What is a resume headline and how can it help you grab a hiring manager’s attention? How do you write catchy yet highly relevant optimized resume headlines?
A resume headline or resume title is usually found under your name and contact information, on top of your resume. This short statement or phrase highlights your qualifications and abilities as a candidate.
It’s essential to include this section on your resume since it is one of the first things recruiters, hiring managers, and potential employers will see and read. It’s a chance for you to introduce yourself in a few lines of targeted, keyword-optimized phrase that grabs the readers attention.
Resume headlines are something many people forget to include, so using the right one can be an effective strategy.
Remember that resume headlines can make or break your first impression. A good and well-written resume headline or title can easily set you apart from the competition.
What makes the best resume title or resume headline?
The best resume headlines focus on what makes you a great hire and should be tailored fit to your industry. While resume headlines are generally only a few words, they inform the hiring managers about who you are and what you can offer them.
When your headlines don’t match with the job description, recruiters are less likely to review your resume. While writing a customized headline can help recruiters validate your qualifications and motivate them to read further.
Who should use resume headlines?
In general, candidates with extensive, applicable experience will benefit from using resume headlines, but all job seekers can take advantage of using them. If a candidate does not have relevant experience, they can use headlines to emphasize core and soft skills, tool or technical competence, and winning traits.
How to Write a Resume Headline: Tips for Writing a Resume Headline
It’s easy to write a resume headline when you follow this guide:
1. Be concise
Always remember the rule of thumb – less is more and the shorter the better. When writing a resume headline, it is usually not even a complete sentence but a brief and concise phrase.
The goal is to clearly communicate your value as the right candidate. It is important to grab the reader’s attention quickly, so you should keep it short but succinct. Bear in mind that the reader has only 6 seconds to scan your resume, so making your headline longer than a one-liner might make the hiring manager skip it.
- Try keeping your headline to one line. You’ll have plenty of space in the skills and experience section to further tell your qualifications.
- Use a resume summary or profile when you need 2-3 lines if you need to tell more. Put it underneath your resume headline.
2. Capitalize your resume headline
Make your resume headline stand out visually to easily catch readers’ attention by writing it in upper case. The first word of a title should always be capitalized as well as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
Below are some words that shouldn’t be capitalized unless they are the first word:
- a, an, the
- and, but, or, so
- at, from, in, on, out, of, to, with
- Use a larger font size for your resume headline than the body of your resume.
3. Match your resume headline with the job listing
Consider answering these questions – “Does your headline match the job description? Is it compatible with the position?”
Write a list of the skills, attributes, and experience that help you qualify for the position and make you a great fit. Include these in your headline and match the keywords in the job listing or description.
- Customize your headlines to optimize your resume and pass the ATS scan and signal to recruiters and hiring managers that you’re a good fit for the job you want.
- Don’t lie to grab the recruiter’s attention by using online click-bait titles. The hiring manager or potential employer will be looking for supporting evidence as they read on.
- Mention your years of experience whenever possible.
4. Write a new headline for each job search
Make sure to create a different headline for every job application, even if it’s a little bit of work. Writing a resume that is tailored specifically to the job opening shows hiring managers that you’ve taken the time to create it (instead of sending them a generic resume).
- Don’t use generic resumes or the same template for every application.
- Tailor your headline whenever you want a new job or a new career based on the job position you’re seeking.
- Write fresh new headlines for different jobs.
5. Use keywords and phrases
Recruiters and hiring managers quickly scan resumes for specific keywords. Most companies today use applicants track systems (ATSs) to scan resumes for these particular keywords.
Keywords in a job posting indicate exactly what the hiring company is looking for in an applicant. So don’t hesitate to use it for your benefit. It is more likely that you will get an interview if you use the words they are searching for in your resume.
- Optimize your resume headline by pulling out keywords from the job description.
- Use the job title listed in the job posting especially if you haven’t held the exact position before.
- Include one or two hard skills.
- Include keywords that describe your experience relative to the job listing.
- Ensure that your resume headline should state why you are perfect for that specific job.
- Choose the best resume format that can help you impress the hiring manager.
6. Avoid overused clichés
Just something to think about – the crowd doesn’t land the job, but individuals do!
So ask this question when writing your resume headline to avoid cliches:
“Do you explain your resume headline using solid words and accurate data?
Your headline should help you stand out as a suitable candidate, so avoid overused and ambiguous words that employers likely see on every resume. Cliche words are very common on generic resume templates. They don’t provide much information on what makes you unique. Use detailed adjectives and concrete language to list down your vital information instead.
- hard worker / hard working
- good communication skills
Resume Headline Examples
When coming up with your own resume headline, look for examples of good headlines to take inspiration from. It will be helpful to make you stand out. You’ll see that these are short and snappy, attention-grabbing phrases, similar to a good article title that draws you in.
For Entry-Level Jobseekers:
- Detail-Oriented History Student with Curatorial Experience
- Dean’s Lister Student with Tutoring Experience in Multiple Subjects
- Architect Intern Proficient in 3D Revit and Sketchup Real-Life Rendering
- Award-Winning Graphic Designer
- Business Analyst Well-versed in Leadership and Management
For Experienced Jobseekers:
- Project Manager with 8 Years Experience in Engineering and Construction
- Certified RN with 10 Years Experience in Rhenal Care Unit
- Time’s Magazine Award-Winning Book Editor
- Direct Response Copywriter with 5 Years Experience in Digital Marketing
- Sales Representative with More than 7 Years Experience in IT Sales
Resume Headlines vs. Resume Profiles
Both resume headlines and resume profiles provide a brief overview of an applicant’s qualifications.
To better understand each, let’s make it clear:
Resume headline or Resume Title – is a short and snappy phrase to highlight your title, key skills, and related experience. It is typically written in uppercase or title case grab the reader’s attention.
Resume profile – is a short paragraph section or series of bulleted points that support the title with further information.
Resume objective – is different from a headline and profile. This is used to highlight your short-term goals relevant to the position you are seeking, not your skills.
Examples of Resume Headline (with Resume Summary/Profile)
Here are a few good resume examples to help you write a resume headline:
Detail Oriented Executive Assistant with 10+ Years Administrative Experience
- Developed systems and processes that efficiently organize meetings and schedule travel itinerary
- Received Customer Service Award for 3 Consecutive Years
- Bilingual – Spanish and English
Software Programmer with Ten Years of Experience in IT Support
- Extensive experience in training new employees and interns in different software
- Ability to explain complicated software topics in simple terms.
Sales Consultant with 7 years of Insurance and Healthcare Experience
- Achieved 35% revenue growth through creative selling and distribution strategies.
- Create incentive programs that motivate sales team and accomplish short- and long-term marketing goals.
- Exceptional management skills