A resume headline is a brief phrase that emphasizes your experience and strengths related to the key competencies for the position. Ask yourself if the recruiters will have a chance to see your most admirable quality during their 10- second scan of your resume. Without an impressive, value-driven headline, you risk getting lost in the sea of applicants.
What is a resume headline, and why can it help you?
Although a resume headline is most beneficial for employees with years of relevant experience, anyone can use it. For example, entry-level applicants can focus on their skillset or personal attributes that make them perfect for the job. Essentially, you should use your headline to bring forth your greatest strength. If you have a long, relevant work experience in the field, you want the hiring manager to see. Similarly, if your soft skills and volunteering experience make you a qualified candidate, you should point it out. With an effective headline, you can convince the reader that your resume is worth more than a quick scan.
Tips for writing a strong resume headline
Ask yourself these 5 questions in order to have a concrete idea of what to include in your headline.
1. Is your headline relevant to the position?
Each position is different. Thus it’s crucial to ensure that your resume headline is relevant to each position you apply to. To do this, scan through the job description, and consider the experience, skills, and qualifications required. Then, highlight the ones you possess in your headline. You should also always include the exact job title for each position you’re applying to. This will show the company that you want that specific job, not any job in the field. More importantly, a custom headline with relevant wording will signal to the applicant tracking system (ATS) that you would make a good fit for the job.
2. Does your resume headline include keywords from the job listing?
Much like using the job title in your resume headline, using keywords can help you pass through the ATS and catch the recruiter’s attention. Again, look through the job descriptions and find the most critical requirements and ones that repeat. Then, include these in your headline along with the exact job title. Especially if you haven’t held the same position before, including these keywords in your headline can make or break your chances.
3. Does your headline stand out from the rest of the text?
It’s crucial that your resume headline stands out visually and catches the reader’s eye straight away. While the headline shouldn’t be of the same size or font as your name, it should be one of the first things the hiring manager sees. Ideally, you should incorporate it into your resume design to be at the top of the page before your resume summary and stands out from the rest of the text. To further catch attention, set your resume headline to title case and make the font bigger than your resume’s body.
4. Is your resume headline concise?
Your resume headline should be a brief one-liner. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a sentence. Keep in mind that it’s only the title, and you’ll have space to expand on your qualifications and skills in the body of your resume. The headline aims to introduce your value as a candidate briefly. Thus, anything longer than one line defeats the purpose and will only take up valuable space.
5. Did you tailor your headline for the role?
Remember that you can, and should, tailor your headline for the position you’re applying to. While it may take a little extra time, it will show the hiring manager that you’re enthusiastic and want that specific job. So, change your headline as needed and always incorporate the essential requirements you fulfill into your resume headline. For example, you may be a project manager, and the job listing emphasizes event management. So, if you also have experience in event management, include that in your headline.
Resume headline vs. resume profile
Resume headlines and resume profiles often get confused for one another. Yes, they are similar in that they summarize the applicant’s qualifications and achievements. But a resume profile is a short paragraph that highlights your qualifications and personality traits. On the other hand, the headline is a brief phrase that sums up your greatest strengths as a candidate. Here is an example of the difference between a resume headline and a resume profile:
Resume Headline: "Detail-Oriented Marketing Specialist with 8 Years of Experience"
Resume Profile: "Detail-oriented marketing specialist with 8 years of experience working for advertising agencies. Possessing strong communication and creative skills, as well as a deep knowledge of content creation and management software, such as Adobe CC and Hootsuite."
Best resume headline examples
Student “Honors Journalism Student with a Passion for Telling Life-Changing Stories” Entry-level “Passionate Childhood Education Graduate with 5 Year of Volunteering Experience” Sales “Personable Sales Executive with a History of Exceeding Target Goals” Management “Senior Project Manager With 7+ Years of Directing a Website with 3 Million Monthly Views” Marketing “Committed Media Buyer with 6+ Years Overseeing $3 Million in Annual Advertising Expense”
While writing your resume headline may take some extra time, it will boost your chances of landing an interview and getting the job. Remember that your headline serves to highlight your most impressive relevant accomplishment. Whether that’s extensive experience or applicable skills, you should make sure that your headline stands out. That way, it will leave a stellar first impression on the reader and ensure that they will want to know more.
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