CV: PDF or DOC? Which file type works best (2023)

Should I submit my resume in Word or PDF?

Some call it the paradox of choice. Some, informed decision making.

The truth is:

You're here because what seemed obvious turned out to be a head scratcher.

Stay calm.

This guide will show you:

  • WhyChoosing between a PDF or Word resume is so confusing.
  • Wasare the pros and cons of a PDF vs. Word resume.
  • Howto decide in which format you want to send your CV.

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1. PDF or Word Resume: Why the Fuss?


Your perfect resume is ready (not ready yet? Readhow to create a resume here). time to ship it.

The problem?

Should you send your resume in Word or PDF format?


(Video) Which resume file format is best? Word of PDF?

Both file types areextremelypopular, and it is precisely this popularity that makes it so difficult to decide on the best format for sending a resume.

Do not worry about it.

Before making a decision, answer the following questions:

What does the job advertisement say?

As simple as that.

Go back to the job listing to see if the employer says they would like to receive a PDF or Docx CV from you.

If you can't find any information, continue to the next question:

Are you sending your resume to someone as an email attachment or submitting it via ATS?

If you areE-mail with your CVstraight to the recruiter's inbox—

Submit your CV as a PDF.

That's it. If you want to learn more about the benefits of PDF files, go straight to the next section.

If you submit your documents through an ATS system –

Submit your CV as a PDF. Or docx.

It's your decision.

The ATS analyzes your CV in search ofCV keywords, so the text gets sucked into the system and the formatting of your resume is lost anyway.

A limitation:

Some old-school ATS may have trouble reading resumes submitted as PDF files. Especially if the formatting is on the creative side. If you want to be 300% sureanyArt of ATS analyzes your CV and sends it as a document. Always use aATS-friendly resume template.

Expert tip:98% of Fortune 500 companiesuse ATS. Not sure what ATS is? GoHere.

Are you submitting your application through a recruitment agency?

Recruitment companies prefer "doc CVs".


(Video) What File Format Is Best - PDF Or Word.Doc?

A resume in Word is easy to edit.

Recruitment companies will want to remove your contact information and rearrange yoursCV Sections, or edit yoursResume job descriptionto increase your chances.

PDF has established itself as the delivery format. So it is not the best choice if you want to edit the document.

Expert tip:Consider sending your resume both as a PDFAndWord. Send the PDF version to the recruiter and submit the document to the ATS.

2. Pros and cons of a CV in PDF or Word

Here's a quick look at the pros and cons of each file type:

Word resume

  • Popular file type
  • Easily editable
  • Hassle-free creation
  • ATS-lesbar
  • Formatting can look strange (Open Office, other versions)
  • Easily editable

First, let's look at the benefits of a Word resume.

MS Word is the most popular word processor in the world. Why? Documents created in MS Word are easy to edit.

When you want to start creating a text document (including your resume), 9 times out of 10 the first thing that comes to mind is Microsoft Word. Even if you end up using another software.


In addition, you can be assured that your Word CV will be 100% readable by any ATS system.

The deficiencies?

A resume in Word may lose its formatting on other computers, systems or software.

Back when Word was the only decent word processor on the horizon, documents looked pretty much the same on all computers.

With the advent of different Windows versions, Word iterations, open source software, the growing popularity of Macs and ubiquitous mobile devices of all kinds - it's really hard to tell how your Word resume will look on someone else's screen.

Sometimes it can just be the case of an absenceCV font. And that's not bad.

At worst, your Word resume will turn into a garbled paragraph with undecipherable characters.


The fact that Word resumes are easily editable can prove to be a blessing in disguise.

(Video) 5 Resume Mistakes You MUST Avoid (with real examples)!

It's not that hard to imagine someone accidentally messing up the file.

Accidentally deleting a digit in your phone number can change things.

The ResumeLab builder is more than just looks. Get specific content to increase your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points and skills. Simply. Improve your CV in ourCV builder now.

CV: PDF or DOC? Which file type works best (2)


Spice things up with a pop of color, choose a clean font, and highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You are the perfect candidate and we will prove it. Use theResumeLab Builder now.


  • Universal
  • Works on any system and device
  • The formatting is retained
  • ATS-lesbar
  • Old-school ATS can find it problematic (especially if you get too creative with the formatting).


Let's consider the PDF file format.

Advantages of a PDF CV?

PDFs are universally recognized on a wide range of devices.


They look the same and their formatting is pretty much set in stone.

In fact, PDF was designed by Adobe as an open-source file delivery format. PDF weredesignedlook the same on all devices.


The vast majority of CVs in PDF format are ATS readable.

What are the disadvantages of PDF resumes?

PDFs are extremely versatile.

And too much of a good thing is not so good.

(Video) How to beat / get past ATS Applicant Tracking Systems software with your Resume with 1 simple trick

For one, you may accidentally save your resume asBildPDF document. Not only can this result in having a huge file, but it also renders it unusable for any ATS.


If you get too creative with your formatting (fonts, multiple tables, graphics, and other embellishments), the ATS may not be able to properly parse your PDF resume.

Expert tip:Do you want to be sure that your CV in PDF format is readable for the ATS? Highlight the text, copy it from the PDF resume and paste it into a blank text document. Don't worry about the formatting. Just check if all the information is there.

Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combination. Use ourCover Letter Generatorand let your application documents stand out.

CV: PDF or DOC? Which file type works best (3)


Would you like to try a different look? There are 18 more. With a single click, your document is completely revised. Choose aCover letter template here.

3. CV in Word or PDF format: decision

In the vast majority of cases you should -

Submit your CV as a PDF.

Unless the job posting specifically defines what file format is required, or you have mixed feelings about whether or not the ATS will scan it properly.

Most of the time, however, you'll need Microsoft Word to create and/or edit your resume, but you'll export the finished document as a PDF.


You will end up with two files: a CV in PDF formatAndWort.

Last but not least:

Consider these when choosing the best file format for your resume:

  • Optimize your CV for the ATS and the recruiter alike.
  • Microsoft Word is a great editing tool. This list ofdownloadable free MS Word templateswill surely be useful to you. Alternatively, you can export Word documents from Google Docs (here are someGoogle docs resume templatesfor you to use).
  • Fastall resume buildersout there you can download both Word and PDF
  • Adobe PDF is great for content delivery.

What are your thoughts? Did you send your CV in Word or PDF format? Would you like some advice on how to send a resume online and which format is the best? Let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!


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