I was alerted this morning in one of my association newsletters to an issue that could have very serious consequences for executives sending their resumes to recruiters and employers as a document file, which has largely replaced physical delivery via a “hard” (printed) copy. Do you use Word 2007? Have you recently purchased a new laptop or PC? It probably came with the recently released Windows Vista operating system and Word 2007 on it. Or you may be one of those on the leading edge who has already updated your existing PC to Word 2007 and Vista. New technology is wonderful, but there is a very real caveat pointed out by one of my colleagues at The Career Management Alliance.
Be aware that any documents you may be forwarding in connection with an employment opportunity (executive resume, cover letter, etc.) that were created on Word 2007 software (which is the version bundled with Windows Vista Operating Systems) CANNOT be opened on another computer that does not have Word 2007. So, any employer that has an earlier version of Word on their systems will not be able to open them! This probably means most employers, since companies are generally reluctant to jump too quickly on the bandwagon of new software versions and also because upgrading an entire company to a new operating system or application version is no small task.
With the high volume of resume submissions received on most openings, it would not seem likely that an employer or recruiter would take the trouble to notify you of the issue and request your documents in a compatible format. Far more likely is that they will just discard your e-mail.
The solution is simple. Apparently the problem is not Vista itself but the version of Word (2007) that is used on it. If you select the Word compatibility feature in Word 2007, you can create and save your documents in Word 1997-2003 compatible format, which I would recommend until Word 2007 and Vista are more prevalent. I do not have Word 2007 on my PC, but a colleague tells me that you can address the problem similarly to how it is done on earlier versions of Word: When you save your files, do a “Save As” instead of “Save,” and select Word 2003 from the dropdown menu.
Microsoft is working on the compatibility issue, and they do offer a free download of a product called Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to address it. You may wish to visit the following page on Microsoft’s site: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx
There is a demo you can view to tour the Virtual PC 2007 product. If desired, you can then download the product and install a version of Word (1998, 2000, 2003 or 2007) that will allow you to create compatible versions of your resume, cover letters, and other documents you are using in connection with your career transition.