A header is the shortest section of your resume, and one of the most confusing as well. It serves as a business card that briefly introduces you to a hiring manager. Forgetting to include important contact details or listing unprofessional information may lead to rejecting your application. And, since hiring managers review each application for less than 1 minute, you need to impress them in seconds.
In today's article, our professional resume consultants will give you actionable tips on what to add to resume heading to make it compelling for recruiter. We will also share general insights on organizing resume content that works both for human recruiters and for ATS.
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As it goes from the name, header is placed at the top of the page and contains details as follows:
• First and last name. Name is the first thing the reader sees on the page, and it should use a bigger font than the rest of the document to be memorable. Use the full name, no nicknames, for example, Karen Smith.
• Phone number. If you apply for jobs internationally, include a country code as well. If you add a landline phone number, this means you'll be out of reach in business hours. So, use a cell phone so that the recruiters could easily reach you. And, of course, it's inappropriate to use your work phone number when you're job-hunting!
• Professional email address. Use an email that contains your first and last name, for example, "JosephKenneth@gmail.com". Avoid using fancy emails like "Sweetmermaid19@yahoo.com", as such emails may turn off the recruiters.
• Home address. In 2021, including a full address is optional. You may only include a city of residence and zip. But if you're open to relocation, experts recommend that you include a local address to attract more attention from recruiters.
• A link to your LinkedIn profile. Only add a link if your profile is active, current, and 100% complete. In this case, it will be an asset in your job search. If you struggle completing your LinkedIn profile effectively, contact us for help.
• Personal website or online portfolio. Graphic designers, programmers, video artists, and copywriters can present the examples of their past work and thus catch the interest of employers. Make sure the portfolio is current and presents the best samples of your work.
• Social media links. If you apply for a job in SMM, SEO or digital marketing, you may include links to your Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. Otherwise, it's not recommended to provide links to your personal social media accounts.
• Job title. Often referred to as resume headline, it is usually placed after contact details and above the rest of resume content. The simplest strategy is to copy the title of job you're applying for, but we will also suggest some ways to make it memorable below.
Pro Tip: Double-check all contact information. A single typo in your phone number email address - and you won't hear back from recruiters.
While things are pretty clear with listing contact info and social information, adding a professional resume header raises questions. To get an idea of how the best resume headline looks like, take a look at the examples below.
Agile Scrum Master ~ Building Top Performing Agile Teams ~ Program Management
Administrative Assistant ~ Providing top-level support to directors and managers
Project Manager ~ Enterprise IT Implementations ~ Program Manager
As you look at these resume header examples, note that each of them shows specialization of the job-seeker and their professional strength. At just a glimpse at each headline, a hiring manager can assume if this candidate could be a good fit or not. Here's how you can compose a good resume header.
Note that the title usually comprises 2-3 phrases. You don't have to use complete sentences here. The goal is to briefly state your worth as a candidate. Concise statements which are focused on your areas of expertise or accomplishments serve this purpose excellently.
Use a slightly bigger font than you use for the rest of the resume. In this way, the job title will look like a title for the entire resume. This simple step will draw the reader's attention to your resume heading, and they will not overlook it.
Since your resume will be scanned by an applicant tracking system, using right keywords maximizes your chances to be shortlisted. Ideally, you should use keywords from the job posting in a resume header as well. But if your initial meaning is distorted, it's okay to use keywords in a resume summary and below.
You will need to compose a new resume header example for each job posting. Sure, it takes a bit of extra effort, but customization is a must for modern resumes. Adjust it to the needs of each particular company and explain how your superpowers might help this employer thrive.
If you hold credentials or won an award crucial for your industry, this can be mentioned in a resume header as well. Check out these examples:
• Award-winning journal editor...
• Sales Director with multimillion sales generation...
• PMP Certified construction project manager...
• PhD research fellow...
Resume header is meant for verifiable statements about your professional competencies and achievements. Avoid resume cliches such as hard-working, proactive, enthusiastic, go-getter, and team player. Employers see such cliches on every resume, and therefore they don't provide much information about what makes you unique. By highlighting your experience and skills, you will personalize your headline and impress the hiring manager.
Once you have structured the first page resume header, you will probably have questions on how to organize the rest of resume content. Resume header is only the first step to getting your application noticed, so make sure that other sections are written up to modern standards as well. To make your resume brilliant, follow these tips from our expert writers:
The resume header example above is good to draw the recruiter's eye, but they will surely want to know more details. A Career Summary section usually consists of 3-4 sentences where you present specific skills, competencies and past successes to a potential employer. Make sure the summary is easy to read and is relevant to your dream position.
One-page resumes are ideal for students, career changers and professionals with under 10 years of experience. C-level managers and experienced professionals may use a second page, but be sure not to exceed this length. If your resume is longer, consider removing irrelevant experience or old jobs. Having a concise resume incerases your chances of getting an interview.
Unless you are changing careers, do not use a functional resume. Hiring managers are usualy skeptical about this format as they suspect that you are hiding employment gaps. In most cases, it's best to create a resume that tells about your work history, education and other activities following a timeline. In this way, they'll be able to track your career history.
To improve your resume's readability, use a font size between 10 and 12 pts and leave enough white space between sections. Opt for bulleted lists rather than paragraphs as you are writing. Capitalize section headings and other important details. If the document looks skimmable, there's a higher chance that a hiring manager will read it top to bottom.
Once you've written a resume header and other sections, be sure to check the document for mistakes. You can use a spell checking software to get rid of minor issues such as typos and punctuation. To correct the advanced issues in style, word choice and tone of voice, read the document aloud so that you could catch the phrases that don't sound natural.
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