Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (2023)

You have your resume written, formatted, and tailored just the way you want it. Now it's time to click save...but what file format are you supposed to use?

There are almost as many answers as there are options for files! When the stakes are getting your resume noticed vs sending an unreadable document, you want to be sure to choose the right file type.

We’ve got you covered!

This post includes the latest advice from . This article covers a variety of situations, and when you should change what file type you send. Before we get started though, there is one exception that should always come first.

Use the file type specified in the job description

Not all companies will specify. However, if the job posting description includes something about "please send your resume as a PDF attachment to hr@yourdreamjob.com," then you should always send your resume as a PDF to that email.

Read the job description thoroughly to see if the employer prefers a certain file type. You should always send the format the employer asks for.

In the rest of this article, we’ll go through which resume format to send if there are no instructions.

What are the most common file types for resumes?

The most common resume formats are:

  • Adobe PDF

  • Microsoft Word .doc or.docx

  • TXT (Plain Text)

  • HTML

Of these options, the top two (PDF and Word documents) are by far the most common.

Your best options for a resume: PDF vs Word

The two most common resume formats are best suited for two different purposes.

1. The best format for a job application

When applying for a job online, the best format to send and upload your resume in is usually a Word document. This format is most easily read by the majority of applicant tracking systems (or ATS). While it is more and more common for companies to invest in more sophisticated ATS software that will parse your resume, you can be confident that virtually all ATS scans can read a .doc file.

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

Why take the risk of getting overlooked because of your format? Submit your resume as a Word document.

2. The best file format for attaching your resume

On the other hand, many job seekers pass out their resumes like business cards while job searching. If you are sending a direct message to someone and attaching your resume, you may want to send it as a PDF. This will preserve your formatting and look the same across computers.

However, take note: sending your resume as a PDF does NOT mean it's a good idea to use a creative or graphic resume format. Computers, hiring managers, and recruiters all prefer traditional, single column resumes that can be quickly understood.

Expert Tip

If you aren't sure what resume format to use, this guide walks you through the three most popular resume formats for American and Canadian employers.

Here are some additional tips for sending your resume out correctly.

What to know about sending a resume in PDF format:

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (1)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (2)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (3)

Many job seekers prefer sending a PDF as it keeps the formatting the same for whoever views it, and that it’s compatible across most operating systems.

Here are someproblems with sending your resume in a PDF format:

  • The employer or recruiter might want to make a change, note, or highlight on your resume to organize it. If you're sending your resume to someone for a review, the is quite valuable!

  • A PDF can be locked--nice for security, and not so good if the password doesn't arrive with the file.

  • The receiver may not have the correct software to open a PDF file (less of an issue for a hiring professional, more of a concern for sending your resume to someone in your network who offered to take a look or pass it along).

    (Video) Create Best CV for Free in MS Word | Best CV Format 2022

  • Although this issue is now rare, some Applicant Tracking System (ATS) may have difficulty reading a PDF file. (More information on ATS and your file format below). For example, a two-column resume format might be read from left to right, despite that information being unrelated.

Should you send your resume as a PDF?

A PDF is acceptable for many employers...but you're better off sending a .doc if it's one of the 90%+ big companies using an ATS. If you're sending your resume to a recruiting agency, a .doc is preferred because it's easier to make editsto your resume.

Expert Tip

33% of people decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line. Here are expert tips to increase your open rate when you're sending your resume.


What to know about sending a resume as a Word doc:

A Word document is the easiest file type to edit, giving it a huge advantage. It's also possible to keep your Word document neat and organized, giving it a strong advantage over TXT files.

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (4)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (5)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (6)

A Microsoft Word document is the safest bet for submitting your resume. Here are the reasons why you should always submit a Word document:

  • There have been surveys done that show employers and recruiters prefer a Microsoft Word document over PDF.

  • A Microsoft Word document is easily opened by many programs and devices.

  • An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) could easily read a resume

Should you send your resume in Microsoft Word?

Yes, sending your resume in Word is the safest bet. Employers prefer it and it can easily be screened by ATS.

(Video) Word or PDF Format Resume

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (7)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (8)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (9)

Microsoft doc vs docx

A previous version of this article recommended a .doc over a .docx. This is unlikely to make much of a difference in 2022, since all versions of Word made after 2007 will open either .doc or .docx files without a problem.

Can I send a resume as HTML and TXT (Plain Text) files?

HTML and TXT formats should generally never be used when submitting a resume.

The only time you may want to use a TXT format would be for job board submissions that don’t allow you to attach your resume.

To save your resume as a TXT file, simply follow the same steps we outlined above regarding Docx and Doc. After you click save as, choose “Plain Text” or “TXT” when you save it.

Applicant Tracking Systems and your file format

ATS is software which the majority of companies now use to screen your resume. The resume the ATS processes as a good match for the position are sent forward or recommended to the hiring manager.

Over 76% of resumes submitted aren't considered, and an incorrect file type may be one of the reasons why. Other resumes are scored poorly by the ATS for lack of keywords, experience mismatch, or complicated formatting. Always send a Word document to ensure your resume goes through.

Also note that a PDF may be locked, meaning that an ATS would be unable to scan the text in your resume.

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (10)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (11)

Resume PDF or Word: The Best File Format in 2022 (12)

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Final note: what to name your resume file

The name you give your resume is also an important factor to consider when sending out your resume. Your resume should be named a combination of your name and “resume.”

For example:

  • Scott.Brett.Resume.doc

  • ScottB.Resume.doc

Recruiters or hiring managers will sometimes go back to search the database for your resume. You want to ensure that they find your resume easily when they type in your name. It also comes off as professional!

Be sure to use your name and “resume.”

Summary

Your file format is another important factor to consider when sending out your resume. The last thing you want is for it to be rejected by a resume screener.

Although the PDF is becoming more widely accepted, submitting your resume in a Microsoft Word format is still the safest bet. If there is any doubt at all, send a Word doc that is simple, easy to read, and specifically tailored for your career goals.

Related posts:

(Video) Best Resume File Format: Word or PDF

  • How Many Resumes Should You Be Sending Out?

  • Best Skills To Put On Your Resume

  • 10 Tips To Get Your Resume Past Applicant Tracking Systems


FAQs

What is the best format for a resume 2022? ›

1. Reverse-Chronological Resumes. The most widely used resume format among job seekers today, reverse-chronological resumes are also probably the easiest for recruiters and hiring managers to understand at a glance—which is itself an advantage.

Is it better for your resume to be Word or PDF? ›

A Microsoft Word document is the safest bet for submitting your resume. Here are the reasons why you should always submit a Word document: There have been surveys done that show employers and recruiters prefer a Microsoft Word document over PDF. A Microsoft Word document is easily opened by many programs and devices.

What does a good resume look like 2022? ›

Use a simple, easy to read format

No over-complicated fonts, easy on the different typefaces, plenty of white space. However, simple doesn't have to mean boring. After all, once your resume successfully passes through the ATS, humans will still handle the next phases of the application.

What is the most accepted resume format? ›

In 99% of the cases, we'd recommend going with a reverse-chronological resume format. In 2022, it's the most common and useful format: Applicant tracking systems can read it without any problems. All recruiters and hiring managers are familiar with this format.

Do employers prefer PDF resumes? ›

Most employers will accept either a Word document or PDF file, leaving the decision up to you. Although both file types have their own pros and cons, PDF is usually the better choice. Sending your resume as a PDF file will preserve the formatting and ensure that the document looks exactly the way you intended.

What should you not put on a resume for 2022? ›

Don't include lots of information that's irrelevant to the job you're applying for. “Sure, you've got hobbies, interests, languages, favorite bands, and ambitions,” Cenedella says. “But keep the information that doesn't address your ability to be responsible, accountable, and a hard worker to a reasonable level.”

How many pages should my resume be 2022? ›

How long should your resume be in 2022? There is no perfect answer. Depending on the job description and your work experience, your resume should be one or two pages long. If you have over 10 years of relevant experience, a multi-page resume works better than a one-page.

What are the 2 most popular styles of resume? ›

Three popular resume formats: Three popular resume styles are chronological, functional or combination.

What type of resumes do employers prefer? ›

Chronological resume

This is the most common type of resume format and is generally preferred by most hiring managers. A chronological resume leads with your work history, which should list your current and previous positions in reverse chronological order.

What kind of resumes do employers like? ›

A chronological resume format is the most common, listing your professional history section first. A chronological resume is a good option if you have a rich professional work history with no gaps in employment.

What is the new format for resume? ›

The Hybrid Resume Format

There's a name for this. In the space between the functional resume and the reverse-chronological resume is the hybrid resume, also known as the combination resume. Like the functional resume format, the hybrid resume has space at the top of the page for skills and accomplishments.

Which template do most employers prefer for resumés? ›

The reverse chronological resume format puts emphasis on your work history because that's what's most relevant for hiring managers. It's considered the traditional resume template.

How far back should a 2022 resume go? ›

How far back should your resume go in 2022? The common advice is to keep the work experience in a resume between 10 to 15 years. Doing so will give your hiring manager a general outline of your start, your growth, and where you find yourself now.

How many pages should a 2022 resume? ›

How long should your resume be in 2022? There is no perfect answer. Depending on the job description and your work experience, your resume should be one or two pages long. If you have over 10 years of relevant experience, a multi-page resume works better than a one-page.

Is 2 pages for a resume OK? ›

A two-page resume works well for many job candidates. It's particularly useful for job seekers with 10 or more years of relevant experience. The extra page can be necessary to communicate all of the skills and experience the employer needs to see.

How do I fix my resume 2022? ›

How To Update Your Resume
  1. Add Resume Keywords. ...
  2. Freshen Up Your Resume Header. ...
  3. Fix Your Formatting. ...
  4. Get Your Font Right. ...
  5. Dust Off Your Resume Objective or Summary. ...
  6. Rejuvenate Your Work Experience Section. ...
  7. Include Action Words. ...
  8. Tailor Your Resume to the Job Offer.
3 Aug 2022

Should a resume be 2 pages or 1? ›

Allowing your resume to run longer than the standard one-page length may actually help you get further in the job hunting process, research suggests. A 2018 study found that employers preferred two-page resumes over one-page resumes, regardless of a candidate's job level.

Should I include my phone number on my resume? ›

All relevant information: Include your full name, street address, city, state, and zip code. Also, include your phone number and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile or personal website, include these URLs in your contact section as well.

Should you list all jobs on resume? ›

You Don't Need to Include Every Job on Your Resume: Highlight jobs that demonstrate your experience, skills, and fit for the role. Leave Off Jobs That Are Unrelated: You can also omit jobs that are more than 10 to 15 years old, to avoid age discrimination.

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