I sent off my cv to a company using hotmail and i recieved a reply stating that they could not open this and i should put it into another format in reswend.
What other format could i use and how do i use this? Please help me its important!
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Your other options include:
PDF is the clear winner. Use OpenOffice.org or PDF Creator to convert the file.
PDF. As this is "Portable Document Format" and most of the people have reader installed.
MS Word does not have PDF export IIRC functionality but it is not a problem. Just get PDF Creator and use it as a printer! Then print to this virtual printer from any Windows program!
If you have Word 2007, you can store the file as Word 2003 file. In larger companies, upgrading software is slow (some companies still use Windows 2000 and Word 2003), so you increase the chance that the document is readable by saving in Word 2003 format.
If you want the company to be able to edit the file, use RTF which can be created by Word. Another common editable format (that cannot be created by word alone) is ODT which is used by OpenOffice. You can open your word document with OpenOffice and save it as ODT. Note that in all these cases, fonts are not embedded. So, if you use exotic fonts, the document may look quite different on the recipient's computer (but all the text will of course still be there).
If you want the company only to view and/or print the file, use a format which embeds the fonts. The most common one is PDF. Word 2007 and OpenOffice can export PDF files directly. For older versions, you can use tools like FreePDF XP (which does not only work on Windows XP).
Other more exotic format for the same task are Adobe's PostScript or Microsoft's XPS. But you should only convert to that format if your recipient explicitly requests it.
For your task (an application letter or a CV), I'd stick to PDF (as you can be sure it will look for the recipient like it looks for you), unless the company explicitly requests another format.