What's Hiding in Your Header?


Last week I talked to a director at a large international company. We discussed resume mishaps that can hinder a candidate’s job search. One common error is to place one’s name and contract information in the header or footer on the resume document in such a way that it is hidden to a software reader or a human reader. Why is that so bad?

You Might Be Invisible to the Screening Software

If you have not searched for a job in a few years, you may not be aware of ATS (Applicant Tracking Software). This software is used to receive, upload, and screen candidates based on the resume submitted. Some of these applications can’t access information in the resume document header or footer. If you have placed your most important information, your name and contract details, in the header you may be booted from the system or simply never found in the screening process.

The Hiring Manager May Not Take the Time to Find You

If you send your resume directly to a person at an employer, they may not see your header if the settings are not set correctly when you create the document. At least once a month, I receive a resume from a client in which their header is not visible. When I check the header, I find it. I can also go back to the email for a name and email. However, many employers will not bother.

Why Is The Header Text Hidden when Opened In Microsoft Word?

The most common reason that I encounter is when the candidate chooses a header margin smaller than the page margin. In essence, it is placed off the page. For example, a document that I received last week had the header margin of .3” and the top page margin set at 1.0”. To see the header information, you woudl need to click to open the header.

This is an example of what may seem like a minor issue that could lead to a low or zero response rate when you are submitting your resume. We want to make it very easy for the reader to navigate your document and quickly access the information they need to evaluate you as a candidate. So, skip the header and footer function when writing your resume. Keep all of your content in the body of the document. If you have questions about resume formatting, please feel free to write me.

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