If you are serious about getting a job, your resume needs to be formatted in Microsoft Word. I quiz potential clients, and if you don’t have MS Word on your computer, then we can’t work together. Here’s why.

More than 95% of firms and headhunters use Microsoft Word as their primary document creator and editor.  Some firms still use WordPerfect, but nearly all use the Microsoft Office suite. So if you submit your resume in Microsoft Works, Open Office, WordPerfect, Abi Word, or some other off brand, it won’t look right, if it opens at all. That’s not a very good first impression in your job search.

PDFs are another choice for uploading, but not all are scannable for key words. It’s like applying for a job with a resume that ends up being a “blank” page to the applicant tracking system.

If you have a choice, use MS Word and save the document in an older version. I use 1997-2003. There are still some companies that have not upgraded beyond Office 2003. So rather than use docx, I save to .doc so to improve the compatibility and readability rate.

Finally, if you absolutely don’t have access to MS Word, then write your resume as a “text only” document and cut and paste it into the web form on the online application, it into the body of an email. Remember though, the ASCII text version is only for “cutting and pasting.” Don’t send it as an attachment or print it out for distribution.