How to Select a Resume File Name

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What's the best file name to use for your resume or CV document when you save it to apply for jobs? When you're saving your resume, it's important to select a file name for your resume that includes your own name.

When you apply for jobs, hiring managers will know whose resume it is, and it will be easier for them to track your job application and share it with colleagues involved in the hiring process.

Why Your Document File Name is Important

If you email your resume to an employer, the document name will be the first thing he or she will see. Once the employer opens the document, the first thing he or she looks at is the heading. Thus, the title and document name are critical to getting your resume a second glance.

How to Select a Resume File Name

Don't name your resume resume.doc. There will be no way to distinguish it from all the other resumes with the same file name.

Instead, include your name in the file name. The employer will know whose resume it is at a glance: johndoeresume.doc or JohnDoeResume.docx, for example. Name your cover letter the same way, i.e., johndoecoverletter.doc or JohnDoeCoverLetter.docx.

Options for Saving Your Resume

Unless an employer specifies otherwise, it's important to send or upload your resume as a PDF or a Word document. This way, the receiver will get a copy of your resume and cover letter in the original format.

In many cases, the employer will tell you how they want to receive your resume, so be sure to follow the instructions and provide what is requested.


If you don't follow the instructions in the job posting, you may not be considered for the job.

Before you save your resume, you may want to create a new file folder so all your job application materials are in one place. This will help you keep track of different versions of your resume, your cover letter, and when you have used them to apply for jobs.

To save your resume as a Word document, click on File, Save As, and type in the file name you are giving your resume, i.e., JohnDoeResume.doc or JohnDoeResume.docx. Select the folder you've chosen to save it in.

To save a Google Doc resume as a Word document or PDF, click on File, Download, Microsoft Word (.docx) or File, Download, PDF Document (.pdf). Select a folder to save your document in.

To save your Word documents as a PDF, depending on your word processing software program, you may be able to File, Print Microsoft Print to PDF, or Print to Adobe PDF. If not, there are free programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF. Select a folder to save the PDF version of your resume in.

If you're applying by email, follow these directions for attaching your documents to an email message.


Remember or jot down the location where you saved the document so it's easy to find it and attach it to an email message or upload. It's a good idea to create a new folder for all your job search correspondence. Another option is to email a copy to yourself, so you always have the latest version in your inbox.

Tips for Choosing a Resume Name

Don Fornes, former CEO of Software Advice, shares his advice on how to name your resume, how to save your resume, and other resume tips.

Don't Name Your Resume "Resume." About a third of applicants name their resume documents, "resume.doc." "Resume" may make sense on your computer, where you know it's your resume. However, on my computer, it's one of many, many resumes with the same name. By using such a generic file name, the applicant misses a great opportunity to brand him or herself (e.g. "John Doe - Quota Crusher"). If you're qualified enough to sell or market for us, you won't miss the opportunity to at least use your name in the file name.

You Don't Have to Use All Lower Case: I'm not sure where this trend originated. Is it some text messaging thing? It's so easy to capitalize properly on a keyboard and it's appropriate to do so.

Proofread Your Resume: It's unbelievable the number of spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes I see in resumes. Again, this is a glaring clue telling the hiring manager that you don't check your work and you don't pay attention to detail. Here's a​ checklist to use to proofread your resume.

Save Your Resume as a PDF: Not everyone uses the same operating system and word processor that you do. I use a Mac. I don't have Word—and I don't want it. My ATS can't handle .docx files. A lot of the resumes I see come through horribly garbled. PDF, or portable document format, is a simple solution if the company doesn't specify a format. Here's how to select a file format for your resume.

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