What to Name Your Resume | Jobs In MD

What to Name Your Resume

By: Judi Perkins

Your resume, probably in multiple incarnations, is on your hard drive. So, what did you name it?

What Not to Name It

For this example, your name is Melinda Johnson and you've answered Verizon's ad for a Project Manager. If your document name resembles any of the following, here's what it looks like to the person who received it:

  • Resume.doc: "Who's resume?"
  • Johnson.2011.doc: "Johnson? Who Johnson? We're a big company. What position?"
  • MJ2011.PM.doc: "Who's MJ? What's PM? Is that our Project Manager position? Which one?"
  • MJ1pmVER.doc: "Who's MJ? What's the '1' mean? Pm - they did this in the evening? VER - that must be us, Verizon, I guess?"
  • MJohnson3ver.pm.doc: "Johnson who? Must be 'version 3' of their resume. Pm... project manager?"
  • Melinda Johnson resume.doc: "Who's Melinda Johnson? What position did she apply for? It's her resume... duh - I know that. She responded to our ad."
  • melindajohnsonprojectmanager.doc (or worse, mjpm.doc or mj1pmver.doc): "What??"

Do you get the idea? As a career coach, I have seen resumes with heinously coded names with mysterious combinations of capital and lowercase letters and/or numbers. If I were to save them with the same name, I wouldn't have clue whose it was and I wouldn't be able find it easily later on. So, I take 20 seconds and change the document name. It's a hassle, but it has to be done.

Even worse are the resumes that arrive with no identification at all. Not even a cryptic code. These, too, I must rename for my convenience. Sometimes I have to open the document first to see what name is on it.

Naming Conventions That Help

Less than 20 percent of the resumes that I receive arrive with a clear name and position, such as "MelindaJohnson.ProjMgr.doc."

You're selling a product - you. A weak resume name is partially why job searches take so long; job seekers think of themselves and not the company. To sell effectively, you need to think about your prospect. In job searching, that's the company. Always try to:

  • Use your full name: This makes you easy to find.
  • Include the position title: This helps in case they're advertising for more than one job.
  • Don't include their company name: They know who they are.
  • Don't include your version number: They don't care about this. Your resume is either effective or ineffective. You're either qualified or you're not.
  • Make it easy to read: Use upper and lower case not for your clarification, but for the company's. Check your spelling. "Melinda.Johnson.Project.Manager.doc" is more appealing - and thus more likely to be looked at - than "Melinda.Johnson.Project.Manger.doc."

Creating a System on Your End

If you need to distinguish your versions, your companies, the positions, and the market segments, then set up a system that translates, such as creating a subfolder for each company. If you do this, there's no cost to you, other than inconvenience. If they have the hassle of renaming, it's an easy reason to disqualify you.

Differentiating by Company or Job

Your resume may be the same, but if it's going to different companies for different positions, even if the job descriptions are similar, alter your resume name accordingly. If your background and skills are in marketing, communications, and public relations, and you have a resume for each segment of the market, make sure your resume name in your system reflects that:

  • Melinda.Johnson.PubRltns.doc (notice that's not "PR.doc")
  • MelindaJohnson.Mktg.doc
  • MelindaJohnson.Comm.doc

Companies receive hundreds of resumes. If there's a way they can weed some out, they will. You've probably heard that resumes get about five seconds of initial attention. Some don't even get that long?.they're deleted before they're even opened.

Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, New York Daily News, and featured as an expert in numerous career books.