Is Your File Name Lazy? Subtle (And Thoughtless) Resume Mistakes

You have one page to sum up your professional life and stand out to a stranger. Be thoughtful.

Is Your File Name Lazy? Subtle (And Thoughtless) Resume Mistakes

A resume is a short and precious thing: one page of text for six seconds of review.


As the hummingbird attention span suggests, the recruiter glancing at your resume will trash it at the slightest provocation–and you would too, if you had hundreds or thousands of CVs to churn through.

So, then, dear job-hunter, you would do well to embolden your text where appropriate and restrain yourself when necessary. This will make your recruiters’ job easier–and the chance that you land the job higher.

If you think of your resume as a crisp leaf of graciousness, you may be brought in to the fold. Unless, as David Mielach at BusinessNewsDaily notes, you commit the following offenses.

Too small a font

Think about the user experience of your resume: If you squish your font down to size 8.5, your reader is going to loathe you for your squint-inducing text. Like career services expert Michelle Riklan says, a 10-point font is the minimum, and 12 is much better.

Using a wrong tense

You’re in for a passive present if you can’t get your past perfect. Executive recruiter Rachel Bass gets frustrated when people list former responsibilities in the present tense–if you’re no longer at a given gig, she says, your resume needs to reflect that.

Picking a lazy file name

If you’re emailing or uploading your resume, be mindful of the file name. The person doing the clicking probably doesn’t know what a stunningly unique snowflake you are, meaning that all the signals they’re getting about your personality, work ethic, and attention to detail are mediated electronically–it’s the same reason your terse emails offend people or you text like thissss.


Designer Pete Juratovic has a word of advice: He says that candidates often send resumes titled “Resume2013” or “revision5résumé.” This makes you look clueless to how other people experience your work. Instead, help them out: re-title that file to your first and last name.

Don’t leave the picture incomplete

Want to place your resume in the don’t consider pile? Then leave off details like the starting and ending positions for your gigs. Human resources consultant Arlene Vernon says employers want to see “employment continuity, tenure, and commitment”–so be sure to include the tangibles to flesh those intangibles out.

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[Image: Flickr user Ryan Berry]

About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.