Why Word Resumes

I don’t know why I’m shocked every time this happens to me, but it is happening again, and I am at my desk this morning shocked. Yesterday I posted an ad for a job opening in my department. I’m not looking for a proven “rock star” as I can’t really afford one but I’m hoping to find someone sharp and willing to learn with a bit of experience developing software.

Given that I intentionally don’t mention specific technologies or years of experience in the job description. As a result I expect to get a bunch of thin resumes from recent grads and four pagers from those with 20+ years experience that are looking for a career shift. That’s not the shocking part. In fact, all of those are great and I give serious consideration to them all.

What I find shocking is how many people send me resumes in .doc format. Most of them, in fact! What IT professional in 2011, still thinks that is the best way to send a resume? I would expect a developer to understand the multitude of reasons why this format isn’t the best choice.

Not the least of which is that I may not even have Word. In which case the careful formatting and tasteful font choices are worthless since they are likely broken for the recipient. Also, don’t they realize that many corporations filter out .doc explicitly from email attachments since it is a popular method for distributing malware?

In fact, when I give information security training to my users I warn them about opening attachments from unknown sources, particularly those that may contain macros or other scripting such as Word.

I know no format is perfectly safe, and Acrobat has many vulnerabilities, but sending a PDF document, or a plain text document seems like the obvious choice. I wish I could say that I get so many strong resumes that I can just discard the candidates who send Word documents to me, but I can’t. However, it is a strike against them right off the bat.



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