Best Practice - CV File Names

Written by: Mike Wood, Portal Business Manager & Editor,
Published on: 2 Feb 2019

If you’ve ever had to sift through a big bunch of CVs for a job vacancy you will notice that many CVs have the same name.

For you as the candidate, this is a missed opportunity to get your name in front of the recruiter and to promote your personal brand.

Simply naming your CV "cv.pdf" or "resume2020.pdf" is not very imaginative, and does nothing to make the recruiter's life easy. Also by the time the recruiter has 15 resumes in the pile, you can almost guarantee that there will be some duplicate file names. which means they'll have 2 files, one of which ends up being called CV(1).pdf.

Now technically there's nothing wrong with this, but how is the recruiter supposed to know which is which?. He may now want to pull yours out of the pile, and he doesn't know which one it is! Why make it hard? - the last thing you should be doing is placing obstacles in the way, so here are a few simple thoughts:

Firstly, use your name as the main file name. For example:


Don't use irrelevant words in the CV file name like "final", "best" or "2020" this adds nothing to your chances.

Remember too, that YOU want to keep track of your CVs, and after a few weeks of job hunting, you will (or should) and up with numerous versions of your CV customised for each job you are applying for. One option is to put a version number on the end of each one, and keeping a list of which CV is used where. That way when you get called for an interview, you'll instantly be able to find which CV was used for the job application. For example:


However, I think the version number is better in the footer of your CV, as it's of no interest to the recruiter, so better still to use the job title you are applying for:


Also while we're at it, how about file format? Doc, RTF, Docx or PDF? Personally I'd always save it in a nice easy PDF version. It’s a format that everyone can open these days.

So there you are, it doesn't take a moment to save your file and give it a name, but when you do, give it a little thought, and don't waste a valuable opportunity to make the recruiter's life slightly easier and push your personal brand.