How to Write the Best Resume Header

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 5, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated July 5, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The first thing a recruiter looks at on your resume is the header. Using an effective header makes your resume stand out and presents you professionally. It can set you apart from your competition and help you secure a new job. In this article, we discuss what a resume header is, why it's important, and discuss tips for how to write the most effective resume header to get the attention of potential employers.

What is a resume header?

A resume header is the section of your resume at the top that includes your name, contact information, and a summary or objective. For virtual resumes, you can also include links in your header to your professional portfolio. No matter which resume format you choose, creating a professional header with all the key information ensures that the recruiting manager knows how to reach you.

A header helps you summarize your talents and job experience into a concise statement that will impress the recruiting manager right away. So, they're particularly important for both novice and experienced job seekers. Your header is a quick method for an employer to see why you're an exceptional fit for the position.

Your resume header should be listed first, followed by your name and contact details. It differs from your work title because it allows you to present yourself professionally in a few lines of attention-grabbing, highly relevant, keyword-optimized language.

Why does your resume need a good header?

Your resume is usually the first step in trying to get a job in a particular industry, with a specific company, or new position. If you can impress the recruiting manager with your resume, you have a better chance of receiving an invitation to interview and landing the job.

Writing your resume header in the correct format and making it look professional gives you a better chance of making it through the short-listing process. It's also an opportunity to showcase your writing and communication skills.

What's the proper format of a good resume header?

Your resume heading should be at the top of the page. It can be centred or placed in the left margin. The most visible item should be your name, then your phone number and email address. For online resumes, you can also add social media or website hyperlinks, if they're relevant to the position. This could include roles for social media marketing, or an online graphic design portfolio for creative roles. Resume formats vary, but contact information is always at the top. The whole resume header should be brief and just include the most vital information to get a hiring manager's attention.

All it takes is some creative yet professional formatting to make your information stand out on the page. Your header should remain professional, without bright colours or stylized fonts. However, you can make the typeface bold so that it's easy-to-read and attention grabbing.

Because the header of your resume is the first thing your potential employer will notice, it's essential to write a unique heading. Having a unique resume header is vital because recruiting managers go through hundreds of applications and resumes for each job vacancy. Whatever you can do to set yourself apart increases your chances of being noticed and short-listed.

Tips on writing a good resume header

We've helped put together general tips and tricks to help you when you're writing your resume header.

Make your name prominent

Make your name the most prominent element. Let it stick out more than anything else on the page by making the font size larger than the rest of your resume. Some people like to have their names entirely capitalized or bold. That is a stylistic decision that is based on personal preferences.

Make your header from scratch

This is straightforward. Don't make your resume heading an actual “header” in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or whichever word processing program you're using. Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) will not understand the information in a document's headers or footers, which means the robot may reject your resume before the recruiting manager even looks at it.

Focus on the words instead of visuals

Unless you're seeking an acting or modelling job, the employer doesn't need to know your physical appearance. Some companies reject these resumes outright for this reason. Your appearance shouldn't affect how an employer considers you for the role. Focus on your skills, experience, and qualifications until you're invited for the interview. Then preparing and making a good first impression and deciding what to wear becomes important.

Repeat your heading on the second page

If you're sending a two-page resume, make sure the headers on both pages are identical. Two-page resumes are reserved for senior roles and professionals with extensive training or experience. For most roles, you should aim to fit everything on one page to make it easier for the hiring manager to read.

What a resume header should contain

Here are the most important elements to include in a resume header:

Name and job title

Your name should be on the first line of your header. To make it stand out, pick a professional typeface. This can be two to four points bigger than your body text, and bold the font to make it stand out. It's critical to use the same name on your header that you have used on other professional websites or past roles. Maintaining a consistent name across your application and professional documents means hiring managers can find you quickly you on other platforms.

Including your current or previous job title lets potential employers know what you can do. Use an essential license or qualification in your professional resume heading if you have one.

For example: “David Harrison, Certified Pharmacy Technician.”

Phone number

The most common technique for recruiting managers to schedule interviews by phoning you. Include your cellphone or home phone number, whichever you use most often. If you don't have a home phone number, just your cellphone number is fine. When you've started your job search, be ready to receive a call from one or more hiring managers and always answer your phone professionally.

Email

Your email address should follow your phone number. Use a professional email address that contains your first and last name. For example, “jim.jonas@email.com” or “alexadams@email.com” are both valid email addresses that present you professionally. Nicknames, numbers, underscores and other special characters can be confusing and hard to read. It may make it challenging for the recruiter to contact you.

Address

You can include your residential address on your resume, but it's not required. List your city and province to communicate to hiring managers that you live in the area. If you're applying for jobs before you've moved to a new location, you can include the city where you plan to move. Alternatively, you can include your current city and highlight your intention to move in the body of your resume. However, employers are more likely to hire candidates who are already living in the area.

Social Media

If your role relates to social media or digital marketing, like a brand ambassador or social media marketer, include links to your channels. This can highlight your ability to build a loyal following and create engaging content for brands. Only include the most relevant social media channels, including just one or two.

Objective, summary, or a headline

A career objective describes your long-term professional ambitions and why you're looking for new employment. Whether you're an entry-level job seeker, changing careers, or moving to a new place, you need to include a concise objective.

A resume summary is a statement that describes your current experience and talents related to the available position. When you have considerable experience related to the job you're applying for, you may add a synopsis. This gives you an opportunity to feature your most impressive career highlights.

A headline is a brief statement that outlines how your abilities and expertise may help you flourish at a new workplace. A headline is usually the smallest of the three, with an effective one being less than 15 words, or one line in length.

Examples of resume headers

Below are a couple of sample resume headers for different roles:

Accounting

Noah Bennet
North York, Toronto
416-222-8888
noahbennet@email.com

An accountant who is adaptable to changing accounting best practices.

Engineering

Carl Dennis, P.Eng
Edmonton, Alberta
289-325-8753
carl.dennis@email.com

Chief engineer with exceptional efficiency for large-scale residential properties.

Marketing

Daphne Winehouse
St. John's, Newfoundland
265-349-3343
daphne.winehouse@email.com
Instagram: @daphnewinehouse

Data analysts, social media marketing, and online brand management are skills that a digital marketing professional should have.

Nursing

Mohammed Farid, PMP, RN
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
402-990-3698
mohammedfarid@gmail.com

Registered nurse with prior experience treating a diverse range of patients for their healthcare needs.

Information technology (IT) specialist

Alexia Lopez
Vancouver, British Columbia
935-464-6921
alexialopez@email.com

IT professional, experienced with network installations, data migrations, and data recovery

Graphic designer

Devin Howard
Halifax, Nova Scotia
813-433-9357
devin.howard@email.com

Portfolio: devinhowarddesigns.com

Graphic designer with seven years of experience looking for a creative leadership position in the nature publishing sector.

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