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Should You Send Your CV as a PDF or Word Document?

CV Resources
Posted on: 25/05/2018
Send a cv as a word document or a pdf

Which is the right format to send your CV to a recruiter? This is a topic that is close to our hearts and one that brings about passionate debate in the PwE office. The short answer to the question is: it depends. The long answer is..

Most people prefer a Word document (.doc or .docx) due to the format being easily opened, editable and readable by ATS software, or an Applicant Tracking System.

Many large companies and recruiters use ATS to automatically sift through CVs to ensure only suitable matches are sent to the hiring manager. An ATS will look for key words and phrases in your CV, sometimes a PDF isn’t readable by the software and will be automatically rejected.

However in 2018, it’s unlikely that ATS can’t read PDF, unless you have ‘locked’ the document. When saving your document, whether from Word, Pages, or Indesign, make sure you save as an editable PDF.

The main advantage of sending a PDF is that the formatting, layout and design won’t change, no matter what device its opened on. It will look the same on a mobile, tablet or desktop and the text won’t distort or overlap.

Word documents can appear differently on different versions of Microsoft Office, leading to overlapping text boxes, bullet points not displaying and making your CV hard to read. If you’ve used a font that the recipient doesn’t have – this won’t display correctly either. Stick to universal, standard fonts that will display on all devices and operating systems such as Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia, Helvetica or Times New Roman.

If you’re sending your CV to us:

We prefer Word, primarily so that we can make any minor changes to your document - for instance, correct any typos, remove personal details for privacy reasons and add our logo to the header.

Top Tips:

  • Name the file as a combination of your name and ‘CV’, for example Simon.Williams.CV or Simon-Williams-CV, this looks professional and makes it easy for recruiters to find the correct file.
  • If you’re sending a Word document, save as .doc and not .docx to ensure maximum compatibility. Anyone using Microsoft Office 2003 (or older!) can’t open .docx, neither can some Mac users with older versions of MS Word.
  • If you’re unsure of which file type to send, ask! Call or email the recruiter, if you can’t get in touch then play it safe and send both a Word and a PDF copy.

Ready to send your CV to us and find your dream job in the energy industry? Upload it now!