Your resume is written, and it’s time to apply for that job.
We have often recommended (like here and here) that you tailor your resume to every position that you apply for. You can’t rely on the same resume content to land you an interview in every situation, and not all applications should be treated as the same.
This customization should extend not only to the resume content and design, but to the filetype you use to apply. Here at VisualCV we offer several PDF resume templates, but did you know that we offer templates for export to Microsoft Word as well?
PDF resumes are best in most situations. They allow for more interesting and engaging designs, they are easy to send out electronically or print, and they look the same on all devices and programs - there is no danger of your PDF looking great on your computer, but messy on an employer’s. DOCs, conversely, may display differently on different devices, and each document editor - Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, and so on - will put its own spin on your resume. This is quite the risk to take when submitting a resume!
So with all these clear benefits to using a PDF, when should you use a DOC? Well - when you are asked to. Some employers are more traditional, and will specifically ask for a Word document instead of a PDF. This is why the Google Doc templates provided by VisualCV are more toned-down than the online and PDF templates - DOC resumes are more traditional, so the templates were designed to appeal to a more traditional employer.
With VisualCV, you can have the best of both worlds by creating a more modern VisualCV and hosting it online, then linking to it in your DOC resume. This way, you have the traditional document as requested, as well as a online version to back it up.
So here is the rule of thumb: If an employer requests a specific filetype, that is the type you should use. If not, a PDF is the way to go.