How To Write The Perfect Resume Header (With Examples)

By Maddie Lloyd - Apr. 12, 2021

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Writing a resume is an art form, one that can determine whether or not you get the job of your dreams. That’s why you want yours to be perfectly crafted to fit your qualifications in a way that shows employers that you’re the best person for the job.

Some people go crazy trying to get their resumes noticed, with colorful resumes, video and photo resumes, and even scented resumes.

But here’s the kicker: You don’t need a resume full of bells and whistles to show off what a good match you are for a job, and a good resume header is one great and effective way to get a hiring manager’s attention — without having to make your resume smell like a citrus grove.

Here’s everything you need to know to make the perfect resume header and get the job:

Your Name

First thing’s first — employers only spend about six seconds looking at resumes before they decide to keep them or throw them away, so you should definitely let them know whose it is.

Your name should be the first thing a hiring manager sees, so put it at the very top and make it a slightly larger font size than the body of your resume — you want your name to stand out, but not take up half of the page.

This should be your full, searchable name. No nicknames or abbreviations, unless they are the name that you’ve historically used on social media, as an author byline, or how you’re most recognized in your industry.

Your Location

Commute and relocation are things that employers take into consideration when sifting through candidates, so provide your current address in your resume header to help give employers have an idea of where you are in relation to their office.

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

You also don’t need to provide a specific street address. Instead, you can simply list your city and state — that’s all the info that the employer really needs anyway.

Hank Rutherford Hill
St. Arlen, Texas | (123) 467-7690 | Hank.Hill@gmail.com

If you’re seeking work outside of your home state, you have the option of leaving out your current address altogether. Instead, make sure to write “Open to relocation” or the names of cities or states that you’re willing to relocate to. That way, your address won’t be able to work against you in your job hunt.

Your Phone Number

In the modern age of email, it’s more likely that you’ll get a request to schedule an interview by email, but many companies utilize phone interviews to start off the interviewing process, and some companies do still prefer to first contact candidates by calling them.

Make sure to provide your most commonly used phone number in your resume header. Because our smartphones are essentially glued to our hands at all times, this means you should probably only list your cell phone and not your ancient, dust-ridden landline.

Make sure that your voicemail is open and ready to receive messages, and go ahead and take two minutes out of your day to set up a professional outgoing message. Even though they’re a hilarious middle school classic, it’s time to let your “Hello? …Hello? I can’t hear you, are you there? Haha, just kidding, it’s my voicemail!” greeting be laid to rest.

You’ll also want to make sure that your phone number is free of any typos — one wrong number could result in a missed opportunity.

Your Email Address

Your email address should show that you’re professional and want to be taken seriously, so you probably want to leave your personal email address backstreetboyzrcute@hotmail.com out of your resume heading.

Email accounts are free, so if you haven’t already, create a new one on a more common platform like Gmail. Make sure it includes some pairing of your first and last name or your initials.

And in case you didn’t already know this aspect of job-hunting etiquette: never use your work email address to search for other jobs. That would be a very bad look.

Your Job Title

You can either use your current job title or your most recent one if you’re currently out of work. If your job title is sort of nebulous, feel free to go with whatever best hits the job listing’s keywords, while remaining truthful.

John Cena
Bodyguard | Houston, Texas | (987) 543-1090 | JohnCena@gmail.com

It’s also a good idea to include certifications or licenses alongside your job title.

Jean White
Oncology Nurse, CNA | Tampa, Florida | (543) 213-5544 | JeanWhite@gmail.com

If you want to make your resume header more of a resume headline, you can also opt to include your years of experience in the header.

Joe Gray
Marketing Director with 10+ years experience | Topeka, Kansas | (333) 2222-9988 | JoeGray@gmail.com

For most candidates, these four elements are all that’s needed for a resume header. On the other hand, some jobs require a link to an online portfolio or other examples of previous work, or an industry-related blog or website.

Simply throw the link to your work in with the rest of the information provided in your header, or clearly label it by writing something like “Portfolio: www.WebsiteName.com”

If you feel that a link to your social media profile could further your standing as a candidate, go ahead and include it. This doesn’t mean you should throw in a link to your hilarious Twitter profile, but if you do decide to include your Twitter handle, make sure to keep it PG and professional.

The best social media platform to include, however, is LinkedIn. Make sure to personalize your LinkedIn URL, with something like www.linkedin.com/in/FirstNameLastName. Don’t bother providing a link to your LinkedIn if your profile is only partially completed or won’t help your chances of landing the job.

Resume Header Tips

Keep these four resume header tips in mind:

  1. Make your name the biggest item. Your name should stand out more than anything else on the page, and the easiest way to do that is to make the font size larger than the rest of your resume. Some people also opt for a fully capitalized or bolded name. That’s a stylistic choice we leave to you.

  2. Never put your header in a header. That’s straightforward, right? Seriously, though, don’t put your resume header into an actual header on Microsoft Word or Google Docs or whatever word processing software you’re using.

    Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) won’t be able to parse information that’s in the headers or footers of a document, meaning the robot will throw out your resume before a hiring manager even looks at it.

    That would be a very silly reason to miss out on a job opportunity. Instead, just center-align your header without changing any other formatting. ATS will be able to read this information just fine.

  3. Don’t include a picture. Unless you’re applying for an acting or modeling gig, the employer doesn’t need to know what you look like. In fact, some employers will toss these resumes out immediately because they fear being accused of bias — it’s not worth the legal risk to even consider you as a candidate.

    If you’re applying for a job outside of the U.S., research the customs for that specific country. Some places, especially in Asia, do prefer that you include a photo in your resume header.

  4. Repeat your header on page two. If you’re submitting a two-page resume (which we don’t recommend for 98% of job seekers), make sure that you include the same exact header on both pages.

    That way, the hiring manager can always look to the top of the page and get a reminder of who you are. Plus, if you’re bringing physical copies to an interview, it makes it easier for the interviewer to organize your documents.

Final Thoughts

Your resume heading is the first thing that employers are going to see, you want to make sure that it’s informative, professional, and visually appealing.

Make sure not to go overboard with fonts, bold or italics, and as always — make sure to proofread. It would be super unfortunate if the first thing an employer noticed about you is that you don’t even know how to spell your own name.

Now, it’s time to write the rest of your resume!

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Maddie Lloyd

Author

Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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