Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume Header

Nov 2, 2021 | Resumes

Dos and Don'ts for Your Resume Contact Info
Your contact info might seem like the simplest part of your resume, but there are many different factors you should nail down. Here’s an expert guide to everything you need to know about your resume contact info.

By: Tonyia Cone | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

When you apply for a job with your resume, your goal is for the hiring manager or recruiter to reach out to you to continue the conversation, right?

So while it’s easy to overlook, it’s really important to make it easy for people to contact you by providing the most useful information, as clearly as possible, in your resume’s header section.

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What to Include

US map, illustrating importance of resume contact info. Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

Even though many jobs are remote these days, it’s still important to put your location in your resume contact info. Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

Name

Your name should be the first piece of contact info on your resume. You want to create name recognition, so this should be the largest, most noticeable text. And remember, this is a branding tool, not a legal document, so it is perfectly fine to use your preferred name or even initials if that’s how you want people to address you. As long as you keep it professional, it is better to come off as approachable and memorable rather than formal and stuffy.

Location

You also needs to include your location on your resume, but it can be tricky to know how to present that information. Include your city and state, and try to match the city in the job description when possible to make your resume most visible in Applicant Tracking Systems. For instance, if you live in Santa Monica but are applying to a job in downtown LA, it’s better to list “Los Angeles, CA” rather than “Santa Monica, CA.” Recruiters commonly use job locations as search keywords, and hiring managers generally prefer to hire local candidates. If you’re willing to make the commute, this is a good way to ensure you won’t be disqualified based on your distance from the office.

So what should you do when you are open to relocation and applying for a job in another city? If you are committed to relocating to the city where a position is located, it is OK to list that city on your resume while explaining in your cover letter that you will move there if offered the job. You could also list your location as “Relocating to [City, State].”

Phone number and email address

Hopefully hiring managers and recruiters won’t be able to wait to talk to you after seeing your resume. To make it easy for them to contact you, clearly include your phone number and email address in your resume header. Include one phone number, and make sure it’s the number you use most. Then list a professional email address. The email address you use on your resume should include your name and should be from a modern email domain like Gmail or Microsoft Outlook.

Social network & portfolio links 

Those are the basics, but sometimes it makes sense to additionally include relevant links in the resume header as well. It’s a good idea to include your LinkedIn profile if it is up-to-date and complete. Creative professionals like photographers or graphic designers with online portfolios and software engineers with code on GitHub should definitely include those links so potential employers know where they can find examples of your expertise.

And What to Leave Out

obsolete computers showing you need to have updated resume contact info and email addresses. Photo by dogherine on Unsplash

Updating your email address from .aol.com or .hotmail.com is an easy way to ensure your resume contact info doesn’t look dated. Photo by dogherine on Unsplash

Like the text throughout the rest of your resume, the header section needs to be compatible with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to give you the best chance of coming up in a recruiter’s search.

This means images, including your headshot or social media icons, have no place anywhere in your resume contact info. Sure, they may look pretty. However, it won’t matter how cute your resume is if the ATS garbles it, and your resume gets lost in a sea of applicants that don’t come up in recruiter searches.

Also for the sake of ATS compatibility, avoid formatting your resume header with Microsoft Word’s “Header” style. Just create it in the body of your document.

Make sure the email address on your resume is professional. You may have decided that your email address was a great way to tell the world you are a Number1RedSoxFan, but when it comes to a primary way potential employers want to reach you, you’ll appear more polished by sticking with your name.

The end of your email address matters too. Give your old AOL or Hotmail account the boot. Using a modern email domain like Gmail is a way to show that you are up-to-speed with current technology.

Some information looks outdated on modern resumes, so your best bet is to leave it off. For example, it used to be considered the norm to include your street address. But nowadays, there’s no longer any reason to include your house number and street name. Employers don’t mail applicants letters anymore, after all. And there are plenty of reasons to avoid including that information; chief among those is keeping your identity secure.

It’s also wise to avoid listing multiple phone numbers. Stick with the phone number you use most so hiring managers and recruiters don’t have to guess which is the best way to call you or try to call you at each number. Some may decide it’s easier not to bother.

Fitting It All In

Now that you know what to include and what contact info to omit from your resume header, it’s time to focus on formatting.

Since hiring managers and recruiters spend such a short time looking at each resume they receive, the way you present the information on your resume can make or break your chances of getting an interview.

This seems like a lot of information to squeeze into a small space, but with smart formatting, you can make it work.

The vertical bar or pipe character is an easy, clear, and attractive way to format your contact information while keeping it all on one line. The pipe character is the uppercase option for the key above the “Enter” button on your QWERTY keyboard, and it looks like this: |

Make sure your name is large and prominent; the rest of your contact information can be smaller below that. Just don’t use anything smaller than 10 point font anywhere in your resume.

Here’s an example:

resume contact info example

There you have it: answers to all your burning resume header questions. Now get out there, write an attention-getting resume, and snag that interview!

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