There is a conspiracy working against you for your job search: your resume and other documents will not look the same from one computer to another. Even if you send the Word document from one PC to another that also has Microsoft Office, you may become the victim of “Word Creep.” As 40% of job seekers now conduct their job search through their mobile devices, the prevalence of Word Creep has only gotten worse.
What is happening here?
What is “Word Creep?”
Have you ever spent tons of time making sure that your resume fits perfectly on one or two pages, just to email it to someone and have them ask, “Why is there one sentence at the top of the last page? Couldn’t you format it correctly?”
Congratulations, you are the victim of Word Creep.
Basically, any shift in formatting from one computer to another is Word Creep in action. While some of the classic Creeps were caused from sending a document written on a PC computer to a Mac, this is not terribly uncommon going from one PC to another. Today, we have further formatting shifts that are caused by uploading your perfectly formatted resume onto Google Docs to use in your mobile job search.
Google Doc Blowouts
While Google Docs will tell you that your uploaded resume is still a Word document, many of the advanced formatting features available in Word have been disabled or reinterpreted. Plus, if you need to edit it or change it from your Google Drive, it needs to convert the Word document into a Google Doc. This is where the formatting gets especially funky. In particular, the line spacing on the page is the first thing to lose its alignment.
When downloading the Google Doc as a Word document, the formatting is likely to flip again. In some cases, it will revert to the original line spacing, HOWEVER, that is not what you saw in the online version of the Google Doc.
Going from PC to Mac environments has been the bane of job seekers for a multitude of years. In particular, Microsoft’s Word documents are not compatible with Mac’s Pages documents. There are ways for someone to view a Pages document on a PC, but it involves multiple conversions including making a ZIP file. Let’s be honest: most of the time, HR is not going to do the extra steps to convert that Pages document into their required formats. And yes, the vast majority of businesses rely upon Microsoft Office, even on their Mac computers.
However, a new problem is on the rise: mobile platforms.
It is possible to create a resume on a tablet, either from a Word app or even the Office online product. The problem is that the formatting is difficult to adjust and some of the features are more difficult to access. Plus, the possibility of Word Creep increases exponentially, especially if the job seeker is using an iPad and sending to a PC.
Making the Most of The Mobile Job Search
The easiest solution for making your resume readable while using your phone or tablet to job search is to always send it as a PDF. Most employers have evolved their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to accept PDFs.
LinkedIn can fill the gap as well, as some of the more cutting-edge companies are letting applicants apply with their LinkedIn profile directly into their own ATS.
Whatever platform you use, it is still best to create the resume in Word on a computer and then convert it to PDF to limit the amount of formatting errors you will encounter. Even PDFs are driven by the original document’s code, such as setting up columns or tables. Then load that PDF onto your mobile devices, making it ready-to-go at a moment’s notice.
Last Tip: Check Your Formatting
Since some ATS systems will drop your resume into a text form of the document, it is good to know how that looks to HR. One of the best – and cheapest – tests for this is Indeed.com. Just upload your resume onto the website and take a look at the preview. This gives you an idea of how HR will see your document.
Not pretty, but effective. Especially if you took the time to concentrate on what really matters most: the quality of the writing and the inclusion of the relevant key words.
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