I have covered this topic very briefly before in a larger article about cover letters, but it's worthwhile to include this as its own feature in our goal of providing excellent and easy to read career materials.
Portable Document Format (PDF) preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. When the PDF format file is viewed online or printed, it retains the content and format that you intended.
Out of all the career files I view each year, over 50% are still sent in a non-PDF format, usually in a Word file (.doc) format. The message here is pretty simple:
ALWAYS CONVERT ANY FILE TO PDF BEFORE YOU SEND IT.
Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc. do some funny things to text margins depending upon the version and computer. Especially if you are using tables, I can't tell you how many times I have tried to view a resume in .doc format and I can only view the first page of a tabled resume; everything else is missing. And with mobile devices so prominent, it gets even more complicated to ensure your file retains its original formatting.
Each version of Word seems to have it's own variation of save/print commands, but generally speaking you can export to PDF from Word using
- File/Save & Send/Create PDF
- File/Save As/ change "Format" from .doc to .pdf
- File/Print then Save as PDF from the small PDF dropdown at lower left
- Export/XPS Document
- or use a free online converter if your computer cannot export to PDF.
Microsoft has instructions for creating PDFs from each Office application and version here.
By converting your document to PDF, you are certain that your margins, text formatting and overall page are laid out the way you want, and that all pages will show up no matter what computer or device is used for viewing. The hiring person will appreciate the format and while it's a small thing, it can only help to give you a better chance at success.