A while back, a client came to me after spending a full year in an unsuccessful job search. She had received absolutely no responses to her job applications. None. She was a great candidate! Her resume needed help, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Why wasn’t she getting anywhere?
Yes, this really happened:
She had her mailing address on her resume, but did not include a phone number or an email address. In this day and age of instant connectivity, snail mail doesn’t cut it.
One client had a digit missing in his phone number. Another had an email address that was, well, a bit “suggestive.” Yet another client listed her home phone number, with a cute but unprofessional voicemail greeting announced by her 9-year old.
That’s all pretty basic, and I’m sure you already know that you need to include accurate and appropriate contact information on your resume if you want them to call you in for an interview. Do you have room for improvement? Check out these best practices for your resume contact information:
Your Email Address
First impressions count. If your email address is IHateMyJob@email.com or SuperHotMama@email.com or SpaceAlienWierdo@email.com, you may want to consider using a different address for your job search. You’d be very surprised at what some people put on their resumes.
Best practices indicate using your full name, followed by a few random numbers if necessary to create a unique address. Don’t use numbers that resemble a date – Hiring teams may perceive that JohnSmith1942@email.com is well into his retirement years. Using “CamelCase,” capitalizing the first letters of names or words as in the examples above, makes your address easier to read, reducing the chance that it will be mistyped; email and web addresses are never case sensitive. A guy like Bill Ugman may not want to use firstname.lastname@example.org, unless he’s in the pest control business, but BillUgman@email.com works just fine.
Be sure to monitor your email account daily for important communications, including your SPAM folder, just in case.
A readable presentation of your contact information goes without saying. Be aware that when you upload your resume online, the system that “reads” your resume may not be able to read ANYTHING contained in a header, footer, text box, stylized “word art”, or a graphic image. Don’t get fancy with these kinds of elements for your contact information, or for any information on your resume that you don’t want them to miss.
Your name goes at the top, always. When your resume is scanned into an applicant tracking system, that system is going to assume that the first thing it sees is your name. Do you want your name to go on record as Sales Representative?
Use a version of your name that you’re known by professionally. For example, if your name is Jonathan Randall Jones, but you have a broad base of professional contacts who know you as “Randy Jones” and your LinkedIn profile says “Randy Jones”, then be “Randy Jones” on your resume as well. If you’re in a very conservative profession, it’s often best to stick with your formal name across all media.
If you have a credential that is essential to your profession, include that designation with your name; i.e. Robert Smith, R.N., or Danielle Carnahan, CPA.
If you have a name that might be challenging to pronounce, include a nickname or a phonetically-spelled version to help your callers feel comfortable with that first phone call. Mike Scioscia, manager of the LA Angels, might want portray his name as Mike Scioscia (“SO-sha”).
Your Phone Number
Best practices indicate one phone number only, including the area code. Many choices make things unnecessarily complicated. Mobile numbers are often best, since people are generally more reachable when they keep their phone handy, but if your phone frequently drops calls, it may not be the best choice. Don’t use your work number unless you know it won’t cause a problem at work.
Be sure the phone number you provide is always answered in a professional manner, and has an appropriate voicemail greeting. Don’t let your 4-year-old take that call you’ve been waiting for from your top-choice employer!
Your Mailing Address
Sources are divided on whether or not to include your full mailing address on your resume. If you’re relocating to New York City and seeking work there, including your mailing address in Nowhere, Oklahoma may put you at a disadvantage. If you live in the Chicago suburbs and plan to commute to the city, you may want to list your address simply as Chicago Metro Area.
Privacy is sometimes an issue. I’ve heard many valid reasons for leaving the address off, and it’s typically acceptable. Many jobseekers eliminate the address, or simply include the city and state. On the other hand, if you’re seeking local work in your home town, the fact that you live close by can be a plus.
College students or deployed military personnel may want to consider including both temporary and permanent addresses, along with valid dates for each.
Your LinkedIn Profile Address
Social media is here to stay. If you’re not on LinkedIn, and you’re planning on moving up in your career, or you’re already in an upper-level position, you should strongly consider establishing a well-developed presence on LinkedIn.
Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates for open positions, many of which don’t appear on the job boards – the “hidden job market.” Hiring teams routinely look up top candidates on LinkedIn for many professions.
Since they’re going to be looking anyway, why not make it easy for them by including the URL for your (well-developed) LinkedIn profile on your resume as a live hyperlink. This is especially important if you have a common name. Don’t make it impossible for them to figure out which “Michael Smith” you are among the hundreds in your area.
The “alphabet soup” of a LinkedIn public profile address is a bit unsightly on your resume. LinkedIn makes it easy to customize your address to a simple URL containing your name, with a few random digits if needed to create a unique address.
If you have a well-developed career-oriented website, you may want to include this URL if it adds value to the information on your resume. If it’s a family site with cute photos of the kids, vacation chronologies, and raves about your favorite sports teams, leave it off.
You’ve got a strong resume, and excellent credentials for the job you want. You’re the perfect candidate! Don’t destroy your chances by making a critical mistake that compromises the hiring team’s ability to reach you with their invitation to interview!
Ellen Hall is a nationally certified resume writer, blogger, and owner of Rapid Results Resumes based in Tucson, Arizona. She partners with clients nationwide to develop highly effective custom resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and other career marketing documentation according to current best practices and strategic career marketing principles. Ellen has helped many clients to shorten their employment searches, gain interviews for the jobs they want, and command higher salaries.