In my line of work, I have seen just about every resume design, organization, and structure under the sun. Some which focus on biography, others that are completely bullet-pointed, and a select few which are colour coded. There are thousands of articles and blog posts online that describe how to write the perfect resume, and an infinite amount of ways to do so. In this series, I will not be giving you a bland and generic description of how to write a resume, but rather a functional structure which helps you decide what to include and what to leave out. In this blog post, I will start with the basic information that is listed at the top of your resume—the contact details.
This should be the simplest part of your writing process, but it is an important one nonetheless. It is vital that an employer knows who you are, approximately where you live, and how to get in touch with you. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the employer to figure that out, and while it may seem easy, people often rush through it, fill it in wrong, or miss steps.
Name: You will have to use your full legal name on your application, taking care to insert the nickname or shortened form of the name you usually use in brackets. But that full legal name does not have to go on your resume if you don’t want to use it there. Whatever name you use on your resume, whether it is your given name, nickname, or if you choose to include your middle name, the important thing here is to stay consistent. Use your professional name on your resume: the name that you will use on all cover letters, business cards, and websites. You don’t want it to say John Appleseed on your CV and your website domain name is www.JohnnyAppleseed.com. If you have post-nominal letters which indicates that you hold either an MBA, medical, accounting, or legal positions, accreditation, or degree, place them after your name and a comma.
Email: Your choice of email handle and domain can say a lot about you, even if you don’t realize it. Unprofessional email handles such as bubblygirl95 or partytime69 scream immaturity and should be avoided at all costs. Try and use your name as the handle, and get it from a reputable domain such as Gmail. Avoid using a work email because you do not want to mix job emails with job applications. It can also look bad if your work emails are monitored and you are looking for another job.
Phone numbers: List the phone number that will reach you most effectively. This will usually be your cell phone, or your home number. Include your country code only if you have a cell number that is not issued in either a Canadian or US area code. Make sure you have voice mail set up on this phone number and that your greeting is a model of professionalism.
LinkedIn: If you don’t have one, consider getting a LinkedIn profile. Many of today’s employers want to see a LinkedIn profile before doing anything else.
Website: A website can be a great tool to promote your brand, especially if you are applying for a higher level or executive position. Place it here so recruiters and employers can see it the moment they read your name.
Address: This comes last because the employer likely won’t use it to contact you. Give either the name of the municipality you reside in or your full legal address because the employer must know if the commute is manageable. Use the Canada Post provincial abbreviation for your province. If you are temporarily living abroad and are not residing in your permanent address, use your current address and explain the situation in a PS in your cover letter. Do the same thing if you are planning to relocate.
Here is an example of a strong contact section.
John Appleseed, CPA
99 Orchard Drive, Toronto, ON H4K 3D3