How to create a CV header (With tips and examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The CV header is the most important section of your curriculum vitae. It provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers and highlight your professionalism. An effective header can make your CV stand out, grab the attention of hiring managers and help you get a job. In this article, we list the elements to include in a CV header, supply tips to help you create this section and explore examples of well-written CV headers to inspire and guide your own efforts.

Importance of knowing how to create a CV header

It's crucial that jobseekers know how to create a CV header that looks professional and contains the right information. The CV header appears at the top of the first page of your CV and it's the first thing that recruiters see when they review it. They might only scan a CV for a few seconds before deciding whether to discard it or read further, so it's important to make a good impression with your header. If you don't, it may cause them to reject your application.

Related:

  • Best CV layout (With key sections to include and tips)

  • How to create an effective CV header (With examples)

7 key elements to include in a CV header

Most CV headers contain the same type of information. Essentially, this section contains your name and basic contact details and gives you a chance to briefly highlight your key skills and experience to potential employers. From the recruiter's perspective, it lets them know who you are and helps them identify your key skills. They're likely to refer to this section if they invite you for an interview. Most CV headers contain the following key elements:

1. Name

Your name is the focal point of your CV header. Ensure it stands out so recruiters can identify you easily. Use a larger font than you use elsewhere on your CV and consider formatting it in bold. Present your name consistently on all documents that support your application. For example, if the name in your CV header is John O'Connor avoid using John P. O'Connor on your cover letter and John Patrick O'Connor on your professional portfolio or website. Don't use nicknames. If you hold a professional qualification, such as ACCA or PhD, you can include it after your name.

Related: Is a CV a cover letter? (CV and cover letter differences)

2. Job title

It's not always necessary to include a job title in your CV header. If you work in a specialised field or have a strong reputation in your profession, you may include it underneath your name or to the right of it, depending on the overall format of the document. If you're at the start of your career or if your current title isn't directly relevant to the role you're applying for, you can omit it.

Related: Elements to include on a CV for a teenager (With CV example)

3. Location

In a CV header, it's not necessary to provide your full address, but it's important to include your general location, such as the city or county you reside in. This is useful information for recruiters as it lets them know if you're a local applicant who can attend the office easily or if you're more likely to work remotely. If you're willing to move to be closer to the job, you can add Willing to relocate after your location.

Related: Resume vs CV (With definitions, differences and tips)

4. Phone number

If an employer requires further information from you or wants to set up an interview, they're likely to contact you by phone. It's crucial that you provide them with the phone number that you are most likely to answer during the course of the day. In most cases, this is your mobile phone number rather than a landline number. Make sure that your phone accepts voicemail and that the greeting recruiters hear is concise and professional.

5. Email address

Your email address is an important component of your CV header. If you have several different email accounts, choose one that you check regularly so you don't miss important communication from a hiring manager. In addition, it's important that the email address you provide is professional-looking. Ideally, it includes your first and last names, such as kate.jones@email.com. Avoid using the email address of the company you currently work for. It's better to use a personal email address when you apply for jobs.

6. Links

If you have a professional portfolio, business website or social networking profile, you can include links to them in your CV header. Only include such links if they're relevant to the position you applied for. For example, a graphic designer may wish to include a link to their design portfolio and a web developer might include a link to a website they designed. If your social networking profile contains endorsements or references from previous employers or includes additional information about your skills and work experience to date, it could also be beneficial to include a link to it.

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

7. Objective, summary or headline

If you wish, you can include an objective, summary or headline statement in your CV header to introduce the rest of your CV content:

  • Objective: you can use an objective statement to briefly set out your career goals and explain why you want the job. This statement is useful for applicants who don't yet have a lot of work experience and it usually consists of one or two sentences.

  • Summary: the summary, also known as a personal profile, summarises your current skills and experience and explains how they relate to the role you applied for. The summary typically consists of one short paragraph.

  • Headline: the headline is a short, concise statement that focuses on how your skills, achievements and experience could benefit you and the hiring organisation. It's often less than 15 words long.

Related: Guide to writing an effective CV summary (With examples)

Tips for creating an effective CV header

You can use these tips to help you create a CV header that's effective and makes a great first impression:

Proofread

It's important to proofread your entire CV before you send it to any hiring manager, but it's crucial to pay special attention to the header. Recruiters typically read this section first, so a mistake here could prevent them from reading to the end. It also makes you look unprofessional. Check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Make sure your contact details are correct, so recruiters can contact you quickly and easily. If possible, ask a friend to read through your CV and double-check the details.

Related: How to become a proofreader (Key skills and qualifications)

Avoid photos and images

Avoid including photos or images in your CV header. They take up valuable space and can clutter your CV. They may also distract from your skills and experience and confuse applicant-tracking systems which generally only read text.

Use a consistent format

Format your CV header so it aligns with the formatting in the rest of the document. Try to ensure consistency in formatting. For example, check the alignment of the header and make sure it's aligned to the content of the CV. Also, make sure it has the same margins. A one-column, black and white format looks professional and works well for most CVs.

Related: 6 universal rules for writing your CV

Adopt a formal tone

Use a formal tone throughout your CV, including in the header section. A CV is a professional document. While you may wish to appear enthusiastic or to display your sense of humour or personality, it's usually not a good idea to include slang, jargon or jokes.

Related: Personal Statement Example: Definition and How To Write One

Use keywords

You can use keywords in your objective, summary or headline statement to highlight your most relevant skills, experience, achievements and qualifications. Choose two or three from each job description. For example, if a role requires applicants to have experience in a particular software programme and you have that experience, you can modify the wording of your statement to include this keyword. If another role doesn't require that skill, you can remove this keyword from your CV and replace it with a different one.

Related: Achievements to list on a CV (With career examples)

Be concise

Ensure your CV header is as short as possible and that you leave plenty of room for the rest of your CV content. Don't go into unnecessary detail or include superfluous information in your objective, summary or headline statement. If you have two different email addresses, just include one.

Related: 139 action verbs to make your CV stand out

Examples of CV headers

Here are two examples you can use to guide your efforts when creating the header section for your CV:

Finance and accounting

A finance and accounting professional might use a CV header like this:

Liam Kenny, ACCA
Auditor
Dublin, Ireland
+35387 5555555
liam.kenny@email.com
www.liamkennyfinancialservices.com

An experienced financial consultant and auditor who has 15 years of experience working in practice and industry. Expert in regulatory compliance and in all aspects of financial reporting.

Retail

A person who works in the retail industry might create a CV header like this:

Anna Dunne
Sales assistant
Cork, Ireland
+35386 5559981
annadunne@email.com

A hard-working, reliable and honest sales assistant with six months of experience working in a leading department store. Experienced in handling cash and using sales registers and point-of-sale equipment.

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