Creating an Effective Resume Header

by hwrjoel Thursday, February 7, 2013
What to include on the heading section of a resume may seem like a no-brainer, but what it says about you is very important. It is the first view of you that potential employers will have and could make the difference in getting the opportunity of a job interview.

The information you put in the heading portion of your resume tells the reader who you are and where you can be reached. Keep it simple and easy to read.

Here is the information you will want to include in your resume header:

•    Name
•    Address
•    Phone number
•    Email address
•    Website address (if applicable)

Name
It is a good idea to bold or highlight your name in some manner compared to the rest of the information in the header. You could also use a larger font size just for your name. This draws the reader’s attention to your name and you definitely want them to remember who you are.

Address
Rather than listing a P.O. Box number, it is advisable to list your street address. A full home address with street details gives the impression of a more stable image. If you have specific and valid reasons for not listing your street address then it is acceptable to just use a post box number.

If you are a college student, you may want to list your address at school as well as your permanent address. Probably the best way to do so is putting them in separate corners of the heading section in the resume.

Contact Information
There are countless ways to get in contact with most people, including at least one phone number and email address. This information is one of the most important facts included on your resume because it is how the employer will reach out to contact you should they decide they have some interest in doing so.

Phone Number
•    Never include your work number in your resume header, unless you are able to talk freely from that phone. You also want to ensure that people can leave you messages without jeopardizing your current job.

•    If you have a voicemail service attached to your phone number, make sure that your message clearly identifies who you are so that prospective employers are comfortable leaving a message if he is not able to reach you in person.

•    You also want to make sure that your outgoing voice message is clear and courteous.

Email Address
•    Most people use email addresses not only for personal correspondence but for professional exchanges as well. Many companies offer the option of applying via email while some only use email to save paper and time. While this is a convenience for both ends, it is important to make sure that you are still giving the best first impression that you can.

•    If the email that you are using is less than professional, sign up for a second email account with a more professional sounding address.

Website Address
In certain career fields (such as web development), having a website that displays and lists your skills may be necessary. If this is the case, then the website information should be included in your header.

Social Networking Profiles – To Include or Not to Include?


Nowadays, social networking is extremely popular and many people often wonder if it is appropriate to list a social networking profile in the heading section of a resume.

If you have a professional profile on LinkedIn and it is appropriate and/or relevant to your job, you could list it on your resume header.

You would be better off not including other social networking profiles such as Twitter, My Space and Facebook. After all, you do not want your potential employers knowing about what you did last Saturday night!

What to Leave Out of the heading section of a resume


The following should be left out of the personal information heading:

    Nicknames or “alternative” names
    Photos of any kind unless you are expressly asked for one (such as with certain creative fields such as modeling, etc.)
    Information about when to contact you


Keep it Professional


There are several different ways that you can present your information in the heading section. If not presented well, a resume header can definitely make you look bad!

•    Do not just type your details and leave it there. It should not look as if it was done on an old typewriter. Your heading section should appear professionally formatted.

•    Use clean and easy to read fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Century Gothic. Do not use fonts that are complex and script type of fonts that look like handwriting.

•    Some experts suggest keeping the text centered while others recommend placing the name and phone number on one side with the address on the other side. There are plenty of options, however remember to keep it simple and professional.

Accuracy and Attention to Details

The need to proofread and check for errors on your resume cannot be stressed enough. It is very easy to overlook details.

Nothing could be worse than transposing a couple of digits in your phone number on your resume. If your information is not correct, you will not be seen as professional or attentive to detail.

Take some additional time to review your information. You can also have friends or family members look it over.

By now, you should be ready to get started building your resume.  Click the Resume Builder tab above to start creating your resume now.

References

Kaylee H. Todd eHow Contributing Writer.  What is a Resume Header?  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5146807_resume-header.html

Suggestions for Resume Headers: Common Resume Headings  http://www.eduers.com/resume/suggestions_for_resume_headers.htm