After you have spent many hours formatting your resume and making sure that it meets all the requirements for your industry as well making it look as pretty as possible for the end user; what is the mistake you are now most likely to make?
The answer is sending the document as a Word attachment. What could be so wrong with this you are wondering. Well there are multiple reasons why one shouldn’t bother sending there resume as a Word file.
You need proprietary software in order to view it. What does this mean. Basically if you send your resume to a company or individual that doesn’t use MS Word then they won’t be reading. You would have to have the gift of god in your email to persuade them to spend $100+ just to read yours.
The document doesn’t look the same on every installation. This can be anything from default paper size to the exact version you are using. Basically you won’t be able to tell if the people at the other end will be viewing the same information that you are, not something you want to be worrying about.
Word document carry viruses. If you send someone a virus they are unlikely to be wanting to employ you.
Microsoft have now turned a word processor into a slightly mangled document versioning system at the same time. What does this mean to you. Well it means that if you don’t know what you are doing all previous edits of the document will be included in the one you send out. Do you want to get caught out with maybe literally a picture of your pants down your ankles?
Word isn’t, as the technical people put it, device independent. This means that the exact same set up, on a matching machine, can produce a different result. It can be down to having different model motherboards. You may think it can’t be enough of a difference. But it can be enough to push one word onto a new sheet of paper and get your resume chucked straight in the bin.
So what is the answer?
Well it is fairly straight forward. Use a PDF. New versions of Word now come with PDF writers and for older ones they can be downloaded for free from the internet. Or embrace the world of open source software and use OpenOffice. It’s free, fantastic, and I use it for all my document preparation needs.
The use of the PDF means that what you send is what they see. It is a great comforter to know that. Also people still think of PDF files as being highly professional, you will get more bonus points than you perhaps deserve, although that is no bad thing.