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Q: I have attended several career management workshops and the presenters usually mention the importance of creating a discernible file name for my resume before submitting it for consideration.  Why is this stuff a big deal especially when it conflicts with the filing system I created for my documents?

Answer:  I am on deadline.  I am covered up reviewing dozens of potential candidates for several searches. I go to a promising  candidate’s database record and, regrettably,  there is a problem — for whatever reason the resume did not attach properly to the  record archive.

resume file nameI quickly go to the master resume file, but I cannot find it there either.  What I did find were several dozen resumes with no discernible reference to whom the resume belonged.  In other words, a resume with a file name that excluded the candidate’s first and last name.  I moved on. These searches were highly competitive. There were more than enough excellent candidates. This candidate would be considered another day.

Later, we found the missing file after opening dozens of resume with generic  file names.  This particular candidate attached the resume to an email using this file name:  resume.revised.2015.  Really?  Once it was saved into our system, how would we know whose resume this was?

Hint to candidates, outplacement coaches and resume writers: That may be the only resume on the candidate’s computer, but it is certainly not the only one on mine and yours, more than likely. Please make your client use a file name that tells what the document is, and who it belongs to.

Another hint to candidates and outplacement consultants: When you put AAA as the first letters in the file name in hopes of achieving better positioning in a recruiter’s digital memory, think again.  If we have to do a search for the resume, which is usually done by using the candidate’s last name, “AAA” just makes it more likely that particular document may not be found. When we receive a resume with this in the file name it just means more work in that we have to rename the file. This little so-called trick of the trade is not helpful.

Final hint of the day: Update your resume. Every search consultant I know says they have dozens, some say hundreds, of resumes with no discrete file name languishing in the recruiter equivalent of the dead letter file. For candidates, it is always a good idea to update your resume with search firms every six to 12 months and to be sure your file name includes your name!