Quick question: When you make a resume and save it electronically, what name do you use to save it? Does it matter? The answer is yes! It does matter and I’ll tell you why.
I continue to find it surprising that a large number of people I speak with don’t do the mental follow through when thinking about the implications of the name they give to their resume. When you attach that resume to an email, you should realize and remember that the person at the other end, in this case the employer you want to get an interview with, will see the name you saved your resume by.
So the employer sees the name of the file. What’s the big deal? Well if you called it, ‘My resume’ when you first made a resume for a job, that’s not very definitive. Suppose you saw another ad and changed your resume a bit to better reflect the qualifications of that ad and want to save your resume under a different name. You already have a file named, ‘My Resume’ so you decide to call this one, “My resume 2′. You can see the logical progression of this process where you will eventually send some employer, ‘My Resume 18’ etc.
So here’s the problem; the employer sees the name of the resume just a split second before clicking on it to open it up and is immediately unimpressed. Resume 18? The message they get is that they are the 18th job you’ve applied to and 17 others are out there. The other 17 haven’t hired you obviously so maybe they shouldn’t either. Or, they aren’t THE company you want to work for, nor is this THE job you really want. They are just one of any number of jobs you are applying to. They are then underwhelmed. These are just two of the impressions they might have.
The second reason for not saving your resume in the manner described above is to avoid the panic you’re going to eventually feel by doing a little future gazing. One day you might get a phone call from an employer either asking you to do a phone interview on the spot, or possibly inviting you in for an interview in a few short hours. Wanting to jump at the chance rather than miss it, you say, ‘yes’ right away. As you are starting the interview on the phone, you want that resume right in front of you to recall exactly what you said in it in order to sound competent and make order your thinking. And then it hits you; you’re opening ‘My Resume 6’ only to realize that’s not it. ‘Resume 7?’ Nope. 7 clicks later you’re dripping with sweat, stressed out because you can’t find it.
One way, (and there are many) I have found that solves such problems is to call the resume by a name which incorporates both the job title and employer. ‘Server Diamond Pub’, ‘Server Blossoms’ or ‘Server His Master’s Table’. In these three examples, the job the person has applied for in all three situations is a Server position. However, as each job required some unique skills or qualifications, the three resumes vary slightly to perfectly match the employers needs. By including the position and the name of the establishment, you’d be able to immediately open the right resume the first time in the event you need that resume quick.
The above system would also work if you applied for 2 different jobs with the same employer. So if Blossoms also advertised for a Bartender and you applied for that job too, you’d call the resume you tailored for it, ‘Bartender Blossoms’. If you can imagine a list of say, 20 jobs you’ve applied for all saved on your USB or computer, you can see how easy it still remains to find the right one the first time. The result is you are more relaxed, and can focus on the questions being asked of you on the phone, or you can be on your way to the hastily called interview.
Not forgetting the employer experience either, the employer when getting your application electronically will see your resume name just as they click on it. So instead of, ‘My resume 18’, they read, ‘Server Diamond Pub’. You’ve made this just for them, and they have no immediate turn off.
No other system I’ve run across is quite as effective. I’ve seen version of people’s names such as: ‘Salvador’s resume’, ‘Tom’s revised resume’ and if you can believe it, ‘Pam’s best resume ever’. Yes, that’s real. Unfortunately I suspect the employer could almost take that name of the file as a challenge. “Oh yeah? Let’s just see how fantastic that resume is!”
Sometimes it’s simple, small things which may not seem all that much of a deal. This method of naming your resumes as you save them is one such example. What’s in the resume is so much more important than what you actually name the file as which I clearly acknowledge. Nonetheless, if you can take this small piece of advice and incorporate it into your current job search, you avoid any of the pitfalls I identified.
And isn’t every little bit of advice that you can benefit from during a job search welcomed? Let’s hope so.