I know what you’re thinking: One more thing to worry about when it comes to your job search. Well, I have good news for you! Unlike tailoring your bullet points or crafting the perfect cover letter opening, the header’s pretty simple once you know what should be there.
Because it's more important than most people give it credit for, I enlisted the help of HR expert and Muse career coach Joyel Crawford to make sure I covered all the bases.
Here’s what goes in your resume header plus a few examples for you to check out:
Pretty straight forward, but this should be the full name you go by professionally (middle name optional). So, the name you use on your resume should match what you use on LinkedIn and relevant social media, as well as any searchable work products like articles you’ve written or industry awards you’ve won. If you’ve changed your last name recently, you might consider listing both last names (for example, by placing your maiden name in parenthesis or similar).
Oh, and a quick formatting tip: Your name should be the biggest thing on the page. Hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to spend on your resume. Make it easy for them to see who you are.
Recruiters and hiring managers no longer need to see your full address on your resume, but it’s still pretty typical to include your city and state.
That said, sometimes your current location can work against you in your job search. “If you’re seeking work outside of your home state, you may want to keep the city and state off of your contact information so that the recruiter knows that you’re open to relocation,” Crawford says.
In place of these missing pieces, Crawford says to include the city or state where you’re willing to relocate, or merely write “open to relocation.” (P.S.: That city or state should be where the organization is looking to hire employees.)
Your phone number
Generally, this should be your personal cell phone number—or whatever personal line you use most often. And while you’re at it, “make sure the voicemail box is open and available to receive messages, and the outgoing message should be professional and direct,” Crawford says. Don’t let a quirky voicemail message ruin your job chances.
Your email address
Your email address should be professional and easy to read, so no “email@example.com.” Email accounts are free, so if you have to, create a new one (preferably on a more common platform, like Gmail) that includes some form of your first and last name. Using first or last initials are 100% allowed, as is reversing the order and going with LastName.FirstName.
Also, you probably know this, but “never use your work email address or office number to search for other jobs. That’s just bad form,” Crawford says.
Adding your pronouns to your resume is an entirely personal choice based on your personal situation and where you’re applying to jobs. But if you do decide to include them, your header is the place to do it.
Your LinkedIn URL
If you have a LinkedIn profile (and in most cases, you should), include a link to it in your header. This way, if the reader likes your resume, they can easily click to learn more about you as a professional. Pro tip: Go ahead and personalize your LinkedIn URL.
For most people, the above elements are enough. But, “if you’re applying for a creative role like a photography position, advertising, a role that works with a blog or website, or a position that has a lot of online interaction, and your social media or portfolio work would show your skill and experience in that field, I would recommend including it,” says Muse career coach Emma Flowers. Simply add the link to your header so anyone reading your resume can see examples of your work.
If you’re including your social media profiles, double check to make sure there’s nothing incriminating on there—if there’s any doubt, better to make your account private and leave it off your resume.
“It’s hard to say exclusively who should and shouldn’t include this extra information, but if you’re questioning whether or not to, you should leave it out of the header and stick to phone number, email, and LinkedIn,” Flowers says.
Example resume headers
Here are a few examples of resume headers. When you’re writing yours, don’t be afraid to play with font sizes and colors, text alignment and spacing, or bold and italics.
A basic resume header example:
A resume header for someone with a name change:
A resume header someone who is relocating:
All other resume rules apply to your resume header. Don’t go overboard with fonts, colors, and bold or italics, and make sure to proofread. How embarrassing would it be to misspell your own name? Not on your watch.