Here’s a resume tip to make you think. In all the time you spend crafting, writing and editing the perfect resume, how much time did you spend considering the file name?
It’s likely you didn’t consider it at all. Does it even matter what you name the file? Does it matter how you save it? How you send it?
How you name, save and send your resume file is a minor detail, but it can be one last piece of branding to put you over the top and a minor housekeeping item to keep your name in the running for a position, according to a report, “Resume Filename Best Practices,” released March 11 by executive recruiters Palladian International, in Waynesboro, Va.
We’ve written before of the importance that your resume have a clear titles using keywords that are searchable in databases and readable for human screeners (The Perfect Resume: Easy to Read and Easy to Search), but Palladian makes the case that the same rules of content and format apply to the file name as well.
“The filename is, by necessity, the first piece of information (from) the resume read by a hiring manager. Because of this, the filename can start the process of establishing a positive or negative impression,” the report said.
Additionally the file format can make it easier or harder for the initial resume screener to read the file or load it into a searchable database.
But how many job seekers bother to use the file name to their advantage? How many hurt themselves in the process?
Palladian surveyed 150 resumes submitted to their office between September 2008 and February 2009. It’s a limited sampling, but we’ll assume it is fairly typical of job seekers nationwide. The results: job seekers do it half-right.
Ninety-one percent of surveyed resumes used the jobseeker’s name in the file name and 75 percent used the word “resume,” both considered good practice, according to Palladian. But more than 25 percent included a date or version number (i.e. resume(2) or Fall2008Resume), information that is of no use to the resume screener and a waste of space. Words like “final,” “revised,” “Updated,” etc. are similarly unhelpful.
A better use of the space is job specific keywords that will associate your resume with a specific position right off the bat.
Only 11 percent of resumes used keywords in the file name, Palladian said, and half of those were from sales and marketing candidates who are trained to pay attention to branding details.
<Your ad here>
Consider these factors when writing your resume file name:
- The file name is visible in the initial e-mail attachment directly below the e-mail subject line. If you fret over one, why not the other?
- The file name is an extra opportunity to be searchable by the human resources database;
- The file name will stare back at the resume screener from a file folder on her desktop.
Given the above, your file name is like a buying ad space on the resume screener’s coffe mug and wasting it. Make sure it says who you are and what you do.
Palladian’s prescription for the best practice: FirstName-LastName-Resume-KeywordPhrase (John-Doe-Resume-Supply-Chain.doc)
Tips from Palladian:
- Divide words with a dash. Filenames with no division between words are difficult to read. (I will add that the underscore or back- and forward-slash are less prominent)
- Use Microsoft Word 2003 .doc. It’s the standard. PDFs, Rich Text Files, plain text files and others are cute, but ultimately fail you, if the screener can’t open the file or doesn’t want to go to the trouble of converting it.