How to Write a Resume Headline

Tips for Adding a Headline That Grabs the Hiring Manager's Attention

Business woman interviewing another woman
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A resume headline (also known as a resume title) is a brief phrase that highlights your value as a candidate. Located at the top of your resume under your name and contact information, a headline allows a recruiter to see quickly and concisely what makes you the right person for the job.

Resume headlines are ideal for candidates with a lot of experience. A headline allows you to condense your skills and work experience into a brief phrase that will quickly impress the hiring manager. However, less experienced applicants can also use headlines to highlight personal attributes and skills. Read below for tips on writing a resume headline, as well as resume headline examples.

Tips for Writing a Resume Headline

Illustration by Katie Kerpel. © The Balance, 2018
  • Keep It Concise: A resume headline should be one brief phrase; it should not even be a complete sentence. The goal is to concisely state your value as a candidate. Anything longer than a phrase defeats the purpose of a headline.
  • Capitalize Your Headline: Capitalize the words in your headline so that it looks like a title to your resume. This is a helpful way to make your headline stand out.
  • Use Keywords: Use keywords that demonstrate your skills and/or experiences as related to the job listing. Using words directly from the job listing for which you are applying will demonstrate that you are a good fit for the job. If possible, use the job title in your headline.
  • Write a New Headline for Each Job: While it will be a little extra work, be sure to create a new headline for each job application. Again, this alerts hiring managers that you’ve taken the time and care to tailor your resume specifically to their job opening (as opposed to sending them a generic resume). After reading the job listing, make a list of the skills, experience, and attributes that make you a strong candidate. Then incorporate these into your headline.
  • Avoid Clichés: Because you want your headline to make you stand out as a strong candidate, avoid clichés that employers probably see on every resume. Phrases like “hard worker” and “good communication skills” are common on resumes, and do not provide much information on what makes you unique. By highlighting your experience and skills and using keywords, you will individualize your headline and impress the hiring manager.

    Headline Examples

    Reviewing a few examples of good resume headlines will help you when coming up with your own. Notice how these are brief and attention-grabbing, much like a catchy title to an article that makes you want to read on.

    • Goal-Oriented Senior Accountant with Five Years of Accounting Experience
    • Successful Manager of Dozens of Online Marketing Campaigns
    • Cook with Extensive Fine Dining Experience
    • Award-Winning Editor Skilled in Web Design
    • Detail-Oriented History Student with Curatorial Experience
    • Army Veteran Awarded for Determination and Strong Work Ethic
    • Bilingual Nursing Graduate with Experience in Rural Health Care
    • Honor-Roll Student with Tutoring Experience in Numerous Subjects

    Resume Headlines vs. Resume Profiles

    Resume headlines are similar to resume profiles in that both provide a brief summary of an applicant’s qualifications. However, a resume headline is one brief phrase, whereas a resume profile is a small paragraph or series of bulleted points.

    Remember that resume profiles are different than resume objectives. In an objective, you write about the position you are seeking, not your skills.

    A profile is typically not capitalized like a headline is. For these reasons, headlines are even more eye-catching than profiles. Some applicants may include both a headline and a resume profile, using the headline to attract the reader, and then a profile to provide further information.

    Examples of Headlines With Resume Profiles

    Resume Headline Sample #1 (Text Version)

    Detail-Oriented Worker with Years of Administrative Experience

    • Successfully implemented innovative scheduling system to more efficiently organize meetings and travel schedules.
    • Award-winning customer service skills.
    • Fluent in Spanish.

    Resume Headline Sample #2 (Text Version)

    IT Professional with Ten Years of Experience in Software Support

    • Skilled at operating in a wide range of platforms.
    • Experience training interns and new hires in various software.
    • Capable of explaining complex software issues in easy-to-understand terms.

    Resume Headline Sample #3 (Text Version)

    Sales Executive with Experience in Insurance and Healthcare Management

    Created and implemented sales strategies to achieve 35% revenue growth per year. Highly effective management skills; able to motivate sales force and design incentive programs to achieve short- and long-term sales goals.

    More Examples and Templates

    For more examples of how to incorporate a headline into your resume, have a look at these samples, along with templates you can download: “Resume Example With a Headline,” “Resume Example With a Headline and Profile, and “Resume Formats With Examples.”