There’s a lot of talk about using Google Docs for résumés, and a ton of résumé templates are available for Google Docs.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this. I’d love to be able to use and recommend an alternative to MS Word (though preferably not from Google). But I’ve tried the various candidates over the years, and none has ever proved suitable for résumés. (Even the techniques most Word users are familiar with aren’t suitable for résumés.)

A major problem for Google Docs is its incompatibility with the ATS systems used by employers for processing résumés. That alone is enough to rule it out. You’ll see people on the Web saying that the solution is to download the Google Docs résumé as a PDF, and send the PDF to the employer. But PDFs don’t do any better with ATS systems. (For details, see the article on PDFs.)

Google Docs documents can be converted to Word documents (.docx), but they won’t keep their visual appearance reliably after conversion. That’s a problem for résumés, especially for people who need to maintain a professional appearance. The results can be especially bad when the résumés run to more than one page.

Not to mention that those people who talk about using Google Docs for résumés are normally talking about using templates. But templates are never a good idea for résumés, except perhaps for some very junior job-seekers or people doing unskilled work. Too many templates look out-and-out tacky, too many of them don’t work well with ATS systems, and, again, templates are apt to present additional challenges when the résumé goes to more than one page.








early adopter (n) guinea pig

—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary of Information Technology (12th ed., 2024)