How to name a cover letter file?

Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?”. True that. But not in the case of the naming of your cover letter and resume.

A recruiter gets hundreds of cover letters and resumes for a job opening. What if all are named as cover letter.doc or resume.pdf.

So, when you apply for a job position, it is important to have a title name that makes it clear that it belongs to you. So try to use professional titles for your cover letter name or resume name to avoid any confusions or the risk of your cover letter or resume is lost in hundred others.

You must choose an apt name for your cover letter and resume file or you might lose your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview.

In concise, a cover letter name or a cover letter title is the name of the cover letter file is saved as. The purpose of this is to make it easier for the recruiters to identify your documents from hundreds of job applications.

But do not worry, we are here to help you.

Here is what the blog will walk you through:

A few companies provide the format to save the name of your cover letter or resume. In that case, always keep your cover letter name and resume name in alignment with the job description requirements.

If the company do not provide any specific information regarding the name of the document file then follow the tips given below.

So, let us start on how to choose a cover letter title or resume title.

Why do I need to name a cover letter or resume?

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It is very simple. Whenever you send a cover letter along with your resume to the recruiter or hiring manager, he/she would download it and save it in a folder having a ton of other resumes and cover letters.

Just to be sure that your cover letter and resume is not lost, naming them properly is a wise thing to do.

Also, if a recruiter or a hiring manager likes your cover letter or resume, or want to have a look at it again then he should be able to find it easily. This would ease out their task and put a good impression on them.

What to name your cover letter and resume file?

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Since we now know that a cover letter name and resume name is important, we need to know what to name a cover letter or a resume.

It does not include very rigid rules, just a few things to keep in mind while naming and your cover letter and resume is ready to be mailed.

Rule 1: Never use generic names for your cover letter or resume. For example cover letter.doc, CL.pdf, resume.pdf, 1.doc etc.

That also includes that you need to avoid by default names that your system generates such as Untitled.pdf.

Rule 2: Always keep your name first in a cover letter name or resume name. So that it is easier for the employer to save your document in a folder with other applicants and is sorted alphabetically.

Here are a few suggestions for cover letter name and resume name:

Name and document

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This is the simplest way to name your cover letter or resume. Say, your name is Betty Stones then you can save the document as Betty-Stones-Cover-Letter.pdf or Betty-Stones-Resume.doc.

Name, job title, and document

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This is a more professional way to name a cover letter or resume. In this, apart from the name and document type, you need to mention the job title as well.

This format is a ‘tell all’ one. It tells a lot about the file even before it is opened by a hiring manager or a recruiter. Here are a few examples to guide you:

Betty-Stones-Graphic-Designer-Cover-Letter.doc
Graham-Brown-Resume-Mechanic.pdf

This may look very long if your name is very long or the job title. So, to handle that you can use the following tips:

  • Do not use your middle name while naming the cover letter or resume
  • If the job title is long, take a call and judge whether to put it in the file name or not
  • You can use the acronym of cover letter, for example Shenny-James-HR-Generalist-CL.pdf, but in this case, write the document type in the last as shown in the example
  • Or you can also use the ‘camel case’, i.e use the entire name without spaces, hyphens, or underscores and keeping the initial letter in capital, for example, JerryJones-WebDesigner-CoverLetter.docx

First name first vs the Last name first

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Some companies use the first name to sort their candidate while some use the last name. Since we do not know their approach, try to stick to the first name first followed by the last name.

How to format a cover letter name?

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Sorting the name part is done, but there are a lot of other things than the name of a cover letter. Like capitalization, separation, special characters, etc.

Here are a few tips and cover letter name examples to help you with this.

Uppercase vs. Lower case letters vs. First Letters Capitalization

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Let us start with the first case, all uppercase letters. Uppercasing all letters of a file name may seem annoying or maybe loud in some scenarios. Have a look:

FREDY-WHITE-WEB-DESIGNER-COVER-LETTER.pdf

It adds unnecessary length to the cover letter name and is not particularly soothing to the eyes either. In this case, staying away from using uppercase letters exclusively will be your best bet.

Coming to the second case, i.e using all lowercase letters. This is the most common practice, and while it may seem okay to you, it will earn you the lazy tag from your recruiter. The file name lacks a sense of authority in itself. Have a look at the example below:

jennifer-dickson-operations-manager-cover-letter.docx

The last case is capitalizing only the initial letters. Using this approach is the best way to name your cover letter or resume. You might have noticed that in all the examples in this blog we have used this approach. Here is another example for your reference:

Charles-Markle-Business-Analyst-Cover-Letter.pdf

This is more effective and on the safer side.

Separating words in a cover letter name or resume name

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Why do we need separators if we can simply put spaces between the letters? This is a very common question that might come to your mind, but there is a reason for using separators in a cover letter name or resume title.

Whenever we save a file name with spaces, for example, Leena Ray Cover Letter.doc, it looks fine until it is fed in the Applicant Tracking System. The ATS fill in those spaces with some random characters when it becomes a URL. For example, applicant/Leena%20Ray%20Cover%20Letter.docx

Tacky, right?

To avoid this, always use hyphens or underscores in between the letters of a cover letter name or resume name.

Just take note of the consistency that is to be maintained while naming the documents.

For example, if you are using a hyphen then use it for all your document names. Have a look:

James-Gray-Receptionist-Resume.doc
James-Gray-Receptionist-Cover-Letter.doc
James-Gray-Receptionist-References.doc

Use of special characters

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Using special characters in a resume or cover letter name can create a mess in the ATS. Avoid using special characters such as an ampersand, apostrophe, comma, or dollar sign.

Use only English alphabets, dashes, or underscores.

Also, putting date, time, or numbers may create confusion for the recruiter.

Avoid version number

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We know that you edit your cover letter or resume quite a few times and save it with the version number every time before you decide on the final one.

But, using version number against your resume would only lead to creating confusion for the recruiter. For example Kate-Johnson-Resume3.docx

To avoid this, save the final version in a different folder with a professional title and send it to the recruiter. This would also mitigate the chances of sending the wrong version of a cover letter or resume.

Best file format for the cover letter name or resume name

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You may save your cover letter or resume in word format, pdf format, or even txt format. To choose from these options available, first, go through the job description.

Job postings sometimes mention the format in which they want your cover letter and resume. In such case provide the file in the format the job posting has asked for.

But if the posting does not mention the format then try to send your cover letter or resume in pdf format.

PDF format is compatible with all versions of windows as well as with iOS systems. So, there is zero probability of the distortion in the formatting of the document. :

How to save a word file as pdf?

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To save a word file in pdf format follow these steps.

  • Open the file that you want to save in pdf format
  • Go to ‘File
  • Click on the ‘Save as’ option
  • Choose ‘PDF’ format from the ‘Save as type’ list

Similar steps are involved if you want to change or save the document in other formats, for example, .doc, .docx, .txt, etc.

Key Takeaways

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Here is a quick view of how to name a cover letter or resume file.

  • Avoid using generic or default names such as resume.doc or untitled.pdf
  • Use your first name first followed by your last name, unless mentioned otherwise
  • Avoid using space, use hyphens or underscores instead
  • Do not use version number against the document title
  • Save the file in pdf format, or the format mentioned in the job description
  • Do not use special characters such as ampersand or hashtags
  • Proofread the title to avoid any typo or other silly mistakes

Still, got doubts? Feel free to write your queries to us at team@hiration.com and we will get back to you at the earliest.

We can also help you with creating your resume and cover letter for your dream job. You can also use our Resume Review service. All you need to do is simply upload your existing resume on our Online Resume Builder and get insights from professionals on what changes you can make in your resume to make it shortlist-worthy.

Or you can avail yourself of our Hiration LinkedIn Profile Review service to get professional reviews from experts for your LinkedIn profile and make a statement on the professional platform.