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Asked by Stephanie on October 31, 2013

When filling out an online job application, is it better to submit your resume and cover letter as PDF files or as Word Documents? Or does it matter?

Answered by Todd, Hiring Expert at MetLife, on November 1, 2013

I do not think it makes much of a difference as I get applications in both forms all the time. Any applicant tracking system should be able to accept .pdf or word documents with no propblems.

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Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on November 1, 2013

Companies will typically have systems that can handle both types of documents, however, when in doubt, a PDF tends to look a touch more professional.

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Answered by Jennifer, Hiring Expert at Verizon, on November 8, 2013

Most applicant tracking systems accept both Word or PDF Files.  For PDF files, ensure that the words in the resume are searchable, otherwise it will be difficult for these systems to pick up the contents in the resume.  For example, scanning a resume into a PDF may not be searchable in the applicant tracking systems.

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Answered by Paula, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on November 13, 2013

I recommend submitting a pdf version of the documents.  A pdf file ensures that the recruiter/hiring manager will see the document the way you intended.  Sometimes different versions of word processing programs can impact margins and the overall look of the document.

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Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on November 20, 2013

PDF – Please! Saving your resume as a pdf ensures that your resume looks the exact same way to the recruiter and the hiring manager as it looks to you. So much time and effort is put into making your resume shine, what a shame it would be if you sent it as a word document and the entire document became jumbled in the process. Saving your document as a pdf takes just a few seconds, and is totally worth the effort!

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Answered by Eddie, Hiring Expert at American Express, on December 3, 2013

Employers should be able to receive your resume in either format. The benefit of submitting the resume and cover letter as a PDF is that this will ensure that it is received identical to how you sent it meaning you do not have to worry about any formatting issues that may arise. You really can’t go wrong either way.

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