William Shakespeare famously wrote the line “What’s in a name?” in his play, Romeo and Juliet. Everything, it seems, when it comes to naming your resume and cover letter files. How you name your resume and cover letter speaks volumes to a potential recruiter.
Picture this : you are a recruiter yourself and have just received an application from someone who couldn’t seem to care enough to pay attention to details. Would you consider the application? Probably not. It’s just how the human mind works. Presentation is key when it comes to forming impressions. When you are applying for a job you want to make the best impression possible.
When it comes to your resume file name, think of it as your digital handshake.
In this guide, we’ll cover :
- Importance of a Resume File Name
- How to choose a Resume name and Cover Letter Name with Examples
- Tips on Choosing the Perfect Resume File Name
- How to save your Resume & Cover Letter Files
- 10 Common Resume File Name mistakes to avoid
The Importance of a Resume File Name
There are a few reasons why it is important to give your resume a specific file name.
- It can help you stand out from the competition – If all of the resumes for a job are named “resume.doc” or “resume.pdf,” yours will stand out if you name it something different. Imagine just how many people make this common mistake leaving recruiters with the painful task of opening each file to figure out which resume belongs to whom. According to surveys, at least a third of the people name their files just resume.doc. Don’t fall in that category.
- It makes it easier for employers to find your resume – If you have a specific file name for your resume, employers will be able to easily find it when they are conducting a job search. How you name your resume file will also affect how a recruiter will store and contact you about potential job opportunities.
- It helps you keep track of your resumes – If you have multiple versions of your resume, it can be helpful to keep track of them by giving each one a specific file name. This will help you avoid accidentally sending the wrong resume to a potential employer. By naming your resume files something different, like “resume_johnsmith.doc” and “resume_johnsmith_nov2022.doc,” you’ll be able to easily keep track of which one is the most recent.
What to Name your Resume and Cover Letter File?
If you want your file to stay in the records, it is recommended you name your resume using your name. It is the best way to distinguish your document amidst the scores of applications that recruiters receive on a daily basis. Saving your document with your name allows a hiring manager to identify it at a glance.
What should I name my resume file?
- For example if your name is Robert Smith and resume can be named as – Robert-Smith-Resume.docx
- For example if your name is Robert Smith and Cover letter can be named as – Robert-Smith-Cover-Letter.docx
For example if your name is James Campbell and if you are applying for a Accounting Analyst position then you resume can be named as – James-Campbell-Accounting-Analyst-Resume.docx
It is recommended that you name your cover letter document the same way as well.
Tips on Choosing the Perfect Resume File Name
When you’re choosing a resume file name, you want to make sure that it’s professional and easy to remember. You also want to make sure that it’s different from the file names of other resumes that are being submitted for the same job.
Here are a few tips for choosing a resume file name:
1. Use your Full Name – One of the best ways to choose a resume file name is to use your full name. This will help the hiring manager remember your name and it will also show that you’re a professional.
2. Use your email address – Another way to choose a resume file name is to use your email address. This will also help the hiring manager remember your name and it will show that you’re a professional.
3. Use your job title – If you’re not sure what to name your resume file, you can use your job title. This will help the hiring manager know what position you’re applying for.
4. Use the company’s name – If you’re applying for a job at a specific company, you can use the company’s name in your resume file name. This will show the hiring manager that you’re interested in the company and that you’ve done your research.
5. Use the date – If you’re applying for a job that you’ve applied for before, you can use the date in your resume file name. This will help you keep track of which version of your resume you submitted to which company.
6. Use a file extension – If you want to use something other than your name or your email address, you can use a file extension. A file extension is the three letters at the end of a file name, like “.doc” or “.pdf.” This will help the hiring manager know what type of file they’re looking at.
7. Separating Words in a Cover Letter and Resume File Name – Seperate the words in your file name using hyphens or underscores. Separate first letter of last word in cover letter and resume title with hyphen or underscore (_).
8. Capitalize First Letters vs. Using Lowercase : Do not capitalize the complete file name of your resume. When naming your cover letters and resumes, use title case file names ( capitalizing only the first letter of each word) to keep your formatting consistent across documents.
9. Avoid Special Characters in Resume & Cover Letter Names – Avoid using special characters and stick to English Alphabet letters (A-Z) and Numbers as they don’t work very well with most applicant tracking systems and desktops.
10. Avoid dates in a file name – Simply use your full name and specify whether it is a resume or cover letter when saving your document. It is the most clutter-free and professional approach.
Atlast, When you are proofreading your resume or cover letter don’t forget to also proofread your file name. You don’t want basic errors slipping in to ruin all the hard work you’ve put in to create the most compelling candidate profile for yourself. It pays to pay attention to detail.
How to save your Resume & Cover Letter Files
A Word document or a PDF is the most widely accepted format when submitting a resume. Unless a recruiter or hiring manager specifies otherwise and requests for a different file format you need not worry.
Often an employer will tell you how they want your resume to be submitted. Try and stick to stipulations for a better shot at being considered for the position.
It is also a good idea to save your resume in both PDF and Word document formats so you have them ready to go depending on what is required at the time of applying.
For Word Document : Use Microsoft Word to create a new document and click on Save As to get a .doc version of your resume.
For PDF : Depending on the software you are using, you should be able to Print to Adobe PDF to save your resume as a PDF. In case your software does not support that, you could use one of the free PDF converter programs available online.
10 Common Resume File Name mistakes to avoid
- Don’t send in a resume file name that is simply called Resume.doc.
- Recruiters and hiring managers receive several resumes each day. They simply do not have the time or patience to sift through 50 of them titled Resume.doc trying to figure which belongs to whom.
- Name your resume file using your full name. There are bound to be several Rachels, Michaels, Divyas out there. You don’t want to leave your recruiter frustrated trying to figure out which resume file belongs to whom.
- While you are at it, don’t forget to specify what the document actually is. For instance, simply naming it Rachel-Green.doc does not tell recruiters what the document is. And honestly, nobody has the patience to figure it out for themselves either. Instead, write Rachel Green-Resume.doc to lend clarity.
- Avoid file names such as Rachel-Resume-Updated.doc. Recruiters sure hope you are sending them an updated version; there is no need to spell it out.
- File names such as Rachel-Resume-Last.doc or Rachel-Resume-2020.doc are even worse than those that state they have been updated or revised. When you are sending in a resume file ensure you are sending the final version. Don’t send revised or last versions. Similarly, it is best if you leave out the year or month in a file name. Including it only makes it look dated.
- Resumes that are named SRK-Resume.doc aren’t of much help to recruiters and hiring managers either. They really do not have the time to try and figure out who those initials belong to. Keep it simple and just write out your full name.
- Do provide spacing or hyphens between words when creating a resume file name. Crunching it all together (RachelGreenResume.doc) makes it hard to read.
- While naming your file AVOID all caps. For instance, a file name that says ARCH-Resume.doc could leave the recruiter wondering if ARCH is an acronym for something. Stick to Title Case or Sentence Case as is applicable to dispel all doubts.
- Coming up with quirky file names is a big NO when you are on a job hunt. You don’t want to begin your job search on the wrong foot and you definitely want potential recruiters, hiring managers and employers to take you seriously.
Everyone wants to craft the ideal resume to maximize their chances of landing the perfect job. Since great attention is paid to the details in the content of a resume and cover letter, it is only imperative that the same amount of attention be paid when naming your resume and cover letter files. You don’t want to have a great resume that is let down by a badly named document. Your aim at every step of the way should be to maximize the chances of your job application being picked up so that you can turn on the charm and intelligence in the next step… the interview.
What should I save my resume as?
The ideal way to title your resume would be to use your full name (not just first or last name), followed by the document type (whether it is a resume or cover letter). Alternately, you could also name it using your full name, followed by job description, and then the document type.
Does resume file format matter? What format is best?
Yes, the resume file format does matter. It might often be the last thing we think of when crafting a resume and applying for a job. However, the format you choose does matter. Word documents and PDFs are the most widely accepted formats. These are the more commonly used formats by most people. You don’t want to be in a situation where your recruiter or hiring manager cannot access your resume due to an incorrect file format.
How do I organize resume files?
If this is for your personal reference then it is best to name your resume file using dates. This will help you identify the latest version of your resume. You could also organize your resume files using company names in the file name to help you figure out which job posting you had used that resume version for.
Just remember to omit the date and company name when sending the resume to a recruiter or hiring manager.
Should I put my resume in a folder?
When you arrive for an interview be sure to carry your resume in a folder to keep it crisp and in order. You don’t want to hand out a resume that has folds, tears or stains. It’s just not professional. Ideally, your folder should also have slots to house other important documents such as diplomas, mark sheets, and certificates, should a prospective employer want to see them during the course of the interview.