I know what you’re thinking: One more thing to worry about when it comes to your job search. But 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.
But because it is more important than 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.
Pretty straight forward, but this should be your full, searchable name (middle name optional). For example, if you just got married, you may still need to use your maiden name if that’s what you use on social media, as an author byline, or is most recognized in your industry.
Just one quick formatting tip: Your name should be the biggest thing on the page—because hiring managers are only spending six seconds on your resume, they should definitely at least know whose it is.
Recruiters and hiring managers don't necessarily expect to see your full address on your resume these days (it’s unlikely they're going to contact you via snail mail). But it’s still pretty typical to include your city and state.
With that being 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,” says Crawford.
In place of these missing pieces, Crawford advises you to include the cities or states you’re willing to relocate to, or merely write “open to relocation.”
Here’s an example:
Your Phone Number
This should be your most commonly used number. 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,” adds Crawford. 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 “firstname.lastname@example.org.” 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,” adds Crawford.
Any Relevant Links
For most people, the first four 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,” adds Muse career coach Emma Flowers.
If this fits with the job you’re applying to or your professional situation, you could simply throw the link or handle next to the rest of your information, or label it like this:
When including your LinkedIn profile, make sure to personalize your URL. To make it the most professional, try: http://linkedin.com/in/FirstNameLastName. Same thing goes for your website domain and Twitter handle (or, more generally, try to at least keep this one SFW).
And, if you are 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,” adds Flowers.
All other resume rules apply to this part of your document—don’t go overboard with fonts, colors, and bold or italics, and make sure to proofread. (How embarrassing would that be to misspell your own name?)
Then, once you’re all set, send it off to your dream job!