Share your resume’ in PDF format, unless the job posting or recruiter you are responding to specifically asks for a different format. Resumes in PDF format are preferable because they are compatible with most systems and will not appear differently from one computer to the other.
PDF vs DOC vs DOCX
Some companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is basically a program to automatically scan for specific words within resumes. In this way, only the resumes that make it through this first automated step are reviewed by an actual person, usually the HR representative. In the past, these systems could not process PDF files, and the general wisdom was to submit a .doc file instead. However this is not the case any more.
First, consider that only very large companies use such systems. Most small and medium businesses do not automate the first vetting of your resume’, making such precautions unnecessary. In case a company does use a system that does not process PDF files, they might include a note in the job post – one more reason to read those posts carefully. Nowadays job applicants also share a lot of information on sites such as Glassdoor or Reddit. It’s always a good idea to research a company thoroughly before applying to a position; you might find useful tidbits about resume’ formatting in your search. If a friend or acquaintance works at the company you are applying to, or used to, ask them whether they know what format the HR department prefers for resumes. Lastly, consider paying for LinkedIn Premium and emailing company representatives directly if still in doubt. LinkedIn Premium gives you the ability to send a set number of emails to people outside your network, and also lets you see who posted a specific job as available, how many people are applying, and a wealth of other information.
As mentioned above, PDF should be your format of choice. If you find that it is not accepted at a specific company, then use the .doc format, but avoid .docx. Although .docx has been the default format for Word documents since 2007, some people might use older versions of Word or other software that will not read this relatively newer format.
WORD TO PDF and PDF to WORD
Always write and design your PDF in Word, or similar program. Even if you are in a creative field, such as web or graphic design, you want your resume’ to be legible by ATS. If you design your resume’ in Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or another graphic design, your will end up with an image file that can be converted into a PDF file, but will not pass a machine scan for specific words. Use Word to write your resume’, and use your higher creative skills to build your portfolio. It won’t be machine scanned, but still convert all JPG to PDF if you are going to share your portfolio as an attachment or downloadable files, as PDF files are more accessible. You can merge and compress multiple PDF files to create just one PDF presentation.
Once you have a great resume’ ready in Word, you can easily convert it to PDF using FoxyUtils Word to PDF tool. If you are not starting from scratch, and for example have an older resume’ you’d like to update, but it’s only in PDF form, simply convert it from PDF to Word, edit it, and then covert it to PDF again. Make sure to check the PDF file once the conversion is done. A few things might appear slightly different and you’ll want to go back and tweak the original .doc file before converting it again.
In some cases, a recruiter might ask you to submit a Word doc so she can edit it for you. While recruiters are awesome and she is probably just working super hard to get you the job of your dreams, ask her to share with you the final edited copy before she submits it. In the end, you are the one responsible for the way your job history is communicated in your resume’.
UPLOADING YOUR RESUME’ vs. EMAIL ATTACHMENTS
There are two main ways to submit your resume’ when applying for a job: through an online portal, or by email. Either way, never skip the cover letter!
Often I find that there is no good place to write a cover letter when applying to a job through an online portal: words cannot be hyperlinked in the box provided, the formatting of each paragraph is weird, or there is simply no box to even write a cover letter! No matter whether a cover letter is required or optional, you should always submit one. Repeat after me: I will always submit a cover letter! When applying through a web portal, if the site has a place to write the cover letter in plain text, copy and paste your cover letter and include hyperlinks in parentheses. And always also upload a hyperlinked PDF version of your cover letter. Some web portals will prompt you to upload a cover letter and then will have a separate prompt/box to upload your resume’. In that case, prepare two PDF files (a one-page cover letter + a one-page resume’) and submit both separately within the same application.
If the web portal doesn’t have a separate upload box for your cover letter, merge the two PDF files, your cover letter and your resume’, to create a two-page PDF document. Then upload that document to the resume’ field. I always like to put the cover letter first, so they see it, but you can put it on the second page as well. The important thing is to send it.
If you are applying for a job by email, the same rule applies: always submit a cover letter with your resume’. If you are responding to an email, or emailing an employer or recruiter waiting for your application, I recommend copying and pasting the cover letter in the body of the email – basically your cover letter becomes the email itself, with a few tweaks. Include all hyperlinks. Then attach your one-page resume’ to the email in PDF format. Include a line at the beginning of your email that says you attached your resume’. And make sure to actually send the attachment 😉
If you are responding by email to a job post, and no one is expecting an email from you, copy and paste both cover letter and resume’ in the body of the email. You’ll have to work on your resume’s look and feel. I recommend sending a test email to a few friends who use different computers and programs to check it, to make sure your resume’ still looks good. Then also attach a two-page PDF file that includes your cover letter and resume’. Include a line in the email that your have attached such a PDF. If you cannot make your resume’ look “good” by copying and pasting it in the email, I suggest using the same approach as in the previous scenario: use your cover letter as the body of your email and attach your one-page resume’ in PDF format.
If you have two PDF files, you can use Merge PDF to merge them into one document. Remember to compress the PDF as well, so it is not too large an attachment, especially when sending it by email. If you find yourself needing to send two separate smaller files, use Split PDF instead. And don’t forget that if you are a FoxyPremium subscriber , or on your free trial, you can take advantage of Workflows to seamlessly merge and compress your files. As a back up, I also always recommend uploading all your resume’ files to Dropbox or Google Drive, that way you can always access and upload them to FoxyUtils, no matter what computer you happen to be using.
NAMING YOUR FILES
One last note: the way you name your files matters! I recommend using Name_LastName_CoverLetter_Resume or a variation of this, e.g. FirstNameInitial_LastName_Resume_Company. Make it very easy for your potential employer or recruiter to find your files, and to know what they are. And make it easy for yourself as well! You should tailor each resume’ and cover letter to the specific company and position you are applying to…but that’s another topic for another post. Happy job hunting!
How to Name Your Resume and Cover Letter
Tips for Naming and Saving Your Job Application Documents
When you are applying for jobs, it's important to give your resume a title that makes it clear that the resume is yours, not just that of any random candidate.
It is particularly important when you send employers your resume and cover letter as attachments (either via email or through an online job application system). When the employer opens your document, he or she will see what you have named your document.
You, therefore, want the title to be professional, and to state who you are clearly.
Read below for more advice on what to name your resume file and other job application documents, as well as what not to name them. Also read below for advice on how to save your documents.
Tips for Naming Your Resume
Avoid generic titles. Don't email or upload your resume with the name resume.doc, unless you want a harried human resources associate to save over your file with someone else’s. With a generic file name, there will be no way to distinguish it from all the other resumes with the same name.
Use your name. Choose a file name that includes your name. This way, hiring managers will know whose resume it is, and it will be easier for them to track and manage it. It’s also less likely that they’ll lose it, or get your materials confused with someone else’s.
If you name your resume janedoeresume.doc, Jane Doe Resume.doc, or Jane-Doe-Resume.pdf, the employer will know whose resume it is at a glance and be able to associate it with the rest of your materials and application.
If you can fit it; use both your first name and last name (or just your last name). That way your resume won't get confused with someone with the same first name.
Go beyond just your name (maybe). You might choose to provide a bit more detail in the title than simply your name. You can also include the title of the position in your document name for your resume and cover letter.
You can use spaces or dashes between words; capitalizing words may help make the document name easier to read.
Be professional. Remember that hiring managers and other people who will interview you are quite likely to see your cover letter and resume file names, so make sure those titles are professional and appropriate. Now is not the time to pull out your AIM screen names from middle school. Save the joke names for your private social media accounts and keep these file names professional and simple.
Be consistent. Consistency is important when naming your resume, cover letter, and other application documents, so use the same format for each. For example, if you simply use your last name and a description of the document for one title (“Smith Resume”), use the same format for all your other materials (“Smith Cover Letter”). Make sure any capitalization, spacing, use of dashes, and other style choices are consistent between documents.
Avoid version numbers. If you are applying for jobs frequently, it's possible that you have several versions of your resume saved on your computer. Avoid including version numbers (e.g., John-Smith-Resume-10.doc) in your file name and other cryptic codes.
Get rid of those numbers and codes when you submit your resume. An employer might get the impression that the job is halfway down a long list of potential opportunities. A hiring manager who sees “resume-10” as part of your file name will wonder what resumes 1 through 9 looked like and whether you’re just applying for every job in town.
Develop a filing system on your computer to keep track of the different versions of your resume, rather than using the file name for that purpose, and make sure that proofed, ready-to-go resumes are stored in a separate area from drafts.
Edit, edit, edit. Before submitting your resume or cover letter, proofread the document title. It sounds silly, but a typo in the title might make an employer think that you do not focus on details and that you are unprofessional.
Options for Saving Your Resume
It's important to send or upload your resume as a PDF or a Word document. This way the receiver will get a copy of your resume and cover letter in the original format.
To convert your Word documents to PDFs, depending on your word processing software, you may be able to do so by clicking “File,” then “Print,” then “Save as PDF” (from the list of menu options in the bottom left-hand corner). If not, there are free programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF. Saving your resume and cover letter as a PDF will ensure that the formatting stays the same, even if the employer uses a different word processing program or operating system.
However, if the job listing requires you to submit your documents in a different format, be sure to do so. Not following instructions could cost you an interview.
How to Email a Resume
Top 10 Resume Writing Tips
How to Create a Professional Resume