Resume document formats (was: [linux-elitists] How do you...)

Ben Finney
Wed Apr 18 16:45:02 PDT 2007

[Subject field switched to something more akin to the thread subject. 
Greg, c'mon, you know how to write a Subject field.]

On 18-Apr-2007, Teh Entar-Nick wrote:
> Greg Folkert:
> > [recruiters] all want a resume or CV in "Word" format, even for OS 
> > (*NIX) analysts or Network analysts, Infrastructure Engineers... 
> > all that kind of cruft. They all want *MS WORD* formats. RTF isn't 
> > acceptable either, I've tried.

I'll let you in on a translation secret. When they say "Word format", 
what they mean is "a format that our automated keyword-mulching resume 
parsing system can consume".

They don't initially care about opening these documents in Word, they 
feed them directly to a system that scans them for keywords and makes 
a database entry for the applicant with all the juicy keywords and 
other heurimagically-parsed details. The formatting is utterly 
irrelevant to this; the system looks only at the text.

When the time comes to get a human involved, *then* they might print 
it out and read it on paper, but by that point they've already got 
what they need from "Word format", including how much they like you 
for the position.

> So please accept my apologies if this sounds like a 
> wasn't-paying-attention answer, but have you tried sending them RTF 
> in a file with a .doc extension?  The trick I once learned from Don 
> Marti several years ago was that if you renamed an HTML file with 
> .doc Word would apparently just open it up as Pretty Laid-Out Text 
> and convert it internally.

I'll go you one better: every time a recruiter asks for a "Word 
format" document, I have only ever sent them a *plain text* document 
(these days reST, which looks good but is still plain text) renamed 
with a ".doc" suffix.

*Never* in twenty years has any of them asked me to send in a 
different format in order to process it; the process flows just as 
smoothly as if I'd sent it using MS Word format. (And yes, a great 
deal of these have resulted in job offers, so it's not that I'm being 
silently discarded.)

I conclude from this that their system doesn't care about the 
difference between "foo.doc is Word format" and "foo.doc is plain 
text", and neither do they.

 \     Rommel: "Don't move, or I'll turn the key on this can of Spam!" |
  `\                             -- The Goon Show, _Rommel's Treasure_ |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <>
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