So now that we have the format down for the resume, it’s time to get started with the first section: the header.
You might think that the header is a pretty easy section to figure out; however, it’s important to put some thought into it because it has a functional purpose for those reading it. In our recommended format, there are 5 items to include in the header:
- Your full name
- City, State
- Phone Number
- LinkedIn URL
My resume header as an example
Full Name: Our recommendation with your name is to use your first name, middle initial, last name. The middle initial is especially important if you have a common last name such as “Smith,” “Williams,” etc. Additionally, including the middle initial just gives the first line of your entire resume more of a professional look. We also recommend all capital letters for your name as well as using bold font. This is the most important part of the entire resume, it’s your name. You want it to stand out and be as memorable as possible. Companies receive hundreds of resume submissions and interview lots of people for jobs, any subtle action you can take to stand out should be taken.
City, State: You DON’T need your full address. No one needs to communicate with you via direct mail during the interview process. If your address is needed, it will be requested from you, typically when you are applying online for a specific position and filling out the application on the online content management system with whatever company you are applying to. The only purpose of this is to let the reader know where you are located.
Pro Tip: You can put the city and state of the position you are applying to if you plan on relocating for the position should you be offered it OR if you plan on moving to a certain location upon separation/retirement. Many veterans, myself included, moved when we got out. For some, this involves moving back to their hometown. If you know you will be moving to a particular location, our recommendation is to put that city and state on your resume. This isn’t to be deceitful, this is because you don’t want any location questions to come up before you have a chance to talk to anyone. Additionally, many times resumes are sorted based on location before interviews are set up. You want to be able to explain that you will be moving to this location, should you get an interview, rather than being sorted out without any discussion. AND, if you are initially separating, you can use your final PCS to finance most, if not all, of the move.
PS – Tip on your final PCS upon separation or retirement: When you get out, your final move will financed to cover the cost of moving to your home of record (HOR) OR point of entry (POE). For most enlisted, your HOR is your POE; this is because your HOR is your hometown, and your POE is your recruiting office. However, for many officers your HOR and POE are not the same. For example, my HOR was Fairfax, VA because that was where I lived when left home for the Air Force Academy, technically first entering service (Let me be clear, I wasn’t really serving, I was going to school. But as far as the government was concerned, I was in the system.) But, my POE was the Academy location, “USAF Academy, CO” (basically Colorado Springs, CO) because this is where I took my first oath. VA and CO are FAR apart, and with my final duty station being in Virginia Beach, VA, having a travel radius covered by the government all the way to Colorado was far larger than back to Fairfax, VA. So be sure to check your personal record to make sure you know what your HOR and POE are. DO NOT TRUST WHAT ADMIN TELLS YOU! THEY WERE WRONG WHEN I ASKED! Larger military lesson: never trust admin. If you were in admin…sorry, not sorry.
For retirees, I believe you get one final move to anywhere within CONUS courtesy of the federal government. Not completely sure, but I believe that’s the case. Don’t take my word for it, check the instruction.
Phone Number: This is a pretty simple one. Use your cell phone number, that’s always going to be the best way to get a hold of you. If you even have a home phone number, don’t use it. During the interview process you want to be as accessible as possible. Be sure to include your area code, I can’t imagine anyone would forget that, but I’ll say it just to say it. Lastly, check your voicemail message on your cell phone. MAKE SURE it’s professional. I’ve called troops/friends in the past and I’m familiar with some of the ridiculous voice mail messages, trying to be funny (and yes, some of them are funny). When you are applying for a job, and a potential employer calls your phone and goes to voicemail (because, for example, you work in a SCIF and can’t take your phone into work with you), the last thing you need is a ridiculous voicemail message and they decide to not leave a message and never call you back.
Email: This also should be a pretty easy one. Our recommendation is to get some sort of professional email address if you don’t already have one. We’re all used to the structure of our .mil email addresses which are usually First.Last. So get a First.Last @gmail or @yahoo or @whatever.com email address and start using that for professional purposes. Anything along those lines is fine. If your email address is b8byk1llR69@gmail.com…you might want to not use that on your resume and get a professional email address. MAKE SURE you have an email app on your phone and you have push notifications enabled. You want to be as quick and prompt as possible when corresponding via email. The best way to show you are interested is to consistently respond quickly whenever a potential employer reaches out to you. If you can be quick and facilitate the screening process to where you are the first to interview for a role, they might accept you on the spot and not even interview anyone else. Make sure that person is you.
LinkedIn URL: This is one you may not be expecting. If you do not have a LinkedIn account already, stop reading right here and go create one. WAIT! When you sign up, make sure you use a professional email address as your account related email. Okay, now you can go.
The LinkedIn URL is the web address of your LinkedIn profile. Once we walk through the entire process of writing your resume, you’ll have all the documentation you need to fill out your LinkedIn profile page so don’t worry about that yet. We’ll also show you how to get a free premium account for a year simply by being a veteran. Pro tip: you can actually sign up for another year once your first free year expires. They don’t seem to keep track of whether or not you had the first free year.
Anyway, once you create your profile page, you can make your URL a clean address without any weird numbers, letters, or symbols. For example, mine is LinkedIn.com/IN/Patrick-Bergstresser. You can’t use periods (.’s) because its a web address. Our recommendation is First-Last. If that isn’t available, you can try whatever you want, some combination of your first name, middle initial, and last name is fine.
Once you login, click on your profile on the top of the home page:
Then, once you are on your home page, select the “Edit public profile & URL” link on the top right.
Next, you’ll be brought to your public profile page. This is what someone sees if they want to see your LinkedIn profile, but they aren’t logged into LinkedIn. We’ll talk through how to set this up later, but for now, let’s get the URL setup. On the top right, click the pencil next to your URL, and adjust it.
Once you have that established, now you’re all set to finish the header of your resume. The last piece of advice we have for the URL, and this is purely preference, is to add a little capitalization just to make it sharp. So, this is format we recommend: LinkedIn.com/IN/Patrick-Bergstresser.
Alright, that’s it, you’re done! Well, with the header at least. It may seem a bit long and drawn out, but all these steps are important to get a quality, professional resume so you don’t look like every other veteran or college graduate entering the workforce for the first time.
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