To Word or not to Word, that is the question

Q: How should I submit my CV by email – .pdf or Word document? I’ve heard some stories about employers not being able to open various formats that I’m afraid my CV  is making its way, unopened and unloved, to the PC wastebasket. What are your suggestions (LC, email)?

A: Career Directors International, the trade body of which I am a member, surveyed employers and recruiters on this very topic in 2012. Their findings were as follows:

Word format – 49 per cent (30 per cent saying .doc format, and the remaining 19 per cent preferring .docx format);

  • .pdf format – 23 per cent;
  • Other formats – 2 per cent;
  • Doesn’t matter – 26 per cent.

The ultra-cautious side of me would say send in .doc, .docx and .pdf format to be sure, to be sure. Make it clear in the body of the email that all three attachments contain the same CV, and that you are attaching it in multiple formats so that they are able to open at least one – and, if they can’t, could they please let you know so you can explore further alternatives.