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- Famous Last Words of a Resume: References Available upon Request - 2. March 2015.
[Note: infographic is at the end of the text]
Before we start dissecting the contact details section of your resume, let me remind you what the hiring process looks like.
You create your resume, send it to a potential employer and if you are lucky enough to match the hiring manager’s (HM) expectations with your resume, he gives you a call for an interview etc. Let’s concentrate on “he gives you a call” step in the following scenarios:
- HM is delighted with your work experience, looks for your phone number to call you immediately only to find out that there’s no phone number in your resume.
- HM calls you on your home number, but your 3 year old kid is in an ecstatic mood after going through a box of chocolates and picks up the phone only to scream “HALOOOOOOOO” into the microphone and hangs up. HM is not so delighted anymore.
- HM dials the wrong number, nobody picks up, answering machine activates, HM leaves a message. You never receive a message because it’s not your answering machine.
- HM sends you an email asking you to come in for an interview, but you provided a company email address. Tomorrow, after a server-side monitoring software in your company reveals your evil plan to quit, your boss calls you for a not so pleasant meeting.
We could number these awkward situations on and on, but let’s see some fool-proof guidelines how to avoid all of them and to be sure that your potential employer is going to succeed in contacting you. There is nothing more pitiful than being a perfect candidate for your dream job and being left out because of bad contact details in your resume.
Positioning contact details section
First things first. Although you will find numerous articles online saying you should put your contact details on the top of your resume, alongside your full name, that’s just pure rubbish advice. While contact details are extremely important if some mistake is in them or if they are nonexistent, they are of very little significance if they are present and correct. So, don’t waste that extremely valuable first third of the first page of your resume on something as trivial as your contact details. That space should be reserved for the data that will punch HM to the stomach, so he has to grab the phone to call you even before he finished scanning your resume. If HM finds stuff that he’s interested in in other parts of your resume, he will definitely spend 10-15 more seconds on finding your contact details, don’t worry.
If your resume is on two or more pages, be sure to include discreet contact details (with your full name) in the header of each page. You never know when the pages of your resume will be separated in the recruiter’s drawer.
Be sure to leave your mobile phone number in an easy-to-read format in your contact details (something like xxx-xxx-xxxxx). Don’t write all your contact details in one line. Doing that is pure incident summoning, since cluttered text format of phone numbers make it much easier to be read incorrectly. Of course, double and triple check if your phone number is correct after you enter it.
Since you are not an omnipotent being and aren’t able to be at all places at the same time, it’s normal to miss a call from time to time. That’s what voicemail is for. Be sure to sound professional in your voicemail greeting message, since HMs are evaluating you from the moment they pick up your resume till you hear “you are hired”. If HM finds you are trying to imitate Jim Carrey’s best of collection in your voicemail, there is a good chance he’s going to hang up the phone and never call you again. Also, your voicemail should be personalized, meaning that you should introduce whose voicemail it is in a greeting message.
If you are not available during certain hours (maybe you can’t answer recruiting calls while on work or you’ve got regular swimming time) be sure to note availability hours next to your phone number.
Also, if you fancy to be notified about your job application by SMS, note “texts accepted” next to your mobile phone number.
Almost all online reference advises you to put your home number into contact details. I strongly disagree. Everybody is using cell phones these days and landlines have some significant disadvantages:
- You can’t control who answers the phone all the time (will it be an eclectic kid or angry spouse doesn’t matter, it won’t be very professional 100% of the time)
- If you’re not at home, the call will be answered by family’s answering machine (best case scenario), which is a better option than the missed call, but much worse then answering yourself.
- Surrounding noise which is immanent for home environment (TV, dish washer, baby crying etc) doesn’t do you a favor in keeping conversation with the HM on a level it should be on. Remember, he’s calling you from a professional environment, an office, and his mindset is subconsciously prepared to expect a professional answer on the other end of the line. You don’t want your recruiter to loose patience in the middle of the conversation just because your baby is colicky.
Having all that in mind, I strongly encourage you to drop your home telephone number out of your resume. But, if you really, really have to put it in, all guidelines for mobile phones regarding phone number formatting, voicemail and availability hours apply on landline numbers.
A lot of professional resume writers are going to advise you to place your physical address into contact details section of the resume. But, in the time when virtually all communication is done electronically, that is just a waste of space. Nobody is ever going to reply to your job application sent by electronic media through good old postal mail. Nobody. Ever.
Another issue with transferring your address into the hands of total strangers is identity theft concern. It’s not very probable, but better safe than sorry.
The important thing to note is that no recruiter or HM will take the absence of physical address as a disadvantage. So, just cut it out.
On the other hand, city, postcode and state (or an area) are absolutely a must for any resume. Those three elements are often important query terms in online databases and you shouldn’t miss a job because of that. Also, applicant tracking systems (automated software for removing unsuitable candidates early) can search candidates from specific region or a city or with specific postal code and your resume will be put on a “rejected” pile if you don’t pass this first, automated barrier.
E-mail is an obligatory contact detail that you should include in your resume. You’ll get first response through e-mail very often. That’s why you should keep in mind the following guidelines:
- If you have an e-mail address which doesn’t sound professional, you definitely shouldn’t put that one in your resume. Sounding professional applies both on your username and your e-mail domain. E-mail addresses like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com are not acceptable.
- If you’ve got numbers which represent your age in your e-mail address, you shouldn’t put it in the resume, because that leaves some ground for discrimination and everything even remotely connected with discrimination automatically ends on the “rejected” pile. Recruiters are also human and are playing on the safe side.
If you don’t have an appropriate personal email address, apply for a free account at one of the major global email providers. It should be easy.
LinkedIn profile link is a very important feature and contact detail on your resume, so you should consider it obligatory. Recruiter is going to check your social media profiles almost for sure, so be prepared and make it easier for them.
You should consider your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your resume and all information that couldn’t fit into the optimal length of the resume should be written there. Configuring LinkedIn profile is the science and it outgrows the purpose of this article, but what you should remember about LinkedIn is that you can’t afford not to have a good profile there if you are a jobseeker.
Depending on your profession, you could have online portfolios of your work, online showcases or examples of your work in production. You should definitely include links to those websites into your contact details section since with just a line of text you’ve got a chance to present your entire opus to interested parties.
There are very few instances when stating your business telephone number or email address is appropriate. One of them is when you’re a contract employee. Companies usually encourage using company resources for finding other contracts, as the ongoing one is coming to an end. Another example is when the company is planning to downsize. In that case, employer shouldn’t have any objections if an employee uses company resources such as a company phone or a company email to find another job. Be sure to note it in the cover letter that your company has agreed with you using their resources.
In any other situation, do not use contact details from your present job in finding the next one. This can have two negative consequences:
- You can get caught and your current employer probably won’t show understanding for your job seeking using company resources behind his back.
- The company at which you are applying for a job will see that as a lack of basic corporate culture and it can be a big minus in their book.
Today when resumes are scanned in 10 seconds each, when recruiters have less and less time to deal with incomplete applications, omitting your contact details on a resume is first grade sin which automatically sends your application into a trash basket.
Also, making aforementioned beginner’s mistakes doesn’t do a favor to your job seeking.
Having that in mind, no matter how obvious some issues are, there is always a good deal of applications with common contact details section mistakes. Don’t let yours be one of them.
Now, let’s see all this in one nice infographic.
Mail box photo by jasleen_kaur/Flickr