Do you know the appropriate file type for a resume that you plan to attach to an email message? Which file type should you use when a career website requests that you copy and paste your resume into a text box? It can be confusing. If you use the wrong file type, your resume submission may not be successful. Or, in some cases, your resume content could be jumbled and bullets could turn into a series of letters and symbols.
These descriptions should help you determine the right resume file type for each situation:
Application of Choice: Use MS Word to open, view, edit, and save.
Purpose: This file type is for presenting in an interview, attaching to an email message, or mailing via postal mail. Very rarely will you be asked to mail a resume by postal mail (snail mail). It got the name, “presentation resume” because it is used to present at an interview. Even though you send a resume when you initially apply, always bring additional copies to the interview just in case those interviewing you don’t have a copy at hand.
Application of Choice: Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to open and view.
Purpose: This is a document that I will send with your MS Word presentation resume. The purpose of this file type is a check for you to ensure the MS Word presentation resume is compatible with the software that you are using. If the Word and PDF are not identical in appearance, there may be a compatibility issue.
Only send an employer your PDF resume if the employer states they can accept this format. Some employers use applicant tracking software and not all of those software applications are compatible with PDFs. You don't want to risk your resume being kicked from the system.
Text Only Resume Applications of Choice: Use Notepad or WordPad to open, view, edit, and save.
Purpose: This plain text unformatted document is only used for copying and pasting the content into an online text field on a job or company career site. It is quite literally a string of plain text. If an employer’s career website has instructions to copy and paste your resume online, this is the file type to select.
If you have questions about resume file types, contact me. I’d be happy to answer your questions.