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Word Resume Vs Pdf – Which Format Is Better?

With online applications becoming the order of the day, some questions come to mind. These questions are mostly centered on what format is more appropriate for sending in your resume to recruiters and whether your resume format will remain the same when it is received. The most important question, however, should be whether or not the Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) that filters out resumes would be able to parse your resume.

The answer to these questions depends on many factors. The first factor to consider is that your resume would retain its same format only if the recipient has the software version that you do. The second would depend on the type of ATS system that the recruiter or hiring manager uses. Now, it is understandable that you would not have information on either of these, but there are ways to make sure that neither resume formats nor the ATS system come in the way of you getting your dream job.

The Applicant Tracking Software is a system that most recruiters use to identify appropriate candidates according to specific keywords. This software helps to filter out resumes that are not relevant to a particular job description or the criteria for it. There has been a never-ending argument concerning which the ATS better parses resume formats, so let us consider the pros and cons of each type:

Word Formats


  • It is more ATS-friendly

  • It is easy to scan

  • They are widely accepted in most hiring processes.


  • Not all word versions are compatible with the ATS.

  • It does not give room to design resumes, especially for creatives.

PDF Formats


  • It retains the layout and special characters in creative resumes.

  • It can be opened on all types of devices.


  • Older ATS systems cannot adequately parse resumes in pdf format.

  • The ATS would skip graphics and texts that are on images.

Now that we have considered the merits and demerits of each resume format, here are some key things you must know to scale past the ATS and get that job offer:

  • Most employers would specify the resume format that you should send your resume in, be sure to adhere to it.

  • If unspecified, resumes in word format are preferred as they are simple, easy to scan, and more accepted by the ATS.

  • Avoid sending resumes in the .docx format, as it is not compatible with the ATS system.

  • The .pdf format is better for creative resumes as opposed to the word format. But while using it, ensure that you remove texts that are in picture format. Also, make sure the text can be highlighted so that the ATS can parse it.

Your dream job is attainable with the right tools in your arsenal. One great way to beat the bots is by using the Jobalytics Chrome Plugin to analyze your resume match score and find the right keywords to use to help you scale the ATS. Your resume match score can also be used to connect you to jobs you are most likely to be successful in getting. Sign up for a premium job search service at Jobalytics today.


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