in .doc or .docx is precisely that—it will be editable.

That means your resume might look different depending on the:

  • Computer
  • Operating system
  • Text processor
  • Version
  • Settings
  • Default fonts
  • And on and on…

Your perfectly formatted CV might look a jumbled mess when the hiring manager opens it on their computer if you use the MS Word file format.

However, there are a few positives to Word.

The Perks of the Word Format for Resumes

If you happen to send your resume to a recruiter who will be pitching your resume to a variety of companies, sending an editable resume might come in handy.

A recruiter may want to:

  • Fix a typo
  • Update your resume with additional information
  • Remove certain information (contact info to keep them from cutting out the middle man)
  • Add a clause at the top or bottom
  • Add a watermark
  • Add their company logo
  • Add a cover sheet or note

PDFs to the Resume Rescue

PDFs are meant to look the same across any text processor or operating system. That means your perfectly formatted resume should look pitch perfect on any hiring manager’s screen.

On top of that, PDF files are supported on mobile devices and most browsers, so your resume can be reviewed anywhere. Lots of recruiters and HR professionals work on the go, so this perk shouldn’t be ignored.

Just be careful—Your resume has to get past ATS (applicant tracking systems).

Sometimes PDF resumes can trip up ATS, so you make sure your resume is ATS-friendly.

In summary, if you don’t know which format is preferred, send your resume as a PDF. Unless you’re sending your resume to a recruiting agency, in which case send both formats.

Have any questions or comments on file formats for PDFs? Ask away in the comment section below!



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