The header of a resume tells employers who you are and how they can contact you. The role of the section seems simple, but you can also use the top portion of your document as an eye-catcher. Using creative yet professional fonts helps set you apart from the competition. Many employers find this section helpful because it makes finding your contact information a breeze.
Without this vital data, an interested hiring manager may not know how to get in touch with you to set up an interview. Similarly, if you use poor formatting, employers may struggle to read through the jumbled mess. Once you have the right tools, the process becomes simple. Learn more about how to format this section and what to include by reading through our tips related to the resume header.
How To Write a Resume Header
As you sit down to write your resume, you need to include your name and contact information. Otherwise anyone reading the document won’t know who to get in touch with for an interview. The resume header provides a place for you to include this important content. Most employers want to see your full name, the city and state you live in, your email address, and a telephone number. If applicable, you could also include any professional designations or websites in this section.
While you could simply list the necessary data, you should use this space as a tool to draw the reader’s attention. For example, you could make your name stand out by using a larger font than you do for the rest of the text. Think of your name as a title; you don’t want hiring managers to have to scour the page to find out who the resume is about.
Make sure to list your name in a recognizable way. For example, if you have always used your middle name throughout your work experience, you may choose to list your name as A. Edgar Jones rather than as Alan Jones.
Even though you want this section to stand out, you should avoid using odd fonts or crazy colors. Keep your entire document looking professional by sticking to a simple color palette. For most careers, this includes black and white. However, some people in creative industries may use pops of color to show off their design prowess.
Avoid coming off as unprofessional by using a business-appropriate email address. If you have two email addresses, such as hotcatlady@anymail and marabelle.hinicker@anymail, use the latter because it sets a more serious-minded tone. If necessary, you should create a new, professional email address to use during the job search.
The example header here includes the relevant information an employer needs while avoiding the pitfalls that may make an applicant seem like a bad fit for the job. Notice the writer placed her name at the top with the other contact info below:
Emmaline van Veen
Los Angeles, California 11111
E: vanveen.emmaline@anymail T: 457-998-3266
5 Resume Header Must-Haves
1. Past-free contact information
If you currently have a job, you may think about using your work email address. However, this can make it seem like you’re not dedicated to the job search. You should try to keep all of your contact information focused on the future rather than the past. You can do this by using a professional-sounding email unassociated with a job or the university you attended.
Similarly, make sure all of your other contact information remains current. If you get a new cell phone number or disconnect your home phone, make sure to update the header of your document. If you don’t have a landline, it’s okay to simply include a cell phone number.
2. Easy-to-read content
Like with other parts of your document, hiring managers don’t want to have to decipher what you’re writing about. Make your name and contact details as plain as possible by using easy-to-read formats. For example, when you list your phone number, use either 555-980-4433 or (555) 980-4433 rather than 555980433.
3. Professional details
Do you have a professional designation related to the job? If so, you should include it in the resume header. For example, dentists may want to include DDS after their names to make the credentials clear from the start. Other potential titles are PMP, MD, LSW, BSN, or CPA. Remember to only use labels applicable to your career.
Typically, you shouldn’t include academic designations, such as MBA or BS. Some professionals choose to use PhD after their name, but that’s the only academic title you should have here.
4. Relevant information
While an employer may want to learn about your family and date of birth, it’s unlikely a recruiting manager needs to know this during the hiring process. Standard resumes do not require personal details, such as marital status, religious affiliations, date of birth, or nationality. Rather than taking up precious space with content some may deem too personal, keep the information relevant to your life as a professional.
Resumes don’t have a reputation for being flashy. However, a little character can help set your document apart from the rest. The header gives you the perfect place to add a little spice. Include a simple bottom border to make your contact info stand out. You could also use a serif font for your name and a sans serif font for the rest of the text.
Top Resume Header Takeaways
Writing an informative and engaging resume takes practice. As you sit down to create your own document, you’ll likely start with the resume header. This section should include vital information, such as your name, your abbreviated address, your email address, and your telephone number. Make sure to focus on remaining professional by only including the details a hiring manager needs to know.
While your profession will dictate how creative you can get, consider adding some flair to your document by making your name a larger font size or including a design detail, such as a simple border. Remember to review this section for errors before sending your resume to a potential employer. Keep all of these guidelines in mind to ensure you create a great header.