Why Your File Name Could Be Killing Your Resume



It is the little things that can doom the prospective jobseeker.

-A resume with a glaring typo. 
-A cover letter addressed to the wrong HR person. 
-A listed reference that with outdated contact information. 

These are all things you should double check before sending in your resume to potential employers. However, there is another small item that is often overlooked: the file name.

The majority of resumes clients send to me for review are called resume.doc This makes complete sense sitting on your home computer, but you have to keep in mind that many HR departments receive hundreds of resumes a day. The standard "resume.doc" doesn't really help you stand out in a crowd.

When I create a resume for someone I always name the file John Doe Resume. This way the document will at least be identifiable in a list of hundreds of resume files. Recently, I came across an even more powerful way to name your document. Professional Branding is something I talk about a lot here at Quality Resumes, so why no brand your file name as well. Instead of John Doe Resume, why not something more dramatic? John Doe Marketing Guru has a nice ring to it.

Another no-no when it comes to file names is using all lowercase letters. Think of everything you write in connection with your job search as a professional piece of writing. LinkedIn status updates, casual networking emails, tweets, and yes, the file names of your resumes and cover letters. It may seem like a little thing, but small holes can sink big ships.

While we are on the topic of file names, this would be a good time to review what types of file extensions to use as well. Sometimes a job listing will explicitly state what type of file they are looking for. The two most common are Word documents or PDF's. If the request is written in the job listing, be sure to follow the directions. This is more than a simple whim of the HR department. Many ATS systems will be set to only read a certain type of file. If you send in the wrong one, your resume could show up as a blank document. If a specific type of extension is not mentioned I always recommend that clients use Word as this tends to be the standard across the industry.

So remember, proofread, check your references and give some thought to your resume's file name. You never know what will help you get through the door.