When you’re applying for a new job, there’s a lot you have to think about. Form and formulations, dates and skills, information and presentation. With your mind occupied with these more content-related things, the format of your application is often times just an afterthought.
Yet, this is actually quite important! When sending your application via mail or uploading it directly to your future employer’s website, you need to choose a format that is easy to open and view. Overly complicated or not compatible files go straight to the bin.
In order for this to not happen to you, you should consider converting your job application to PDF! Why? Find out:
The Best Format For Your Job Application
Nowadays, job applications are sent via e-mail or even directly uploaded to a website. Printing, binding and walking to the post office are feats of the past. Thus, while in the past it didn’t matter which document you printed, the format of your application became highly relevant.
Some companies already share specific instructions about what they expect from your application. The rule of thumb is to follow such instruction if they are given. The company has reasons to put them there since applications are sometimes run through automated processes that require certain specifications. For example, some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) cannot handle PDF files. Thus, if the job offer specifically asks for you to hand in your application as an RTF document, you should do that.
Note: If you are given instructions about your application form, follow them!
Disregarding instructions given in the job offer is a high risk – if not even a given – that your application will go straight to the bin.
Why You Shouldn’t Send Editable Formats
Most likely, you are using one of the common word processing programs to write your resume and application. The software you use determines the file format your saved application will be in:
- Microsoft Word produces DOC or DOCX files, depending on the version
- LibreOffice and other open source software create ODT files
- Mac users will create PAGES documents with Mac native software
Sending your application in one of the formats above is highly problematic though!
Depending on the word processing software your future employer is using, formatting, style as well as tables and images can be displayed wrong, impairing the overall readability. Furthermore, many ATS cannot handle DOCX or ODT files.
Another reason to not send your application in such an editable format is that these popular formats are often used in e-mail scamming nowadays. Usually, viruses and malware are hidden in ZIP or EXE files. However, commonly used files like DOC become more and more popular for such criminals to hide computer infesting information. Thus, in order for your application to not look like a phishing attempt, you should refrain from sending DOC files.
Note: If not specifically asked for, do not send your application as an editable file
The Solution: PDF
Thus, if not given specific instructions by the job offer you are applying for, your safest bet is to send your application in the PDF format. The format comes with numerous advantages:
- PDF files preserve formatting: no matter on which computer or device it is opened, it will look exactly like intended
- Most printers perfectly support PDF: no matter if you or your employer decide to print your application and resume, it will give the best possible outcome
- There are many free PDF readers: Adobe Acrobat Reader and many other programs that allow you to view PDFs are free, not causing any extra costs to view your document
- It’s easy to create PDFs: no matter which word processing software you use, you can easily save your document as PDF or use a free online PDF converter
Note: Keep your original DOC or ODT file for later changes
No Problem With Job Applications
With choosing PDF as your go-to format for saving job applications, cover letters and your resume, you are on the safe side! Now, all it takes is the content to win your future employer over!