word vs pdf document

With the US job market booming once again as the COVID pandemic winds down, more people are getting out of their dead-end jobs and looking for rewarding career pathways. To do that, these people are having to brush up their resumes to attract the attention of recruiters.

Before you start thinking about what you’ll put on your resume, you’ll first want to consider your resume format. Namely, you’ll want to decide if you’ll submit your resume as a PDF document or as a Word Doc.

There have been long debates regarding whether PDFs or Docs are more appropriate for resume uses. Below, our team shares when it’s appropriate to use either format so you can make an informed choice.

Keep reading to learn more!

Exploring Word Docs for Resumes

It’s common to see job seekers submit and otherwise use their resumes in Word Doc form. In many cases, doing so is completely appropriate and may even give you an advantage in the job market.

Here are a few instances where Word is the way to go for job hunting.

You Expect to Make Frequent Resume Edits

If your resume is being submitted to multiple places and you plan on editing your resume to align with destinations, it makes sense to keep your resume in a Word Doc format. That’s because Word Docs are meant to be modified.

These modifications can take place on your laptop, mobile devices, or even on your recipients’ end if they need to make special, baked-in adjustments to what you send them.

You’re Integrating With Other Microsoft Products

For those of you that want to be able to quickly copy your resume data into PowerPoint, export it into Excel, or integrate it with any other Microsoft programs, Word is a great base file format.

As you might imagine, Microsoft products are excellent at passing information to one another. Therefore, moving resume data from a Doc to affiliated software will go more smoothly than moving resume data from a PDF, particularly if you’re integrating data via automated means.

You’re Worried About Auto-Parsing

Perhaps the top reason to keep your resume in a Word Doc format is because of auto-parsing. Auto-parsing, as it relates to online submissions, is the AI-powered process of computers reading your resume to see if you’re qualified for a job.

Based on what determinations AI make, your application will either move to the top of an applicant pile or the bottom.

In speaking to recruiters and applying common sense, Word Doc’s non-fixed format makes it easier for computers to parse and read your resume data. That can help you get seen more favorably by algorithms.

Where PDFs Excel

Now that we’ve discussed Word Docs, let’s talk about the benefits of hosting your resume as a PDF document. Resumes as PDFs are common, particularly if resume mobility and readability are a concern.

Jumping into specifics, here’s why it would make sense to keep your resume as a PDF:

Your Resume Will Sit in a Fixed State

The advantage that PDF documents carry, no matter what’s featured in them, is their fixed state. When you have a file as a PDF, you can be sure that file will appear the same no matter where in the world they’re read.

This is particularly important if your document features advanced formatting and you expect that it may be read on a phone or a tablet.

Security Is Essential

When it comes to document security, PDFs feature more flexibility than Word Docs.

With a PDF, you can restrict various permissions. Those permissions might be allowing editing to only certain users or disallowing printing. Taking security further, with a PDF, you can encrypt your document and only allow certain parties to open it.

This encryption security can be circumvented with a password you can share with those that you’d like to be able to access your resume. If you forget or need to remove a password from your PDF, you can learn how to do so at https://setapp.com/how-to/remove-password-from-pdf.

A Human Will Be Parsing Your Resume

If you’re in a situation where you don’t think a machine will be parsing your resume but a human will, a PDF document is preferable. That’s because, as we’ve mentioned previously, you can maintain a level of quality control when it comes to the way that your PDFs look.

When using a Word Doc, there’s a possibility that the impression you’d like your resume to leave will fall flat due to a formatting error being caused by screen size, how third-party software parses your doc-file, and so on.

You Have Images or Other Rich Media

Any resume that features images, creative formatting, or anything else that might be considered less than a vanilla resume presentation should use a PDF document. We’ve seen time and again people add interesting tables and photos to a Word resume only to have that formatting appear garbled on a new screen.

While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend getting overly creative with a resume, we can confidently say that if you choose to go artistically above and beyond, you should lean on PDFs for support.

Is a Word or PDF Document Best for Your Resume?

We’ve just run you through Word and PDF document pros and cons as they pertain to resumes. When considering whether or not you should go the Word or PDF route when it comes to your resume, our advice is to weigh the factors we’ve shared against what your intentions are.

Each situation is unique and in many cases, it may make sense to use both formats (submitting a Word Doc online/emailing a PDF copy directly to a recruiter).

Our team wishes you the best of luck in your job hunt and welcomes you to explore more best file format and resume writing tips on our blog.