If your resume's filename doesn't make sense to a recruiter, they probably won't read it.

If your resume's filename doesn't make sense to a recruiter, they probably won't read it.
Photo by Old Youth

As much as you might want to think otherwise, recruiters are people like you and me.

They get too much email to read it all, they have anti-spam filters in their inboxes and they misplace downloaded files too.

If your uploaded or emailed resume or CV has a filename that’s unclear at best or incomprehensible at worst, recruiters aren’t going to bother spending even 6 seconds on it, and if they do actually download the attachment, they’re more likely to overlook it later.

Just ask Sarah-Michelle DeSchiffart, a Canadian IT recruiter:

This is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I get a TON of resumes daily and the amount of times I get a “resume.pdf” or “Mark CV April 2016” frustrated the heck out of me-which Mark is it? I spoke with at least 6 this week? Why is he sending me a resume last updated in April when it's January?

Over the past 14 years, I’ve received hundreds of resumes from job seekers looking for feedback. Below are the worst resume filenames I’ve seen, with the personal names changed to protect the senders.

Does your most recent resume filename include your name?

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These are all real, and good examples of how not to label your resume files:

1) Whalen Smithers, Updated Resume, Nov 2008.doc

I should hope it’s updated if you’re sending it, but don’t say that.

2) Resume Revised.doc

And I should hope it’s been revised if you’re sending it, but don’t say that either. Do say whose resume it is though.

3) BritneyEng_Last3.doc

Always, always, send in your Last revision. Just keep in mind that whichever revision it was, 3rd or whatever, it is the Last one in the recruiter’s eyes so there’s no point in mentioning it.

Also, no need to tell the recruiter which language you used, just be sure it’s one they understand.

4) Pink_Panther_CV (3).docx

Because it’s important to show how much work you put into this, right? 3 revisions is supposed to be a lot? Or maybe you’re so good that you only needed 3 revisions to reach this level of perfect resume?

Ditch the number and you’ll be ok.

5) JohnFK_CV.doc

There’s no need to save space. You can use your whole name.

6) AVK_resume.pdf

There’s no need to save space by going initials-only. You can use your whole name.

🙈 35 Resume Filenames Recruiters Won’t Respond To

7) Gwen_Stacy.doc

And the recruiter is supposed to know this is a CV because… ?

8) Peter Parker_ENG_08.doc

And the recruiter is supposed to know this is a CV because… ?

Is it ENG for English or Engineering?

Besides, no matter what year it is, including the year is going to make it look dated.

9) CV Herschel Krustofsky Résumé 5769.pdf

Besides, no matter what year it is, including the year is going to make it look dated, but if you must do it, kudos on using the correct local, non-Gregorian calendar.

And don’t think we didn’t see what you did there, including both ‘CV’ and ‘Résumé’ to cover all the bases. Very clever, eh? But if you were wise enough to adapt to the local calendar, you should be wise enough to adapt to the local resume term and go with that alone.

10) John CV 2010.doc

Maybe there are other Johns?

Maybe that’s an expiry date?

11) Marge Simpson Jan 2009.doc

Dating it to the month is even worse than dating it to the year…

12) CVTonyStarkjanuary2009.doc

…and crunching it all together just makes it hard to read…

13) 112713 J. R. R. Tolkien CV – England.doc

…but dating it to the day is definitely the worst.

14) Bruce Wayne CV Nov. 2012.rtf

Beating a dead horse, you know by now that the date is wasted space, but you almost made up for it by using the under-appreciated RTF format.

15) Resume Download Australia3.doc

Technically it is a download, but why state the obvious?

Actually, if you read the whole thing quickly, it sounds like a competition (“It’s the latest ‘Resume Download Australia!'”).

Don’t specify a geographical place unless your job search is global, or at least, you want to give the impression that it is.

16) Lancelot_Resume_-_Marketing-Brand_Development.doc

It’s not a bad idea to brand your expertise but give your full name and ditch all the _-_-_.

17) Lois Griffin – English summery.doc

Is it a resume or a summary? And if the latter, at least spell it correctly.

🙈 35 Resume Filenames Recruiters Won’t Respond To

18) Curriculum Vitae.doc

Ah, but whose CV is it?

19) MY DATA.docx

Aside from the fact that a resume isn’t only data – in fact, most people don’t mention data at all, even when they should – this could be almost anything.

Don’t make recruiters rename your files for you.

20) LEED-Resume.doc

Are those initials? An acronym?

Just use your full name and dispel all doubt. Please.

21) Sherlock_cv_new.doc

What is a ‘new’ cv? What happened to the old one? Because they’re all new to a recruiter.

22) CV 21-07-11 Net ’05.doc

Is this a code, or some kind of shorthand?

Was it rewritten on July 21st, 2011, after an initial writing in 2005?

Help us out here.

But if you think that’s bad…

23) HC20GN3FH1.doc

I’m not even going to try and I don’t think anyone else will either…

On second thought, I will- maybe this is a chemist trying to show off the compounds they’ve worked with?

But wait, I’m not done yet-

24) bsmyn47.docx

All I can tell you is that those aren’t the job seeker’s initials. And the number? Your guess is as good as mine. Looks like an anti-virus report.

25) Lord_Voldemort_Resume.pdf

Ok, I admit that I’m nitpicking here: dashes are better than underscores from an SEO point of view, but that’s all I got.

26) jimmydesignresume.doc

By adding the word ‘design’, a reader might think you have other types of resumes.

By cramming it all together, a reader might hope you have other types of resumes.

🙈 35 Resume Filenames Recruiters Won’t Respond To

27) Data systems analyst resume.doc

Sounds like a resume template for data analysts… or someone who used a resume template for data analysts but was too lazy to rename it.

28) homer jay simpson CV one page springfield March 14 2006.doc

With that much information in the title, there’s seems to be no reason to actually go ahead and read the darn thing.

29) Donovan Resume el.doc

State your full name, and get rid of anything that looks like random letters.

30) Stewie G english revised august  2011 resume.doc

State your full name, and get rid of anything that is grammatically incorrect.

31) Updated Marketing Resume of David Brent.doc

Phew! Glad you bothered to update it for us.

Get rid of that and you’ll be fine.

🙈 35 Resume Filenames Recruiters Won’t Respond To

I called and asked if they ever received it and they said what they got was poetry, lol

32) BILBO BAGGINS-Underhill.doc

Maybe you’ll get lucky and the recruiter will download this directly into a Resumes folder…

The Underhill name/word wasn’t included anywhere in the actual resume, and the fact that it wasn’t also CAPITALIZED makes me wonder if it’s supposed to be a name at all. Just serves to confuse.

33) 07.14.CarterPewterschmidt.ProfesionalSalesResume.docx

Where to begin?

Too long, there’s a typo, hard to read, dated… just a great example of what not to do.

34) CV James Dean_2014_2 pages.pdf

So if I think resumes should only be one page long, I know right away not to read yours. Thanks for saving me the time.

35) p mason lawyer arbitrator cv.doc

No one wants to hire anyone who can’t make the minimal effort to look professional by Capitalizing Titles.

36) FKafka_resume_WHERE THE DEAD HOLD SWAY.doc


Interesting choice of attention-getter, but it’s usually not good when the reader is thinking “I have to see this!” Or worse, going around telling colleagues online and off, “you’ve got to see this!”

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  • 35 Resume Filenames Recruiters Won’t Respond To
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Question of the article

What’s the worst resume file name example you’ve seen?

Have you made any of the blunders above? Tell us in the comments.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Julie Walraven

    I understand the logic behind all of them. I thought about how I label client files and it is Lastname, Firstname Resume 2014

    On my end this helps when I have multiple versions of the client files because they are returning clients but I can see the logic in not sending it out that way.

    However, in 30 years of writing resumes, I have never had an issue with an employer or job seeker for doing it that way.

  2. Jacob Share

    Julie- Thanks for sharing your best practices. Awesome.

    Since your recommended filename format starts with [Name] + ‘Resume’, it’s pretty clear what’s in the file, so no surprise that this works. And as long as the appended year is the current year, I doubt it would be problematic, and it sounds like that’s your experience.

    But for the best possible result: since you can never know when a resume will find its way to a reader, I would still avoid dating it at all, including in the document properties:


  3. Tim Woods

    While I definitely would not want to send a resume that has misspellings or anything that casts me in a negative light, some of these definitely make sense. Not going to go into each of them because it’s truly a waste of time/effort.

    I will mention one though because I find it so amusing – any recruiter that dismisses a resume because the title of the file is not in Title Case definitely should not be in recruiting; that person needs a job doing something like editing where absurd details can be called out and they have the ultimate say.


    1. Jacob Share

      I don’t have any stats to share, but you’d be surprised at what doesn’t make the cut when there are so many options available, and all too often, HR has more resumes than they want to sift through (even virtually)

  4. Tracy

    I think it has a lot to do with the role that you are recruiting for. I rename all the resumes received to first name last name date received before I even have glanced at the resume and uploaded to the ATS. Anyone who has ever done online research, received advice from a college career center advisor, or gone through a job center resume writing course will get very different viewpoints and instruction as to what the “correct” file saving or formatting method is. Just my opinion, but as recruiters, unless we specifically request a resume or CV be saved in a specific format, it is our job to look beyond. If specific instructions were requested, then that was the first stage of the interview process to see if/how the candidate follows direction.

  5. Thea Kelley

    Hi Jacob. Why do you think it’s important not to have a date in the file name?

    1. Jacob Share

      Hi Thea
      Dating the file doesn’t help the job seeker in any way. The later the recruiter sees the file, the less updated it will appear and how many will reach out asking for a more recent version?

  6. ngw

    Presumably, Batman is not the only Bruce Wayne on this planet. So what should you do if your name was made famous by someone else?

    1. Jacob Share

      No question there are people with names so common, there may even be two of them applying for the same position.

      The answer is to be more specific.

      If you have a middle name, use your full name in the filename and not just first and last names.

      If you’re like me and don’t have a middle name, mention the position you’re applying for e.g. “Jacob Share resume for Dreams Fulfiller.pdf” (got that one from https://jobmob.co.il/blog/job-names/)

  7. Sara Berzansky

    Great points, Jacob

    One thing I like to suggest is to put the job’s role in the filename as well. That way, it is highly suggestive to the recruiter because s/he sees you in the role so like a done deal. For example: Jane Doe Resume – Amazon Community Manager. It’s a subliminal message that you’ve already got the job! This is also good strategy when a recruiter is hiring for different roles; it’s easy to know what you are applying for.

    1. Jacob Share

      The more you tailor your message to your audience, the better, and this idea shows good attention to detail and makes it easier for a recruiter. Great suggestion, Sara.

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