When I read this:


I thought of no reason for using MS Word for Resume building. But later I realized that this is "Tex" forum, so they would be "selling Tex".

Question: Do we have reasons for not using Tex and stick with Word when writing resume?

  • They are not "selling it" - in the TeX group they have been sold already. The question is what the benefits might be for choosing LaTeX for this particular task (and as the primary strength of TeX is in mathematical formulas which typically are not in resumes it may not be as clear a decision as you might think) Jul 19, 2013 at 8:04
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    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen TeX is useful in a lot of contexts other than only mathematical formulas. When I remake my resume, I will be using TeX because it allows a lot easier formatting changes without some of the games MS Word or other WYSIWYG text editors cause.
    – enderland
    Jul 19, 2013 at 10:10
  • @enderland For that benefit you could use any batch-oriented typesetting system for your resume (like troff). I was pointing out the primary feature of TeX (which is also why it has caught on so well in academia) Jul 19, 2013 at 11:04
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    This is not a duplicate. The linked question asks what format is most preferred, but then this question asks about what kind of benefits you can see from using Tex, and whether Tex is a good idea for resumes.
    – acolyte
    Jul 19, 2013 at 14:02

4 Answers 4


Tex / Latex is used primarily in academia - most people outside of academia have never heard of Tex.

With them, you need to export to a different format - most usually a PDF document.

Most recruiters will accept a PDF document, but many will ask for a word document - this allows them to alter the CV to fit their format (header, footer, cover page etc...). Whether you are amenable to that kind of alteration is a different question (do note that there are some less than savory recruiters that will make more... sweeping... changes, but that too is a different question).

For the great majority of hiring managers, however, the actual medium used to create the CV is less important than their ability to read it. In that respect, there is little difference between a word document and a PDF written in Tex.

  • 2
    Of course, if the job is for Tex type setting, showing off your mad Tex skillz in the CV is probably a good thing ;)
    – Oded
    Jul 18, 2013 at 18:38
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    @Downvoter - care to comment?
    – Oded
    Jul 19, 2013 at 6:58

For most HR systems only 3 general types of documents are useable.

  • Text
  • Word processing
  • PDF

It doesn't matter if the document is being kept by your companies system to be used for internal advertisement of jobs, or for proposal writing; or if it is used to store applicants resumes. Text and word processing types allow the user of the system to massage it. Every contract proposal I have been involved in has required different resume formatting: specifically font size, and margins; plus maximum length requirements.

Many times the system asks the applicant to cut a paste parts of the resume into a text box. Some want the entire resume as a text file. Many experts advise applicants to make sure the resume still looks good as a text file.

The word processing option does allow some variations as long as the user can ingest it into their word processing program. It doesn't have to be the latest version of the file format, just as long as it can be ingested and manipulated.

It doesn't make a difference how the person maintains the master file, just as long as they are able to produce one in the file type that satisfies the requirements of the HR system. I use word as my master file, and then produce a text or PDF version when it is needed.


The question is could you take a resume in Tex and convert it to Word or PDF easily? If so, then it may be worth sticking to Tex if you prefer it for editing text. A lot of recruiters and HR people would prefer Word or PDF when it comes to resumes. After all, who is going to read your resume, assuming a human does read it after all?

Some places may use "Applicant Tracking Systems" that may do some analysis when the file is loaded and thus it isn't read at all if you are missing some qualification. The other point is that if the file isn't in Word or PDF, there may be a challenge for the recruiter or manager to open the file with a format that they don't know. Some people would just move on to the next candidate in this case.

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    Tex can easily be converted to Pdf. I think it is obvious that resume should be Human Readable. Jul 18, 2013 at 18:42
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    @sandeep, considering some of the resumes that have landed on my desk through the years, I would not take that as a given.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 18, 2013 at 19:07
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    @HLGEM: That's just more proof that anyone can make a mess using any tool set. :-)
    – Blrfl
    Jul 18, 2013 at 19:30
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    @SandeepJindal: How easy is it to convert TeX to Word? There are some places will only accept Word. Jul 18, 2013 at 21:39
  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner not very easy to get perfect.
    – enderland
    Jul 19, 2013 at 10:10

Many companies use a software based applicant tracking system. These systems typically accept word documents (.doc and .docx), .rtf, htm, html, txt, and pdf files. If your resume is in another file type,then it will not be easily uploaded into their system. Do you really expect a HR person to find a way to convert your resume into an acceptable file type? It's much more likely that they will ask you to convert it into something they can use. Why not save them the bother and use a more acceptable (for their uses) file type in the first place.

As for pdf files, some candidates like to use them because they think the file can't be edited. But if the parsing software is going to have a problem with one of the accepted file types, it will probably be with the pdf. MS Word is the standard.

  • 1
    I don't get the point of your first paragraph since you list both pdf and doc as acceptable. So it doesn't distinguish between latex and word. Jul 21, 2013 at 13:37

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