Strategic Steps for Crafting an Effective PDF Resume

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Strategic Steps for Crafting an Effective PDF Resume

When employers look at job resumes, they usually like them to be in PDF format. This is a good choice because PDFs can be read by everyone and can be sent as they are for most job applications.

3 Tips for Creating Your Resume PDF

Here are three tips to help you create your resume in PDF format:

  • Keep it simple: Avoid using unique symbols or fancy fonts. Stick to standard fonts like Garamond, Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. This makes it easy for both humans and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to quickly go through your resume.
  • Copy, paste, and review: To check if your PDF resume is ATS-ready, copy and paste the text into Microsoft Word or a blank text document. You can proceed if the data transfers smoothly and is readable.
  • Editable resume template in PDF: Converting your PDF resume to a different format, like Microsoft Word, for editing may not always go smoothly. Restoring revisions to PDF can also introduce new formatting issues. That’s why our Resume Builder allows you to store all the resumes you create and lets you conveniently update and download new versions in multiple file formats, including PDF.

Pros of PDF Resumes


  • Compatibility: Almost everyone can open a PDF file. Sending your resume in other file formats, like Word, can be tricky if the recipient doesn’t have the right software to open it. PDFs are universally readable, whether viewed in a web browser or a free PDF reader.
  • Consistent Appearance: A PDF resume maintains a consistent appearance across different devices and software. When using formats like Microsoft Word, the appearance might vary based on the version of the software or the word processing program being used.
  • ATS-Friendly: PDF templates are compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by employers to review resumes. If properly formatted, your PDF resume can be easily scanned by these systems. Tools like our Resume Builder help you create an ATS-friendly PDF quickly.


  • Need for Original Word Version: Creating a PDF from another program like Microsoft Word requires saving the original document. This is important if you want to easily edit your resume after it has been converted to PDF. Having both the Word file and the PDF allows for convenient updates and creating multiple versions.
  • Preference for Other Formats: Despite the universal acceptance of PDF resumes, some job applications may request a different format, such as a Word document. It’s essential to be flexible and provide the requested format when required.
  • ATS Challenges with Fancy Layouts: Using charts, graphs, images, text boxes, or overly fancy layouts in your PDF resume may disrupt ATS scans. Some Applicant Tracking Systems struggle with intricate designs, potentially causing your resume to be rejected by the system before a human even reviews it. Using ATS-friendly resume templates is recommended to avoid this issue.

How to save your resume as a PDF File

Here’s a simple guide on how to save your resume as a PDF file using different programs:

Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

  • For Photoshop, click on “File” and then “Save As.” Choose “Photoshop PDF” and pick “PDF/X-4” as the preset for a good PDF resume.
  • In InDesign, click on “File,” then “Export,” and choose “Adobe PDF” as the format.

Microsoft Word

  • In Word, go to “File” and select “Export.” Choose “Create a PDF/XPS document.”
  • Once exported, the PDF resume file will open automatically in Word for you to review.

Google Docs

In Google Docs, click on “File” and then “Download.” Choose “PDF” as your download option.

FAQ about PDF Resume

  1. How do I make my resume a PDF?

To make your resume a PDF, follow these steps:

  • Open your resume in the word processing software you’re using (e.g., Microsoft Word, Google Docs).
  • Click on the file editing button.
  • Choose options like “Download as PDF,” “Save as PDF,” or “Export as PDF,” depending on your software.
  • If you’re using our Resume Builder, complete your resume and choose the download option, selecting the PDF file format.

  1. Does Adobe Acrobat have resume templates?

Yes, Adobe Acrobat provides resume templates that you can use and customize. However, note that Adobe Acrobat requires a yearly fee for its use. It also has a steep learning curve, especially if you’re not trained in graphic design or lack advanced computer skills.

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