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Written by Lyndsey McLaughlinLyndsey McLaughlin

The ideal filename for your resume or cover letter

5 min read
The ideal filename for your resume or cover letter
Artwork by:Alexandra Shevchenko
The filename. It’s that last little step before submitting your resume or cover letter and breathing a sigh of relief.

It might seem simple, but the metadata contained within your file name can convey a lot about your professionalism to the hiring manager and help make sure they don’t lose your application – a pretty big responsibility after all.

In this blog, we will look at:

  • The reasons why the name of your resume or cover letter is important
  • How to choose your name
  • The type of file to use for your resume or cover letter

The importance of your resume filename

It’s just a resume filename or cover letter filename, does it really matter? It is a very simple action, but it can make a difference when it comes to being selected for an interview. 

Consider the moment your cover letter or resume lands in the hiring manager’s inbox. They may glance over it while running to another meeting. Later, when they get back to their desk, they know they read it but can’t find it! 

If your file name is not something easily searchable, it might make it difficult to locate it. For instance, if you name it ‘my CV’, it will not be easy to track in a mailbox or on a job search website. They won’t spend hours looking for it, so try to make it as straightforward as possible for them. A good filename can also reflect your professionalism. The importance of your filename may not seem relevant, but there are reasons why you need to pay attention to it. Albeit you don’t need to give it too much thought – your own name is more than efficient.

Expert tip

Proofread your documents

Whether it’s the document itself, or the resume filename, make sure you proofread everything before you submit it. Not just the filename for the resume or cover letter. If you’re not careful, you can even make an error on your name, so always be careful.

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So what is a good filename for your resume?

The most appropriate filename for a resume or cover letter is, naturally, your name. The hiring manager will be more likely to think it is a legitimate file and therefore, will be more likely to open it. It will also help them to find your resume or cover letter if searching for it via their mailbox. If your name is particularly long, you might want to abbreviate it. As a general rule, you want to keep your file name as short as possible, while making it easy to find and recognise. For instance, if your name was ‘Bernard Theopolopotis’, you may want to shorten it to ‘B Theopolopotis resume.’ In this way, the hiring manager will still be able to find you, but it will keep it neat and professional.

Expert tip

Resume and cover letter filename examples

The naming convention used for your resume should match the one used for your cover letter so as not to confuse the hiring manager. For example, if your resume filename is A_Greenwood_Resume, your cover letter should be A_Greenwood_CoverLetter and not Alice_G_CoverLetter

You should generally prioritize your last name since it’s more professional and can help differentiate you since other applicants may have your same first name.

Type of file name to use

You should check the job advert first before saving your resume or cover letter, as there may be specific instructions. If you fail to read the instructions, it will show a lack of attention to detail on your part, which is what you want to avoid at all costs! 

Some online applications will specifically request a Word document, but if you want to ensure that your formatting (and your writing) won’t be changed between your computer and the hiring manager’s, it’s best to save as a PDF. 

If your word processing software doesn’t allow you to save your resume or cover letter as a PDF, you will find programs online that let you convert it from Word to PDF for free. The resume filename should be one that is easy to open, such as using Microsoft Word.

Key Takeaways 

  • Be careful not to submit your resume or cover letter with ‘my CV’ or similar that you may save on your own computer. Always ensure it is named appropriately, make it easy for the hiring manager to find in their mailbox.
  • Abbreviate the resume filename where appropriate. For instance, if you have a long surname.
  • Make sure the filename of your resume and cover letter match, prioritizing your last name if needed.
  • Check the job advert in case there are any specific instructions for the file type. For instance, they may ask that you save it as a PDF or Word document.
  • Proofread the document and the filename before you submit it.
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