I've used Word for the last 15 years. I have to crank up a Windows XP virtual machine to run it. I don't own a more up-to-date copy of Windows, since I focus heavily on Unix development. I only use Word because it seemed to be necessary to keep recruitment agencies and HR departments happy.

Do you think it is best to submit CVs in Word, PDF, or something else? Is it time for me to give up Word and solely use PDF?

  • 1
    I think this may be off-topic because this isn't about freelancing
    – user152
    Jan 21, 2015 at 4:53
  • People on these sites are so damned keen to off-topic things. Its a CV for freelancing work. Where else do you suggest that I post the question? Jan 21, 2015 at 8:22
  • 1
    Hmm.. never needed a cv for any freelance work.
    – Scott
    Jan 21, 2015 at 18:11
  • Why not OpenOffice/LibreOffice/GoogleDocs in lieu of Microsoft Word? Jan 21, 2015 at 18:49
  • Have you ever created a document in OO then opened it in Word? It usually comes out a complete mess. Another reason for switching to PDF is that I can create a beautiful document using LaTeX and be sure that it will remain beautiful all the way to the hiring managers inbox. Word emulators are completely out of the question for me. Jan 22, 2015 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


The Portable Document Format is actually the best format to submit any documentation. It guarantees the document will be received with the exact formatting. Word documents will render diferently depending on the application the receiver uses (ie, MS Word vs LibreOffice).

EDIT: As noted by Peter on comments, it also guarantees it will be exactly as you planed to be if receiver prints the document

  • 1
    To add, if they print it out, you want it be exactly as you planned it to be.
    – Peter MV
    Jan 21, 2015 at 12:44

The ideal answer is PDF, however in my experience most agents want you to send a word file anyway.

What I do is I create my CV in Word and then save it out in both formats. I send Word files to agents and PDFs to direct clients.

  • Thanks, I think I may go the other way; LaTeX to produce the PDF, but then cut and paste the text into a very simple Word document with no fancy formatting for the situation where I have to. Jan 22, 2015 at 8:55

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