How to Name Your Resume and Cover Letter
Tips for Naming and Saving Your Job Application Documents
When you are applying for jobs, it's important to give your resume a title that makes it clear that the resume is yours, not just that of any random candidate.
It is particularly important when you send employers your resume and cover letter as attachments (either via email or through an online job application system). When the employer opens your document, he or she will see what you have named your document.
You, therefore, want the title to be professional, and to state who you are clearly.
Read below for more advice on what to name your resume file and other job application documents, as well as what not to name them. Also read below for advice on how to save your documents.
Tips for Naming Your Resume
Avoid generic titles. Don't email or upload your resume with the name resume.doc, unless you want a harried human resources associate to save over your file with someone else’s. With a generic file name, there will be no way to distinguish it from all the other resumes with the same name.
Use your name. Choose a file name that includes your name. This way, hiring managers will know whose resume it is, and it will be easier for them to track and manage it. It’s also less likely that they’ll lose it, or get your materials confused with someone else’s.
If you name your resume janedoeresume.doc, Jane Doe Resume.doc, or Jane-Doe-Resume.pdf, the employer will know whose resume it is at a glance and be able to associate it with the rest of your materials and application.
If you can fit it; use both your first name and last name (or just your last name). That way your resume won't get confused with someone with the same first name.
Go beyond just your name (maybe). You might choose to provide a bit more detail in the title than simply your name. You can also include the title of the position in your document name for your resume and cover letter.
You can use spaces or dashes between words; capitalizing words may help make the document name easier to read.
Be professional. Remember that hiring managers and other people who will interview you are quite likely to see your cover letter and resume file names, so make sure those titles are professional and appropriate. Now is not the time to pull out your AIM screen names from middle school. Save the joke names for your private social media accounts and keep these file names professional and simple.
Be consistent. Consistency is important when naming your resume, cover letter, and other application documents, so use the same format for each. For example, if you simply use your last name and a description of the document for one title (“Smith Resume”), use the same format for all your other materials (“Smith Cover Letter”). Make sure any capitalization, spacing, use of dashes, and other style choices are consistent between documents.
Avoid version numbers. If you are applying for jobs frequently, it's possible that you have several versions of your resume saved on your computer. Avoid including version numbers (e.g., John-Smith-Resume-10.doc) in your file name and other cryptic codes.
Get rid of those numbers and codes when you submit your resume. An employer might get the impression that the job is halfway down a long list of potential opportunities. A hiring manager who sees “resume-10” as part of your file name will wonder what resumes 1 through 9 looked like and whether you’re just applying for every job in town.
Develop a filing system on your computer to keep track of the different versions of your resume, rather than using the file name for that purpose, and make sure that proofed, ready-to-go resumes are stored in a separate area from drafts.
Edit, edit, edit. Before submitting your resume or cover letter, proofread the document title. It sounds silly, but a typo in the title might make an employer think that you do not focus on details and that you are unprofessional.
Options for Saving Your Resume
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.
To convert your Word documents to PDFs, depending on your word processing software, you may be able to do so by clicking “File,” then “Print,” then “Save as PDF” (from the list of menu options in the bottom left-hand corner). If not, there are free programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF. Saving your resume and cover letter as a PDF will ensure that the formatting stays the same, even if the employer uses a different word processing program or operating system.
However, if the job listing requires you to submit your documents in a different format, be sure to do so. Not following instructions could cost you an interview.
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How to write an effective resume title
Get employers' attention by creating a memorable and professional headline for your resume.
Use these tips to write your resume heading.
When you create or edit your Monster resume, you are asked to name your resume. The name you pick will be featured across the top of your resume in bold and colored text as the resume headline, so select a name that is memorable and professional.
Experts suggest learning about appropriate job titles before writing the resume title field. “First conduct a search for representative jobs that interest you,” says Ginger Korljan, principal of Take Charge Coaching in Phoenix. “Whatever title you choose, the remainder of your resume should demonstrate why you are qualified for that position,” she says.
You are allotted up to 35 characters for the “resume name” field in the Monster Resume Builder, so select your words carefully. Don’t be afraid to use abbreviations to save space, and keep in mind that the goal of your title is to compel employers to keep reading your resume. An effective title includes your resume objective and your strongest qualification, says Pamela Hann, CPC, a workforce services specialist for the Kansas Department of Commerce. "That could be years of experience, an industry credential or a job-related skill,” she says.
“I would advise most clients to include at minimum their desired job target and the number of years of experience,” says Joe Perez, CPRW and owner of Seattle-based resume-writing firm Writing Wolf.
Perez says that this is not the place to try to be clever or witty. “Employers want serious professionals who don’t need to rely on gimmicks,” he says. So avoid stunts like “Hire Me!” or “I’m Your Best Candidate!” and desperate pleas like “Out of Work and Need a Job.” Also, steer clear of using your name for your resume title. “Jane Smith Resume” doesn’t tell a hiring manager anything about your qualifications or job target.
Before and after examples by career field
To get ideas about how you can craft your own resume title, check out these samples for a variety of industries:
- Before: Secretarial Position Wanted
- After: Admin Assistant — MS Office Expert
- Before: John Doe for Hire
- After: Top-Ranked Pharma Sales Rep, 5 Yrs.
- Before: Computer Programmer
- After: Sr. Programmer — Java / J2EE
- Before: Engineer
- After: Manufacturing Engineer — Six Sigma
- Before: Nurse
- After: RN — 10+ Years of ER Experience
- Before: Accountant
- After: CPA — Accountant/Financial Analyst
- Before: Finance Executive
- After: Bank Ops VP with F500 Experience
- Before: Graphics Designer
- After: Graphics Designer — Adobe Suite/3D
- Before: HR Professional
- After: HR Manager / SPHR / 10 Yrs. Exp.
- Before: Manager
- After: Big-Box Retail Manager —11 Yrs Exp.
- Before: Marketing & Communications
- After: Marcom Manager — Nonprofit Specialty
- Before: Public Relations
- After: PR Specialist — PRSA Certified
- Before: Teacher
- After: Elementary School Teacher/NYS Cert
- Before: Brick Worker
- After: Brick & Stone Mason — 6 Yrs. Exp.
- Before: Mechanic
- After: Diesel Mechanic — WTTA L. II Cert.
- Before: Logistics Worker
- After: Logistics Manager — 12 Yrs. JIT Exp.
- Before: Transport Industry
- After: Transportation Mgr — DMAIC Trained
Resume titles for special circumstances
- Before: Technical Troubleshooter
- After: MCP Targeting Help-Desk Position
Military to civilian:
- Before: Ex-Military Worker
- After: Army MP Seeking Police Officer Role
- Before: College Graduate
- After: BSME Grad — Available All Shifts
- Before: Stay-at-Home Mom Seeking Job
- After: Recruiter — 10 Years of Experience
For more writing tips, join Monster today, so the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service can help you impress employers with a high-impact resume and cover letter that's searchable to recruiters.