You think this is an easy thing to do? Think again, please. At least 50% of the resumes I have came across have very illogical naming conventions. I thought this would be the first thing they teach in Business Writing 101, if not most of the career guides? Apparently not.
I am a Recruiter by profession for 15 years (hope this won’t give away too much of my age :P) and I review candidate’s profiles and resumes at work, every single day. For years I have learned (and unlearned) a lot from the resumes I came across. From the experience I gathered, I pretty much know what types of resumes would work for a Recruiter and Hiring Manager and what won’t. I can talk about these experience until the cow comes home but there is just this one thing that I would like to share today – “How To Create A Relevant Filename for Your Resume.”
I am finding myself wanting to share some advice on this topic because I noticed it is the most common mistake made by candidates in their job search process. All job seekers know that having a good resume is the most crucial first step in their job search. Everyone wants their resume to be impressive. Over the years, I have seen alot of improvement on contents of the resumes but it is amazing (or annoying) to see that people have not learned to be smarter in naming their digital resume files.
Do take a vote on the most common resume filenames I have seen…
- Resume_(company’s name)
The answer is, ALL OF THEM!!
These filenames may be unique in your personal hard disk but it is too generic when it is sitting in someone else’s hard disk that contains hundreds or thousands of resumes.
When you apply for jobs by emailing and uploading your resume onto the employers’ databases, you want your resume to be easily identified and accessible. Most time your resume will be downloaded together with the rest of the candidates’ resumes, and being reviewed for the same job. So you want your resumes to be easily search and pull from the Recruiters and Managers mailboxes and folders by making sure that your name is included in the filename. This is especially important for revisitation of your profile because it is a good sign that your resumes are being looked into again, so you definitely want to make things handy for these people.
Sure that the search engine nowadays are pretty robust but it stills required efforts and time to look up for someone else’ file that are not named appropriately.
You have to remember, you are competing with someone for a job and the competition does not start from the interview process. It starts from the moment you clicked that “Apply” button. How you named your files is also a reflection of your attributes. Do you have a logical thinking? Are you a detail person? Are you a people person that you are capable to think for others situation instead of yours first?
So always always include your name as part of the filename and I mean your name spell in full. If you have a very long name like “Jason William George-Michael White” and you don’t want to include all of them in the filename, always pick the one you go by AND follow by your lastname or sirname. For example “Jason White_Resume” or “George-Michael White_Resume”. Don’t use abbrievation or try to challenge others’ memories by naming your file with just one name, like “JWGMW_Resume”, “Jason_Resume” or “White_Resume”. The chances are they won’t remember your lastname or there may be too many Jason(s) to be able to identify which resume belongs to you. The abbrievation doesn’t mean anything too even you have the word “resume” as part of the filename. I also do not find filenames such as “JWhite_Resume” or “JasonW_Resume” helpful. Sometimes letters that are connected like this might be read as something else and it takes one’s brain a few seconds to search and to relate.
Also, avoid using your nickname or short name. If you are William avoid using “Bill” or “Will” on the filename or if you are David avoid using “Dave”. “Samantha” or “Jonathan” should always spell in full instead of “Sam” or “Jon”. The naming should be consistent with what you put on your resume. I am sure you got the idea.
You may also have different versions of resumes based on the types of roles you are applying for but I would not suggest that you include the job title as part of the filename, not unless you are a very very organize person and you are very sure you will attach or upload the right version of resume everytime. I have seen candidates that include the position as part of the filename but applied to positions that say something else. This always create doubts and confusion to the Managers, especially the two positions are very different in fields. The best way to help you organize and locate the different versions of resumes on your hard disk is to save the files in separate folders that named according to the types of jobs or job titles. Always remember to make things easy for the Recruiters and the Managers. The reality is if you are not naming your files properly, you can hardly expect others to do that for you. You just have to take your chances of your resumes being missed or tossed by taking such shortcuts.
The same thing applies to cover letter. If you are not specific in naming your files, Recruiters or Managers might attached or shared the wrong files. The end results? Someone else’ profiles will end up being reviewed instead of yours.
By giving your resume and cover letters more specific and relevant filenames, you help yourself by making things easy for others. Surprisingly, a lot of job seekers don’t understand that so they continued to let their resume buried in the folder with the rest of the files that also yelled “RESUMES!!”.
Hope you will find this topic helpful. If you are the 50% that take your resume file’s naming conventions seriously, I congratulate you. If you are the other 50% that never thought of making your filenames more specific, maybe today is a good day to start.
Here is a funny article I came across on File Naming Conventions. For your reading pleasure. 🙂