We recently expanded the team here at Jobscan, and as a result, we saw firsthand some of the mistakes job seekers make. One thing we saw over and over was people who were careless with their resume file name. And while we certainly would not have based our hiring decision on that, the fact is that all of the quality candidates used logical and relevant resume file names—every single one included their full first and last names, and most included the company or position.
Those whose applications were clearly hastily done, or who were not qualified (and perhaps just applying to as many jobs as possible), had file names that were all over the board.
The lesson? When writing a resume, don’t overlook any details—even your resume file name. You’ll stand out from the job seekers who send in sloppy applications, and trust us—it’s easy to see which applicants have put forth effort and which haven’t.
In all but one of the many applicant tracking systems we have tested, candidates’ resume file names are visible to hiring managers. So keep your resume file name useful, relevant, and professional.
Below is a list of actual resume file names from applications we received (“Peter Parker” and the corresponding initials were used to protect candidate anonymity. Nerd trivia: Peter Parker’s middle name is Benjamin).
After the list: what doesn’t work, and what you should do instead.
Learn from these resume file name mistakes
- A+ Marketing Expert
- General Resume
- Peter Parker – Project Management, Content Production, Event Management
- Resume (General Work)
- 2015 Resume
- 2015 Resume Final
There are three main takeaways from these submissions:
Role-related resume name
We were not hiring for an accountant, so the person who submitted “Accounting_Resume” started off in the hole. Submitting a resume focused on accounting for a non-accounting role gives the impression that you don’t care about that role. That’s not going to lead to an interview or a job.
Similarly, a resume with “General” or “General Work” in the file name is unlikely to get you far. It would be nearly impossible for a generic resume to sell you as a top candidate for a specific role.
“A+ Marketing Expert” at least got the field correct. A gimmicky resume file name might catch attention, but if you don’t include any identifying information in it, you’ve just made yourself harder to find later.
They say a little mystery can be a good thing. And in this case, it’s certainly true. Being transparent about which draft of your resume you have submitted comes across as sloppy (some things should be kept behind the scenes), and hints that you probably haven’t customized your resume to the job. That puts you a step behind those who do tailor their resumes.
Including the year in your resume is fine. But “2015 resume” could belong to anyone who presently has a resume. Your name must be in your resume file name also.
Resume file name length
Both applicant tracking systems and email programs generally preview attached documents—including previews of file names. And if you use a 71-character file name, as one applicant did, the file name is going to get cut off. You have plenty of room to include the pertinent information in a standard-length file name; don’t try to turn the file name into a second resume. It’s possible to be both brief and descriptive.
Tips for writing a resume file name
Your resume file name should include your full first and last name. If you have a common name, you could also add your middle initial.
If, as you should be, you’re sending customized resumes to each position you apply for, include information such as the job title or the company name in your resume file name. Not only is this useful for your own records (making it easier to track which resumes had the best response rates), it can help the person in the hiring role—particularly in a company with more than one opening.
Including the company name can also solve the versioning problems seen above. If you use the company name in your resume file name, you won’t need to tack numbers on the end to keep track of different versions and drafts.
Your resume file name won’t make or break your job search. But, when writing a resume, remember that a brief and specific file name can help you stand out from the crowd submitting generic resumes.