written on 12/29/2019

The Header of your Resume

The header of your resume is most probably the first part the hiring manager or recruiter will look at. As always it should be as short as possible and give the maximum information possible. The important thing is that personal information should appear there. Details like your name and general links to your social media profile should be included. In detail, this will be discussed later.

As learned in the last chapter the first impression is really important. But the content for the header should not be too catchy. The focus of the hiring manager should be probably pointed to your name and the rest of the information should be ignored for the first look. The resume should point to the next section which should be the work experience.

Information to give in the Header of a Resume

The information in the header can be split into two sections. One is the required information and one is the optional information. The necessary information should be listed in every resume and every design, no matter how much space you have left. The optional parameters can be left out if you do not have enough space because these details are not needed and could distract more than they are worth it. The required information includes:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email

These are quite obvious. In general, the name should be the main part of the header. The phone number and email are more important to find fast when the recruiter wants to contact the applicant to introduce them to the continuation of the resume process. Email and phone number should be also easy to parse. A secret tip is also to hyperlink the email and phone number in the resume. The phone number might be not required to hyperlink, but the email should be clickable. This is because most of the recruiters and hiring managers do not print your resume out anymore. It is a PDF on their computer or in the applicant tracking system (ATS).

The non-required information is listed below:

  • GitHub
  • LinkedIn
  • Personal Web Page
  • City
  • Visa Status

All of them depend on the status of your person. The conditions are explained in the following subchapters.

GitHub

The GitHub link should be included if you have a strong GitHub profile. This includes several different things. An overall score can be checked at codersrank.io. It is a good side as an overview.

In detail, you should have at least two projects. These two projects could be whatever you want to do. It could range from npm libraries to complete full-stack web applications. The important thing is that you are solving a problem. These problems can be wide-ranged and problems exist everywhere. Think about the last week of yourself and what kind of specific problem might be solved or supported by using an application. If you cannot find these ideas, write them down the next time you have some problems. You need to be creative and do not block yourself from creating something just because it exists. There are a lot of specializations you can apply to make your application unique.

Another necessity is that you write a good readme for all of the projects. It is important for marketing reasons that your readme just rocks. It should be clear and concise and filled with a lot of good examples. The best readmes are probably with a short headline and a summary text on what your software is doing. It should catch other developers or users of the readme. Adding a logo also looks professional and kind of slick. There are free logo creators all over the internet you could try but I will summarize how to write a good GitHub README at some point. You can find the related issue in my blog's board here.

LinkedIn

Another social profile is the LinkedIn profile. A good LinkedIn profile has a good personal image first. Your face should be seen and your name on the profile should be nationalized to the country you are in. For example, an Arabic name might scare people off.

The next section of the LinkedIn profile is the about section which should hold one or two sentences on what you want to get. It should include key target words so recruiters and hiring managers can find you easily on the platform. In the about section, you can link also external resources like your GitHub or your resume. These give recruiters another resource for you.

Otherwise, you should fill out all of the other sections like Experience, Education, Skills & Endorsements, ask friends for recommendations, put on some accomplishments, describe your projects in there and add some interests.

Personal Web Page

If you have a personal web page, you should also link it to your resume. The hiring manager or recruiter will look at it. As a designer or frontend engineer you should have a personal web page with some content. The content could be a variety from showcasing your projects to blogging or anything else. Just link the website though, if you are happy with showcasing it. It is quite easy to create a website though. With services like netlify hosting a web site got super easy and cheap. This whole website is hosted via this service and if you do not need a backend netlify will work for most sites out of the box. In combination with frameworks like gatsby or next.js, it will be super easy to create a personal page. For both frameworks, a lot of templates are available where you can start.

In general, your web page should showcase your professionalism and creativity. So keep this in mind when designing your site and setting the tone of your text.

City

The city in the header of the resume can be quite important. Normally recruiters will look at your current experience and normally it is listed there in which city you worked. Relocating to another city from the position of your last experience might be quite hard. If you are already in the city where you want to relocate, you should list the city because it will make the interviewing process a lot easier. Companies do not have to pay to fly you in or pay for accommodation. Otherwise, it will give companies an idea of how hard it will be to get you hired.

Visa Status

For some jobs you apply for you might need a visa. Software engineering positions are quite visa-friendly, but still, a lot of companies are not able to provide a proper visa. Mostly because of costs. In Europe, the Blue Card is existing which might make it easy for you to get a job in Europe. But other areas in the world have much higher requirements for immigration and costs associated with this. So if you apply to a job in a country and have a work visa for the specific country already, list it.

Information to not provider in the header of a resume

Now, after covering the essential information to put on your resume, we can deal with information that should not go on a resume. Resumes should be mostly about your professional work career. Hiring managers and recruiters act as a person for the company they are working for. They look primarily for people to join which can increase the business's key performance indicators (KPIs). For most bigger tech companies these are revenue and or profit. Your resume should provide these values first and in second look recruiters and hiring managers should spot the personality.

The personality also has something to do with your look. But honestly, portraits of persons on a resume mostly lead to racist approaches for the candidate so I would leave the picture off in first place. If people want to find a picture of the applicant, they can look on the internet where they will find a picture of 99%. Similar to this I am suggesting to leave off any social media profile like Facebook, Instagram or similar. Twitter might be a good resource because it is much more developer-friendly than the other platforms.

Another thing most people are not interested in anymore is the complete address including the street and the street number. Back in the days, it was quite common to list the full address, so that the company could reply to you by letter. After a lot of digitalization in the world, this is not necessary anymore.

The design of the header

As mentioned in the last paragraph, your resume should focus on your professional achievements contributing to the company. In the header of your resume, all of the information just contribute indirectly to this goal. It is good but nothing your overall resume design should focus on. Normally it is important to put your name in a big font and the rest of the informational material in a smaller font and in a color which is not so much in the foreground.

Most of the good designs I have seen are just plain simple. Nothing too complicated and every resume should be following the same here.

Conclusion and Examples

Keep your Header short and information. It is probably the least important part to impress recruiters and hiring managers. Below, some examples are included with good header sections.

Example 1

first example of a good resume header

Example 2

second example of a good resume header

Example 3

third example of a good resume header

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