Word Files Obsolete? Hardly Print E-mail

It’s interesting – we had a contact on LinkedIn comment that Word files are now obsolete in today’s job search. We were stunned! No one told us of this amazing revolution! We even poll over a thousand recruiters twice a year and no one mentioned Word files were gone. Gosh! Did we miss a memo?

Myths such as these abound (and this IS a myth), and like other urban myths are often readily believed because they have a kernel of truth buried in them. No, Word files are not obsolete in the job search – far from it! In fact, Word is by far the most used format for resumes. The “kernel of truth” comes in with the e-resume format that is now used in conjunction with a Word format for tackling the job search. Job seekers truly need both types of files to conduct a thorough and effective job search.

Something that has changed significantly is the methods of job search. Resumes are rarely printed and mailed via postal mail to employers. Most of the time, they are uploaded to job boards or corporate websites and stored in large databases. In fact, many companies flatly refuse to accept a paper copy of a resume simply because they will not be charged with the time to scan it into the system. With the changes in technology and the methodologies of job search, resumes have changed.

E-resumes are a safe format for all databases regardless of platform or software. They are the “lowest common denominator” in terms of file formats and do not experience the problems that other file formats often have in upload and transfer. They are also the format to use when the job seeker copies/pastes information from the resume into resume builder fields that some job boards use. An e-resume is not going to create data integrity issues.

A problem, however, is the e-resume is not an attractive format to the human eye. We have become so accustomed to designed documents produced by word-processing programs that a document produced using only keyboard keys (like an old typewriter) looks plain and unattractive. There are no fancy fonts, bullets, horizontal lines, etc. All of the “pretty stuff” that comes with word-processing design is lost in an e-resume. What is gained is compatibility. When a Word document is uploaded, many of those pretty elements can disagree with the technology and corrupt the content.

The first entity to see the resume is usually the resume database, so starting with an e-resume makes the most of that first search. If the resume is retrieved in a search, the fully formatted Word document can then be provided upon request. When emailing a resume to a contact, go ahead and include both file formats and allow the recipient choose which one he/she would like.

Word files are not obsolete. Rather, resumes are in a “hybrid” state where two formats in job search. Smart job seekers use both!