Last week I worked with a job seeker to polish his resume. When we were done, we talked about how he would email his resume, how to write a cover email, and how to make the most of it with a good file name for his attached resume.
As I told him, a good resume file name can market you right on an employer's hard drive. Writing that good file name is easy: just be sure to include your name. For example: Resume-Hank-Hill-Sales.doc.
A Good File Name is Smart Marketing
Here's how I came to realize the power of a good file name for a resume:
A month or so ago I hired a consultant (we'll call her Pam Stills) to edit an article I'd written. Pam sent me her edits as a Word attachment to her email. When I clicked the Save button to download the document to my hard drive, I noticed the name of the file was SusanIrelandReview.doc.
"Good heavens," I thought. "With all the SusanIreland file names already on my hard drive, this one will just blend into the list and get lost. I'll never find Pam's document when I need it." So I renamed her file: PamStillsReview.doc.
Later it dawned on me what a favor I'd done for Pam. Her name is now on my hard drive. Every time I look at my computer files, I see her name and think of the good service she provided me.
Do you see how powerful that file name is? It gives Pam her own free marketing campaign running silently on my hard drive!
That's exactly how job seekers can market themselves on recruiters' and employers' hard drives. Just put your name in the file name of your resume. For example, "ResumeRonSmithAnalyst.doc."
Your Resume: How To Write a Good File Name
Let's talk about the file name of your resume: How to do it correctly so you really make the most of this marketing opportunity. Here are a few details to pay attention to:
- Limit the length of your file name to no more than 24 characters and spaces (not including the .doc extension). Many computer systems show only the first 24 characters and spaces. Others allow long file names to wrap to a second line. But you don't know what the employer's computer will show, so play it safe. Keep your file name short so it fits on one line on most systems.
- All letters and numbers can be used.
- Standard keyboard symbols are allowed, except forward and backward slashes (/ and ) and periods (.)
- Spaces between words are acceptable. It's also okay to insert dashes (-) or underscores (_) between words. For example: Resume-James-Vincent.doc and Resume_Mike_Fro_Sales.doc.
- Capitalized letters are fine and may come in handy for separating words instead of using spaces. For example, instead of: Resume Anthony Lissette CEO.doc (23 characters and spaces not including the .doc) you could write ResumeAnthonyLissetteCEO.doc (21 characters and spaces).
- Words to include: your name and the word "resume". If you have space: name of job and date. If you list the date, remember not to use slashes or periods.
- Prioritize the words in your file name so the most important word comes first, then the second most important, and so on. This way, if the employer's computer doesn't show the entire file name, it will at least show the most important words.
Okay, now you know how to create a resume file name that will help you make the most of it -- right on the employer's hard drive. I hope you'll try it and let us know if you get more calls for interviews!
Your job search in the digital age requires some hustle and strategy. You may be finished with you resume and cover letter, but hold on for just a second. The file name really matters? Yes, when submitting your resume and cover letter to a potential employer you need to name the files correctly.
Many jobs seekers neglect to name the files correctly and one of two things can happen.
- The hiring manager may be unable to find your application should they need to search for it in their database.
- An unprofessional file name will be a turn-off to the hiring manager
Yes, these little things can really get your resume ignored by a hiring manager or recruiter.
They potentially go through hundreds of resumes a day and the last thing they want to see is “Resume00323.Doc” or John2219.docx.
We’ll show you what the cover letter and resume file name should be in this post.
How to Name your Resume File
Your resume file name should be either your full name and “resume”, or your full name and the title of the position you’re applying for. This ensures that the hiring manager could locate your file if they search for it in the database.
Including the title ensures that the hiring manager knows exactly which role you’re applying for.
Here are some examples of good resume file names:
You should always include your last name as large companies receive thousands of resumes a day and you can bet you’re not the only John.
Which one should you pick?
If you’re applying for a position in a larger company you should include your name and the position. For example, if the hiring manager was to search the database to fill an accounting position, they could easily locate your resume because you included “accountant”.
If it’s a smaller company, then your name and “resume” works fine.
How to Name your Cover Letter file
Your cover letter will be attached to the resume so it’s not as important but you should still use best practices when naming your cover letter.
It should follow the same principles but you don’t need to include the title of the position. Your name and “cover letter” works best in this situation. This also makes it easier for the hiring manager to locate you in the database.
Here are some examples of good cover letter file names:
If you have an advanced degree or certification that’s required or makes you a more qualified candidate, you should include it. This can catch the recruiters attention and have them look into your resume in more detail.
For example, if you were an accountant with a CPA certification, you would include “CPA” in the file name. If you were going for a nursing position, instead of writing “nursing” you would use “RN”.
These certifications and qualifications will catch the attention of the hiring manager and help you stand out over the other candidates.
Other things to keep in mind
- You should be sending your resume as a .Doc file unless they ask for a PDF or any other file type. A .Doc file is the preferred format for the majority of employers.Here are instructions on how to convert a PDF document as a Doc file:
You can read more about sending the correct file type here.
- If you’re sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager directly, Tuesday – Thursday is the best time. You miss their Monday blue as they get started with the workweek and you don’t want to send it when they’re wrapping up for the weekend.
- You can use dashes, capitals or periods in between words when naming the file. This makes it easier for the them to read. For example: “John.Smith.Resume.Doc” is a whole lot easier to read vs. “Johnsmithresume.doc”.
- Once that resume reaches the hiring manager, you want to ensure it stands out. Ensure your resume is up to date and error free. They only spend a few seconds reviewing your resume and you want to make sure your major selling points and qualifications are clear and easy to understand.
Something as simple as the file name may not seem like a big deal to many, but now you can understand why it’s important. With hundreds of candidates fighting for a single position, every detail matters.
As always, good luck with your job search! ZipJob offers a Free resume review from a certified professional which you can get here.