Have you ever wondered how does the format of your CV matter? Why do some employers give specific instructions with regards to CV format?

The reason being that the contents your CV are practically useless if they cannot be accessed by the employer. Choosing the right CV format is almost as important as writing the actual CV. Employers receive thousands of job applications for every advertisement that they post online. In such a scenario, if they are not able to open your CV due to compatibility or other issues, you can be assured that your CV will go into the trash. The employers do not have time to work around a way to open your CV as they have a bulk of other CVs to go through. So, while you might be home contemplating what is wrong with your CV’s content, the reason might be as simple as its format! Hence, it is important to read the recruiter’s instructions carefully and know which format they have requested.

While saving a document you have multiple options to choose from such as MS Word, PDF, RTF and HTML. By far, Word and PDF are the most popular and widely accepted formats. In this blog, we will discuss both of these formats, their differences and which one is better to use and why.

Microsoft Word document

A word document is used to create and edit document files on a computer. It is very easy to use and is compatible with almost every computer, mobile and tablet. Word document is the most preferred format when it comes to creating any document mainly due to its ability to edit the contents very easily. Word documents can be identified by their file extension .doc which stands for ‘document file’.

Generally, employers prefer a Word format CV as compared to a PDF document due to the following reasons:

  • They can be viewed on any device.
  • Can be easily converted to other formats using the word processing tools.
  • Compatible with ATS software.
  • Easy to extract information and transfer on to other forms.

PDF document

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Adobe Acrobat software needs to be installed on your computer in order to open a PDF file. The file extension clearly says .pdf and so it is easy to identify these types of files. PDF is a comparatively newer option when compared to a Word document and is now quite popular with most people and also accessible on most devices.

Some of the drawbacks are:

  • Not compatible with older devices.
  • It is a locked file and cannot be edited once it is saved.
  • Some ATS systems may not be able to read an entire PDF file.

The biggest difference between a Word document and PDF is the former’s ability to edit its contents. Despite the above cons, a PDF file is still used by individuals who want to keep their documents safe. It is the preferred format for more secure documents such as contracts and agreements. Many also prefer using a PDF file because the document looks exactly the same when opened from any source. For example, a CV does not lose its formatting when saved using PDF.

Whether you are making the CV yourself of buying the services from a professional CV writing company, it is advised to have your CV ready in both formats. Most CV writers will be happy to supply your CV in both formats without an extra charge. A recruiter might specifically ask for a .doc file in which case you need to submit a Word resume only. If they have given you a choice, it is recommended that you submit both formats so the recruiter can choose which is best for them.