Category Archives: Resumes

Resumes: Names and Contact Info

Sometimes people use a formal name on their resume that they don’t use in practice. James if you’re a Jim and Richard if you’re a Ricky are recognizable, but I’ve seen some that aren’t. I had a friend Tom in law school whose real first name was Charles – Thomas was his middle name. An employer I had worked for the previous summer asked if I knew a Charles Johnson (last name changed to protect the innocent). I said no. Then later Tom Johnson asked me to put in a good word for him if the firm called – he had mentioned that he knew me. Lesson Learned: use the name you’re known by.

One exception: If you are making a branding change – for example, if you have a name that was fine when you were young, but in your early 40’s you don’t want to be called Buffy any more, a job search can be a necessary time to make the change, to “Jan” for example, to give your resume a little more gravitas. But it needs to be universal – LinkedIn, resume, business cards, and ask people to stop calling you Buffy.

I’d put my Name up top in 14+ font and contact info at the top or bottom, but neither in a header or footer. Some applicant tracking systems (“ATS’s”) don’t convert headers and footers and that critical data can be lost. Newer systems work well, but older ones are sketchy. Consider including your major city (instead of your unknown suburban bedroom community), but not the street address. No one is going to snail mail you anything. Your resume is an identity theft risk, and a street address makes it worse; a street address can also be a safety risk. Include your mobile phone number (just the 10 digits separated by dots or dashes – no “cell:” or “mobile:” – it makes you look old). Include your email, but not one with funky terms or numbers – it needs to look professional. Some people create a particular email address just for job searching. An or will make you look old. Include your LinkedIn url, and consider Skype. Page numbers just confuse the ATS’s, so don’t use them.