How To Create a Resume PDF

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Your resume is way more than just a summary of your education, work and experience. It is a marketing document that sells your skills to employers. After crafting an appealing resume, you have to select the file format. While resume PDF is gaining popularity with employers, sometimes you might have to select other file formats.

In this article, we are going to discuss resume PDF, the advantage of using a resume PDF, how to create one and tips to ensure you always choose the right resume file format.

What is a resume PDF?

A PDF version of your resume is called a resume PDF. When applying for a job, it is essential to create the best possible first impression and a resume PDF helps achieve this goal. Resume PDF looks more professional and gives more creative freedom in terms of layout and design.

Advantages of a resume PDF

Here are a few advantages of making a resume PDF your default resume format:

1. Formatting remains unchanged

One of the most important advantages of using a resume PDF is that formatting remains unchanged. In some formats, what looks clean on your computer may appear as messy formatting on the employer's computer. A PDF saves the file as an image instead of text, which ensures formatting remains the same. Whether you open it on a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop, the formatting appears as you initially designed.

2. Prevents spell check underlining

If you use Word format, your resume may contain spellcheck underlines for words not recognised by Microsoft Word processor. This happens when you use industry-specific terms and spelling conventions. Though these might not point to grammatical mistakes, red flags reduce credibility and distract the employer. Using a resume PDF eliminates this, as your resume appears clear and free from such unnecessary underlining.

3. Allows access to more people

Employers using an out-of-date Microsoft Word version (.doc) may face difficulty opening resumes in the latest Word version (.docx). Your resume may extend to the second page because of different Word versions. But a resume in PDF format eliminates these issues and gives access to more people. A PDF file format is version-free.

4. PDF is unchangeable and virus-free

It is hard to edit a resume in PDF and it preserves your work, formatting and data. Accidental changes may cause the omission of important information. Apart from protecting your efforts in writing a resume, a PDF is safe to send over email. A PDF format is usually virus free and the chances of an email service provider flagging it as spam or suspicious are less.

Related: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice

When to use a resume PDF file

While there are numerous benefits of sending a resume in PDF format, you may encounter a situation where you can share other file formats. Here are a few instances where it is beneficial to share your resume as a PDF:

  • The job description mentions a PDF. Often, the job description clearly states the resume file format for submitting a job application. Reread the job description and accompanying information two to three times to ensure you fulfil all employer requirements.

  • Sending it as an email attachment. Often, email service providers flag emails received from unknown people. To avoid getting flagged as spam, consider sending a resume PDF when applying for a job through email. When you send an email with attachments, it ensures your message reaches the inbox.

  • Sending as an attachment to an online application. While it is advantageous to upload your resume in .doc format in online applications, you can include a PDF version if there is a provision for sharing additional documents. Once your application and resume pass the screening phase, the employer will have access to your resume PDF.

When to use Microsoft Word file

Resume PDF is slowly becoming very popular; however, there may be instances where a resume in Word is preferred. Here are a few situations where sending a Word document is beneficial:

  • The employer asks for a Word document. Often, employers mention their preferred file format for resumes. If the employer asks for a document, ensure to send a .doc file instead of a .docx. The latter is usually not compatible with older versions of Word.

  • Uploading to an applicant tracking system. An applicant tracking system or ATS is a system that companies use to scan resumes and search for specific keywords. This program cannot accurately scan a PDF and misses out on keywords and jumbles data. When uploading a resume to an ATS, always use a Word document unless specified.

When to use a Google Doc file

Google Docs is a convenient and easy way to share your resume online. The “read-only” feature prevents accidental changes to your information. Furthermore, if you notice an error or forget to add information, you can quickly make edits. The employer can view only the latest version of the Google Doc file.

When to use an online resume

For PDF, Word and Google Docs resumes, you are the designer and the formatting lies in your hand. But online resumes let you get creative with the design and formatting. It helps you build an appealing and attractive resume. Like Google Docs, you can make edits because the employers have access only to the latest version. Such resumes prove beneficial for job applications that require extensive computer skills and creativity. Apart from marketing your experience and skills, you can demonstrate your capability in designing.

How to create a resume PDF

Creating a resume PDF is simple and a lot depends on which software or word processing document you are using. Here is a step-by-step explanation for creating a resume PDF for different word processing programs and software:

1. Microsoft Word

When you use Microsoft Word to write a professional resume, focus on these steps to create a PDF:

  1. Click on the “File” tab located in the upper left-hand corner.

  2. Click on “Save As” from the menu.

  3. When you see the box, click on the drop-down menu beside “Save as Type”.

  4. Select PDF from the menu.

  5. Click on “Save.”

The PDF you created above appears in the same folder in which you saved your document version.

Related: Professional Resume Samples to Help You Land a Job

2. Google Docs

When you use Google Doc for making a resume, focus on these steps to create a PDF:

  1. Click on the “File” tab located in the upper left-hand corner.

  2. Click on “Download” from the menu.

  3. When the menu appears, click on “PDF document”.

The resume PDF you created above appears in your computer's download folder or wherever you have set your downloaded files to be stored by default.

Related: How To make a resume

3. On a Mac

When you use a Mac computer, focus on these steps to create a PDF:

  1. Open your resume file in the current format.

  2. Select “File” from the menu bar.

  3. When the menu pops up, select “Print.”

  4. When the box appears, click on the drop-down menu located at the bottom left corner.

  5. Select “PDF” from the menu that appears.

The resume PDF you created above appears in the same folder in which you saved your resume file.

Tips to always send your resume in the correct file format

Here are a few tips to ensure you always send your resume in the correct format for every job application:

  • Follow the job application instructions. Read the job description and instructions before you send your resume. Often, employers mention the resume format towards the end of the job description. But it can appear even in the middle, so read and double-check the instructions.

  • Contact the employer for clarification. If the employer forgets to mention the desired file format, it is best to contact the employer and seek clarification. However, if the job description clearly says not to contact the employer, send the resume in your preferred file format.

  • Create your resume in different file formats. For convenience and ease of applying to a job application, create a folder on your computer with different file formats. Have a Word and PDF format to prevent converting the resume from one type to another for every job application.

  • Use your judgement. Often, employers leave it to candidates to decide on the file format for sending their resumes. Use your judgement and select the file format accordingly. For example, use a resume PDF for job applications through emails and use a Word resume for online job applications.

  • Create an ATS-friendly resume. ATS finds it challenging to decipher PDF files and resumes with formatting. Create an ATS-friendly resume that is free from formatting for your online job applications. Remember to keep an expertly designed and formatted resume when you are sending it directly to the employer.

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