There are so many ways to compose CVs now. I try to keep my CV updated in LaTeX, Markdown/HTML, ASCII, and Word just in case someone needs a specific file format.

If an application doesn't specify a specific CV format (and they tend not to), what is the best format, in terms of style vs. portability vs. consistency, etc., to use for a CV?

  • The “best” is the one common in your field, that may well be different in other fields of course....
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 5 '19 at 5:06
  • 7
    I would never give my CV out in any form other than PDF (or paper), but YMMV
    – cag51
    Jul 5 '19 at 5:12
  • There is also Europass.
    – gerrit
    Jul 5 '19 at 8:17

To the extent that they specify a file format, calls for application most often require all documents, including the CV, in pdf format. MS Word docx is less frequent, but possible. I've never seen a call asking for LaTeX, markdown, or html (source) files.


I am not aware of any de-facto standards and I would assume this can vary depending on country as well as which field one is applying within. The most common I have seen when applying is pdf and would be my choice if given the option. Pdf is made to always look the same and would thus seem the best in regards to style (a pdf-file opened on iphone or pc will still look the same so you know what they will see), portability (can be saved with a low filesize and is one, if not the most, common file-type) and consistency (again, will always look the same).

Many will be able to open word-files but there can be inconsistencies with graphical objects when opening in different software (open-, libre- or microsoft office for instance) so pictures could end up moving around etc. Again it would probably be safe to send a word-file if applying for Microsoft but maybe less suitable for an Open-source project, so the fields matter.

For editing I guess it's a matter of more personal choice and the best software is the one you are skilled in using.

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