If your resume's filename doesn't make sense to a recruiter, they probably won't read it.
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 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 7 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.
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These are all real:
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.
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.
There’s no need to save space. You can use your whole name.
There’s no need to save space by going initials-only. You can use your whole name.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
Are those initials? An acronym?
Just use your full name and dispel all doubt. Please.
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…
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-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”Free Bonus
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What’s the worst resume file name example you’ve seen?
Have you made any of the blunders above? Tell us in the comments.
Pro-tips with Sarah: How to Name Your Resume File
Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.