What to Name a Resume and Cover Letter File

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ZipJob Team

4 min read

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Your job search in the digital age requires some hustle and strategy. You may be finished with you resume and cover letter, but hold on for just a second. The file name really matters? Yes, when submitting your resume and cover letter to a potential employer you need to name the files correctly.

Many jobs seekers neglect to name the files correctly and one of two things can happen.

  1. The hiring manager may be unable to find your application should they need to search for it in their database

  2. An unprofessional file name will be a turn-off to the hiring manager

Yes, these little things can really get your resume ignored by a hiring manager or recruiter.

They potentially go through hundreds of resumes a day and the last thing they want to see is "Resume00323.Doc" or John2019.docx.

We'll show you what the cover letter and resume file name should be in this post.

How to Name Your Resume File

Your resume file name should be either your full name and "resume", or your full name and the title of the position you're applying for. This ensures that hiring managers can locate your file if they search for it in the database.

Including the title ensures that the hiring manager knows exactly which role you're applying for.

Here are some examples of good resume file names:





You should always include your last name as large companies receive thousands of resumes a day and you can bet you're not the only John.

Which one should you pick?

If you're applying for a position in a larger company you should include your name and the position. For example, if the hiring manager was to search the database to fill an accounting position, they could easily locate your resume because you included "accountant".

If it's a smaller company, then your name and "resume" works fine.

Check ATS compatibility

How to Name Your Cover Letter File

Your cover letter will be attached to the resume so it's not as important but you should still use best practices when naming your cover letter.

It should follow the same principles but you don't need to include the title of the position. Your name and "cover letter" works best in this situation. This also makes it easier for the hiring manager to locate you in the database.

Here are some examples of good cover letter file names:



Other Options

If you have an advanced degree or certification that's required or makes you a more qualified candidate, you should include it. This can catch recruiters' attention and have them look into your resume in more detail.

For example, if you were an accountant with a CPA certification, you would include "CPA" in the file name. If you were going for a nursing position, instead of writing "nursing" you would use "RN".






These certifications and qualifications will catch the attention of the hiring manager and help you stand out over the other candidates.

Expert Tip

you should include a custom LinkedIn URL in your resume's contact information.

Other things to keep in mind

  1. You should be sending your resume as a .doc or .docx file unless the employers ask for a PDF or any other file type. A .doc file is the preferred format for the majority of employers. Here are instructions on how to convert a PDF document as a .doc file:

    Source: (Adobe)

    You can read more about sending the correct file type here.

  2. If you're sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager directly, Tuesday - Thursday is the best time. You miss their Monday blue as they get started with the workweek and you don't want to send it when they're wrapping up for the weekend.

  3. You can use dashes, capitals or periods in between words when naming the file. This makes it easier for the them to read. For example: "John.Smith.Resume.Doc" is a whole lot easier to read vs. "Johnsmithresume.doc".

  4. Once that resume reaches the hiring manager, you want to ensure it stands out. Ensure your resume is up to date and error free. They only spend a few seconds reviewing your resume and you want to make sure your major selling points and qualifications are clear and easy to understand.


Something as simple as the file name may not seem like a big deal to many, but now you can understand why it's important. With hundreds of candidates fighting for a single position, every detail matters.

As always, good luck with your job search!

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Written by

ZipJob Team

The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.

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