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There is a good motivation to use good LaTex templates for job applications: nice and professional look. However, I see that a lot of job application portals try to extract information from pdfs and generate tables. Sometimes, they present this in preview, sometimes they do not. The parsed tables are sometimes incorrect and sometimes horribly formatted with unnecessary curly brackets appearing, icons and symbols (github, skype, telephone) disappearing etc.

By using LaTex Templates, is it possible that I am unknowingly disadvantaged. Are uploaded resumes/cover letters ever/always used? Given thousands of applications, is looking at uploaded resume not bothered?

marked as duplicate by Twyxz, mhoran_psprep, gnat, Mister Positive, IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 5 '18 at 19:46

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  • Could you elaborate on your question please, I'm unsure what it is that you're asking – Twyxz Oct 5 '18 at 10:25
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    On the other hand, I know of at least one hiring manager who will place a TeX-formatted TV at the top of the pile of resumes. – Jenny D Oct 5 '18 at 12:24
  • @JennyD, of course there are. By this question, I am trying to estimate the associated understand risks. – edit Oct 5 '18 at 12:32
  • @mhoran_psprep, it is indeed duplicate. Thanks. However, I posted this question as a recent application I sent did not have form to review details after uploading my resume. That is why I asked this question. – edit Oct 5 '18 at 12:36
  • If you make sure to keep text selectable and searchable in the PDF (so it contains the actual text in addition to the beautiful layout), then using TeX should be fine. Depending on the version of Word the other people are using, you might have a small advantage as Word used to generate ligature codepoints for "fi" or "ff", which made searching difficult. I believe that is fixed now though. – Simon Richter Oct 6 '18 at 8:41

I'm making the assumption that you're uploading your CV to an explicit company's website - submitting a job application via a bespoke portal rather than on a recruitment site.

In this case...it depends. If you're one of only 6 applicants then they'll probably overlook the weird CV formatting and read your CV anyway. If you're one of 50 then you'll be quickly sifted out - they won't bother with the struggle.

In any case I'd just bite the bullet and prepare a simpler format for my CV: .doc is the most ubiquitous document format the world over.


By using Latex Templates, is it possible that I am unknowingly disadvantaged.

Yes it's entirely possible that you are being disadvantaged here - it doesn't matter how pretty you make the CV if you can't get that "clean professional look" in front of a human!

The entire point of an automated parser is make it easier for the person reviewing the CVs to identify the ones that are worth progressing and what can be easily and quickly cut when there is large numbers of applicants. One that gets through mangled (assuming it gets through at all!) makes the job of evaluating that candidate infinitely harder and the harder it is to review the more likely it is going to get cut very early.

Sorry to say it but if a CV came through with the sorts of distortions you are talking about I probably wouldn't even bother to read it unless I'd got a very small number of candidates - and even then I'd be predisposed against it because I'd resent the extra effort involved in even reading it!

FWIW the only "look" aspect that I have ever considered when reviewing a technical CV is "can I easily find the info I need to see if the candidate warrants interviewing".

Pretty icons for skype account details/phone numbers/etc or fancy bullet points just aren't worth the effort IMO, I'd never discount someone for them but it wouldn't make me more interested in them in the slightest.

So do yourself a favor - apply the KISS principle and keep it clearly readable for both humans and our robot overlords, without the visual frills (and in whatever file format they want).

Especially if you think there is the slightest chance it's going to go through a parser! If you think you can add value with fanciness then the appropriate thing for that is to bring hard copies to an interview.

Are uploaded resumes/cover letters ever/always used?

If the company is asking you to upload a resume/cover letter it's because they have a use for it.

Given thousands of applications, is looking at uploaded resume not bothered?

As mentioned above when there are very large volumes of applications that's when parsers come in to play to allow the numbers to be cut down to manageable levels as quickly as possible - and that's why it's cruical to have your CV in a format that will stand the best chance of passing through them cleanly.

  • I posted the original question (without registration). Sorry for being confusing, but the question is not about my cv itself having curly brackets and icons disappearing. My pdf is as professional as I desire without any problems. After I upload my resume/pdf into online portal, most of the time, it gets parsed to extract information present there. (this parsed/extracted info is not always shown to me). That's my concern. I simply upload my resume and what may appear to recruiter is a mesh. I can imagine, word documents are far easier to parse compared to latex pdfs using "automated" parsers. – edit Oct 5 '18 at 12:24
  • @asd in general yes word docs are easier for most automated systems to process, and given the ubiquitous nature of word people tend to optimise for them so why not just send a word doc then? – motosubatsu Oct 5 '18 at 12:26
  • because if my resume is in latex/pdf, and as I have IT background, it would be viewed more positively/would reflect my skills more than a doc resume would. With this post, I am trying to understand if there are risks with using latex. – edit Oct 5 '18 at 12:30
  • @asd speaking as someone who is in IT and has hired for all kinds of IT roles over the years (tech, developer, architect, devops, admin etc etc) I can state categorically that a latex/pdf CV wouldn't make one iota of difference to how positively I'd assess your candidacy. To be honest I doubt I'd even notice. Unless you are applying for a LaTeX heavy job there is literally no benefit to be gained. This is the IT resume version of that old myth about sending your cv in on high quality paper. – motosubatsu Oct 5 '18 at 12:34
  • @motosubatsu: I would say this is worse. High quality paper has objective benefits, using non-standard formats runs the not insignificant risk that the recipient won’t be able to read it, and doesn’t (from the recipients POV) offer any advantage. – jmoreno Oct 6 '18 at 13:27

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