Although I am an IT guy, my Resume is not a Word file, but an Illustrator one (that I convert to a PDF when submitting).

The job description requests that the resume be submitted via a Word file, however I obviously don't have such a version of my resume.

Would it be OK if I send in my normal PDF version, and explain why I am doing so?

My reason:

I create AI Resume is because I am a mobile app developer that involved in past company in designing mobile app for clients, and my AI Resume design follows the trend of mobile app design now, so hopefully employer can see that as an added value.

  • 6
    If they ask for a resume in Word format, it would be silly to submit it in some other format. They will assume you can't follow directions. If you are an IT guy, surely you can create one? Aug 2 '16 at 15:20
  • 4
    Rhetorical question here: Do you think that the HR person who initially reads your resume has the skill set to recognize how it mimics mobile app design trends?
    – Peter M
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:34
  • WorkerDrone: I am absolutely can create one lol.. Peter: Absolutely correct, I miss that the first person to see my resume will be most likely HR.. Thanks!
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:37
  • 1
    I once had a friend get disqualified because he refused to convert a .tar file to a .zip file. The HR rep pre-screened the code and "couldn't open it" so they just sent him the "sorry we filled the position" letter after he gave them instructions. It's best to go with what they ask.
    – Dan
    Aug 2 '16 at 18:53
  • Do you really want to work for a company which requires your resume in Word format?
    – shellco
    Aug 3 '16 at 5:58

While it would make sense that all they want is to be able to read your resume, and are asking for a Word document simply to avoid getting some weird formats sent in, you shouldn't assume anything.

For all you know they upload the Word file content into some database, or the person looking at your resume is only comfortable with Word. By not following directions you run the risk automatically disqualifying yourself for the position.

I would copy out the text part of your resume in a clean, simple Word format, and send in both the Word, and PDF versions. That way they will see how neat and tidy your PDF version is (if they bother opening it), and will appreciate the fact that you went through the trouble of creating a Word version.

What you provide them with also depends on how you submit your resume:

Some companies will have a form you fill out on their website, and a tool you upload your resume to. In this case I would not include the PDF at all, as uploading multiple files - some in the wrong format - might screw with the server side code. Instead, bring print-outs in person to the interview, and explain why you submitted an "uglier" version.

Other companies will simply list an HR email address, and ask you to attach your resume. In this situation attach both files (Word & PDF), and make it very clear why you are attaching both. Explain that the PDF version is meant to demonstrate mobile app design trends.

Just always make sure to give employers what they ask for.

  • Do I need to explain further too if my original version resume is PDF? I am afraid they will think that my original version is Word and PDF is the much more beautiful version of Word.
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:25
  • Anyway, I stated my reason just now :)
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:29
  • @Lewis - I have no idea how you submit your resume to them. Some companies will have a form you fill out on their website, and a tool you upload your resume to. Others simply list an email address and ask you to attach your file. In the first situation I would not include the PDF at all - bring print-outs in person to the interview. In the second situation attach both, and make it very clear why you are attaching both.
    – AndreiROM
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:35
  • In my country, it's very common to use 2nd approach and rarely to use 1st approach :)
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:36
  • 2
    @Lewis - I've had to deal with both. The first one is primarily used by large companies who get tons, and tons of applications. They make you jump through hoops in order to keep track of applicant history (whether you applied before), and to disqualify anyone who makes a mistake. I updated my post to better expand on my above comment.
    – AndreiROM
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:40

Any roadblocks you put up to make your resume harder to use by a recruiter will seriously hurt your ability to find other employment. I suppose the real question is "how important is it for you to be viewed that differently?"

Yes, you should explain to them. But you should also prepared to be dismissed out of hand and not get many (if any) return calls back. You're an IT guy, but you're refusing to follow an instruction for a job which you ostensibly want. You're really not giving them much incentive to even read your resume much less hire you, yet you're telling them that you don't believe their standards and requirements apply to you.

EDIT after comment: It still shows a disregard for their reasons. Additionally, impressing a recruiter isn't something you need to do. They are little more than a filter making sure that candidates fit clients, primarily on experience. You're completely non-standard resume prevents that. I'll reiterate, you're screaming "I can't follow simple instructions" which is something that every IT person needs to do more than almost anything.

  • 3
    Also, any "IT Guy" would know exactly why companies want Word resumes: They run them through keyword filters, first. Aug 2 '16 at 15:18
  • I just put my reason :)
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:29
  • 2
    And the obvious addition is to just put a link in your resume to your hosted Illustrator file 'for those interested', just as you would do with any other portfolio or external reference.
    – user8036
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:35
  • Thanks Christopher! If only I can accept more than 1 answer..
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:47

if you send them anything but what format they are asking, you are diminishing your chances of being considered for this job. You understand this right ? The reason they are asking for resumes in certain format is, their handy-dandy resume filtering tool is actually an MS word macro. If you can not get past that macro, you are dead in water. They are not going to go the extra mile for you to print your resume and scan it into their MS-word database.

As long as you are good with that, you can explain why to your heart's content, but it will most likely not be read.

  • I just put my reason :)
    – Lewis
    Aug 2 '16 at 15:31

As the others have said, the better option would be to send it in word format, but I see that you want your resume to stand out and appear creative. That's good too.

Why a recruiter asks for a document format:
1. Logo insertion: Some recruitment companies like to insert their logo into your resume before forwarding it to their client (some company). It's easier to do with doc than with pdf.
2. Wanting a standard format: My uncle recently gave me a guy's resume to review, and he had it in ".rtf" format. The formatting went haywire when I opened it in linux. This may be one reason your recruiter asked you for a specific format.

So think...

Did the job description explicitly insist it had to be word format and nothing else? If no, then sending a pdf would also be ok because it is considered a standard resume format in the recruitment circles.

Create a doc format document also and send both the doc and the pdf. I did that once with a recruiter and the interviewer said he found my resume interesting (not the one in doc, but the creative one I created in pdf).


One other reason I have found is external recruiters want an editable version of your resume for several reasons.

  1. They want to anonymize your resume before submitting to the company to ensure the company does not side step them to contact you directly.
  2. They want to add their own letterhead to the resume.

This also happens for internal recruiters who are hiring for a specific project. It is not out of the question for a consulting company to submit candidates to their customer before hiring them for a project to ensure the customer is satisfied with their experience and skills.

By submitting in a PDF, you make it much more difficult for the recruiter to accomplish either task.

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