How to Write a Resume Header (With Examples)
What to include—and what to leave off—to get noticed.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: You want to get your resume noticed. One way to improve the odds that you will accomplish exactly that? An eye-catching resume header.
The resume header section appears at the top of the resume and includes your name and contact information. While its purpose seems utilitarian, the header has the power to grab the hiring manager’s attention and make them want to know more about you.
All it takes is a little creative formatting and possibly some color to make your info stand out from the page. Of course, you can skip the design elements altogether and simply type your information, though consider putting the font in bold so that it makes some kind of impression upon first glance.
But why not go the extra step? It’s not difficult—promise. Read on for inspiration, tips, and resume header examples.
Parts of a Resume Header
The main function of the resume header is to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you to set up an interview—a primary goal of every job application. Think of the header like a business card at the top of your resume. At minimum, it should include your:
- full name
- phone number
- email address
Your location is not required, but it’s preferred—most employers want to know where you’re based.
The following optional information may also be added to the resume header:
- Profile links: Your professional social media profiles, portfolio, or blog could all be linked if they’re relevant to your profession and convey a positive message. This is not the place to link personal sites such as your Facebook page.
- Job title: It can be added so hiring managers instantly see your goal without having to dig through your resume.
- Industry credentials: Certifications or other desirable credentials placed in the header quickly show hiring managers that you’re a well-qualified applicant.
- Images: Graphical elements such as industry icons, logos, monograms, or photos work for some professions. Attempt this if you have good graphic design skills; poorly executed graphics could backfire.
What to Omit from a Resume Header
There’s no need to include both your home phone and cell phone numbers, or multiple email addresses, says John Suarez, certified professional resume writer and owner of Career Ready, a Belleville, IL company that focuses on resume strategy and development. You should also not list a work phone or email address, which gives the impression you’re using company resources to conduct a job search—not a great look to any potential next employers.
Suarez adds that it’s considered outdated to include your street address since employers seldom use snail mail anymore. “Just include your city, state, and zip code,” he says.
Your resume also doesn’t need a title announcing what it is. “Don’t write ‘Resume’ at the top of your header—it’s stating the obvious and wastes space,” says Caitlin Gonzalez, nationally certified resume writer and CEO of CareerOverCoffee.com, a resume and career services firm in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC.
Avoid Common Formatting Mistakes
Depending on how you format your resume header, your name and contact details may not be viewable when parsed by applicant tracking systems (ATS), which screen resumes for critical keywords that correspond to the job posting.
“Whatever you do, don’t use Microsoft Word’s built-in header or footer tools for your name and contact information—ATS can’t find this critical information there,” warns Gonzalez. Instead, place your resume header in the body of the document.
Other Microsoft Word text-enhancing tools should be avoided if there’s a chance the resume will be screened by an ATS.
“Stay away from using WordArt and text boxes because ATS might get tripped up on it,” says Gonzalez, adding that non-standard fonts may not translate properly on the recipient’s end. “Stick to classic fonts, such as Garamond, Calibri, Cambria, and Arial,” she says.
How to create a resume header
“I think of the resume header as a way of saying hello to the reader,” says Suarez. “Some people like an understated approach, others prefer a look that’s all business, and still others prefer to make a big splash.”
Whatever your personal style, make sure the header aligns with your industry and job target. Creative professionals can take more liberties in designing a graphics-rich header than job seekers in conservative fields.
Whether traditional or cutting-edge, your header sets the tone for the rest of your resume.
Resume Header Examples
This conservative header showcases an industry credential in a polished, space-saving layout:
Pops of color set off this candidate’s job title and certifications:
This header includes key information in an easy-to-skim format:
Make Your Resume Header Work for You
No matter how much time you spend writing a resume, if the key elements aren't displayed properly and prominently, your odds of getting noticed aren't great. Want to increase your chances? Monster can help with that. You can get a resume assessment—for free!—which can show you the areas of your resume that could use some improving. It's simple, super-quick, and can make a big different to your job search. Get started today.