I am a graduate and looking for a job in England.

When I build up my CV, I think it could be attractive to put my degree and the name of university in the title of CV, such as "John Smith (PhD, Oxford University).pdf".

But I am not sure if this is an appropriate practice in professional world. Can somebody cite sources and argue for or against this?

  • 2
    If you are looking to work in academia, this might work, I don't know. If this arrived on my desk for a professional industrial non-research position, I would be more inclined to look at it as showing off. I don't care if you've got a PhD - I want to see a bachelor's or masters or relevant experience. A PhD is going to get bored with the level of work, or frustrated with the pacing demands of industry, so I'd play that down if it were the case. I don't think I've ever seen a CV come through with a filename like this.
    – Faelkle
    Mar 5, 2014 at 9:32
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    Personally I would say it is not a good idea. I would say that the file name does not make a CV stand out in any way and some recruiters rename ( and rebrand!) files before sending through to clients anyway.
    – Mike
    Mar 5, 2014 at 9:45
  • Slightly related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/19692/…
    – user11026
    Mar 5, 2014 at 9:48
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    If I am hiring someone then I am looking to solve a staffing problem that I have. If you want to make your CV "more attractive" to me then you need to make it easier/clearer for me to see how you solve my problem better than any other candidate. How does putting 'PhD, Oxford University' in the file name achieve that? Especially by the time modern HR processes have scanned the file contents into a database and old fashioned ones have printed it out and sent paper copies to everyone involved in the recruitment process, in both cases making the file name you used irrelevant.
    – Rob Moir
    Mar 5, 2014 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


According to this, a PhD is a handicap in the job market, so you should actually try to hide it as much as possible.

Why would you add your degree to the filename? The only reason I can think of, is because you fear a recruiter will not open your CV. In practice, a recruiter choosing to not even look at your resume is rare. They will do so only because of huge red flags in your first communication: your cover letter.

If you want to maximize your chances of people reading your CV:

  • Polish your cover letter. Show you did the work: know the company and the type of person they are looking for.
  • Ensure a good, professional From: email address (not your university address, not your teenage hotmail address)
  • Ensure a good, professional email signature
  • Polish your CV, so it looks inviting

So to answer your question: Do not add your degree and university to the filename of your CV.

The only reason to mess with the filename of your CV:

  • If you have multiple versions in different languages
  • If you have a business version (short, 2 pages max) and an academic version (listing all your publications)

Edit: Revisiting this answer after 1 year in an R&D position: The answer to this question depends on the culture. In the US and UK, it is custom to add titles (PhD, Msc, ...) to your name; it makes sense to also include it in the filename of your CV as well. In Belgium (Europe), this can sometimes be seen as boasting. However, some government institutions require employees to add titles to their e-mail address (e.g. [email protected]), so it would make sense to also add it in your CV.

  • If you have a PhD and you are willing to settle for a job that you are way overqualified then that is the problem. It is not a problem that you have a PhD.
    – Dunk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 18:31
  • @parasietje, that article that you referenced is 14 years old. Sep 28, 2015 at 0:24
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    13 years old at the time of writing, @JoelDeWitt ;-) I revisited the answer to be a little more broad.
    – parasietje
    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:23
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    Many biotech companies do look for PhDs. The first sentence of your answer a PhD is a handicap in the job market is not applicable in those cases.
    – Nobody
    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:32

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