Business Products & Services

When Should Jobseekers Use A PDF Resume?

If you recently got an opportunity to bag your dream job, chances are the recruiter or employer has specified the required resume format. Other times, they may not specify the resume file format, which leaves you in a dilemma. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t fret!

PDF resumes are widely preferred over word resumes for a number of reasons. First, they’re impossible to edit without the appropriate PDF resume editing software, which makes them more secure than word documents. Better yet, your PDF CV can be password-protected when sharing sensitive information. This guarantees much more stringent security measures against identity theft.

It makes sense to have your resume in both word and PDF for recruiters. When the latter is preferred, a PDF CV editor can quickly convert your word CV into an editable resume template PDF, so you can make changes directly on the document, convert it back into a word file, and vice versa. In this article, we’ll cover which situations warrant jobseekers to send in their resumes in a PDF format.

MS Word Resumes Don’t Always Turn Out Right

How often do you manually fix your resume’s formatting before submitting it in a word format? Anyone can open Word documents with a word editor. Unlike PDF files, how the contents of a word file are displayed across different devices is not always the same.

Word documents display differently depending on the following:

  • System differences.
  • Device differences.
  • Font incompatibility.
  • Display driver software differences.

Font compatibility issues are one of the biggest challenges when sharing your word resume with recruiters. For instance, if your selected font is unavailable on the recruiter’s computer, they will see an alternative font instead. Additionally, you may have to restructure your word file all the time before sending it to the recruiter.

The best solution to font compatibility issues is submitting your resume PDF. The PDF format is a fixed format where all elements of the file are in a structured Cartesian coordinate system (also known as the User Space). In this system, the page edges are arranged in boxes, with each box playing a specific purpose (examples of such boxes include the crop box, trim box, bleed box, art box, and MediaBox).

What’s more, the font characters and their positioning are embedded within the PDF file. Combined, these two features allow PDF readers to display content in a standardized format with little to no variations across different devices.

You Should Always Have A Backup

When applying for jobs, you need to have a backup in your cloud storage for easy access and retrieval. And what better way to archive your original resume than with PDF?

Word documents are the go-to option when you need to make frequent edits to your resume. However, the PDF format is the better option when it comes to storing files in their original form. The PDF format was originally designed to be shared in collaboration with others. But there are more reasons why PDF is better for storage:

  • PDF resumes are more reliable and flexible – You can access the stored data in its original form, whether it was stored in tables, images, graphs, etc., without the need for editing. As such, you can send your resume template PDF as-is before sending the file to the employer. You can also combine PDF files into one document if you have multiple files scattered all over your Google Drive or your desktop.
  • PDF files are secure – File security is of paramount importance when creating an online backup. Since personal information is present in your resume, you can password-protect it, which can be done quickly on PDF files.
  • PDF resumes can be accessed on the go – Whether the recruiter is checking out your resume on their mac, PC, or on their smartphone, they are likely to see the same thing. PDF also offers easier and faster navigation than word documents – for instance, the recruiter can skip to relevant sections in the document using the PDF reader’s quick search function and bookmarks.

What’s more, PDF resumes have a professional appeal. Unlike word documents that your recruiter’s text editor can scramble, PDF files stay intact regardless of the device.

Recruiters May Decide The Resume Format For You

Sometimes, the recruiter specifies the format of the applicant’s resume. This often happens when the recruiter works in a recruitment agency and needs editing access to your resume. Some of the edits that they made include:

  • Inserting branding material (logos and images).
  • Adding any missing information.
  • Scraping off unnecessary information.
  • For HR automation purposes.

In other cases, they may request word documents so that they can be scanned easily by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These systems are frequently used by large hiring companies that lack time to go through each applicant’s resume. However, the situation differs for smaller companies that prefer handling applications manually.

Essentially, the ATS system scans for specific keywords in your resume. Although these systems can scan through PDF files, older versions may or may not have the capacity to do so.

As such, the recruiter may prefer a word document. However, if they do not specify the format, a PDF resume is a much better option. Chances are, the recruiter could be using a newer ATS system, which is able to scan CV format PDF files. Regardless, PDF CVs are a much safer option since you can restrict who edits your personal information.

LinkedIn Profiles Aren’t Enough

LinkedIn is the world’s leading professional platform, with over 800 million users. Any recruiter will tell you that creating a LinkedIn profile is one of the first things successful applicants do when looking for a job. If you’re on a job hunt, some recruiters likely asked for your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn allows its members to create profiles that detail their work history, organizations, job titles, and location, among other recruitment information.

Sadly, LinkedIn profiles are no longer enough, and here’s why:

  • 34% of LinkedIn users lie on their profiles.
  • A LinkedIn profile is not a prerequisite to getting the job.
  • LinkedIn is prone to scams and identity theft.

Besides, LinkedIn is a social networking site where professionals meet to exchange ideas. As such, having a LinkedIn profile does not automatically guarantee that you will get a job. It boosts your online visibility and increases your chances of attracting the recruiter’s interest.

A resume is a more professional tool for recruitment. Unlike your LinkedIn profile, it contains conclusive detailed information about your work history, your contact information, experience level, education, and your value as a professional.


Resume format PDF resumes beat word CVs when it comes to reliability, security, accessibility, and compatibility on a wide range of devices. But there’s more. With the right CV online PDF editing software, you can easily convert your word resume into a PDF format, save it on your Google Drive, and make quick changes directly on your resume.

So, why wait? Try it for free!

Winn Jones

Winn Jones, FF-Winners machine learning and artificial intelligence expert , specializes in sports forecasting and advanced probability analysis. In addition to leading our research department, he is a professional financial index trader. He thanks you for visiting FF-Winners and sharing it with your friends and family!

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Winn Jones

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