A resume headline can help your resume stand out from the crowd by drawing attention to your most impressive achievements and skills. A brief sentence at the top of the document, your resume headline tells the hiring manager who you are as a candidate – and shows why you’re the best person for the job.
How to Use a Resume Headline
Like a resume profile or resume objective, the headline goes directly below your contact information. Because it’s located at the top of the page, your resume headline is likely the first thing a hiring manager sees when looking at your application. It’s a strong opportunity to make a quick case for your candidacy.
Capitalize the Headline
Keep in mind it's called a headline for a reason: Your phrase can be pithy — in fact, it doesn't even need to be a complete sentence. Choose words that convey your strongest skills and attributes in the least amount of space.
Capitalize nouns, verbs, and longer words in the headline as you would if you were writing the title to an essay.
Personalize Your Headline
Ideally, your resume headline will be personalized for every job you apply to. You want to catch the attention of hiring managers and interviewers with a headline that's relevant to the job requirements. If the job description calls for growth and sales, for instance, your headline might read "Grew Revenue 20 Percent." For a job in which managerial skills are a priority, your headline might be "People-Focused Leader with 10+ Years Managerial Experience."
Don't make the mistake of thinking only mid-career or executive-level candidates can use a resume headline — entry-level and early-career candidates can also take advantage of this space to inform hiring managers of their abilities.
Try resume headlines like "Detail-Oriented College Grad Available to Work All Shifts" or "Graphic Designer Skilled with Adobe Products" or "Experienced Waiter and Bartender."
Remember, your headline ideally accurately sums you up as a candidate, while pointing out that you have precisely the skills and abilities called for in the job.
Tips for Writing a Resume Headline
Keep it short and sweet. An overly long resume headline is worse than none at all. Remember that hiring managers and recruiters spend a limited amount of time on each resume – as little as six seconds, according to one study. Your headline should grab their attention and hold it … and then persuade them to read the rest of your resume.
Avoid clichés. If everyone is a “go-to person” with “strong communication skills” and “a track record of success,” then no one is. Don’t fall into the trap of throwing around industry jargon or well-worn phrases. It won’t make you look like you fit in – it’ll just make you look like you can’t come up with a more interesting way to describe yourself. This is a sales pitch. To make the sale, you need to stand out from the competition.
Let the data do the talking. Make your case with percentages, dollars, data. Be specific: “increased sales by 12 percent” is more persuasive than “increased sales substantially.” Focus on the skills and experience that feature most prominently in the job description, and then quantify your achievements.
Use keywords. Your resume headline can help you get past the applicant tracking system, too, if you use it well. Make sure to include resume keywords from the job posting. You can also include keywords that crop up in postings for similar jobs in your field, to cover your bases.
Write a new headline every time you customize your resume. You should personalize your resume and cover letter for every job opening. Use the headline to target your application to the specific job. It might take you a few extra minutes to tweak your headline, but it’ll pay off. The hiring manager will be more likely to review your resume and consider you for the role if it’s apparent that you’re targeting this particular job, rather than just any open position.
Proofread carefully. Have an eagle-eyed friend proofread your resume and other application materials before you send them to the hiring manager. Make sure your proofreader pays special attention to headlines. Although formatted to stand out, headlines are easy to skim when proofreading. There’s nothing more embarrassing than making a typo in a prominently featured area of your application.
Resume Example With a Headline
This is an example of a resume with a headline. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Example With a Headline (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Denver, CO 80022
Building customer relationships with professional skills and respectful attitude
Award-winning sales associate and cashier with seven years’ experience at two companies.
Key skills include:
- Assisting Customers with Their Needs
- Handling Returns and Exchanges
- Initiating Private Shopping Appointments
- Training New Sales Clerks
- Stocking and Facing Shelves
- Arranging Floor Displays
AMY’S BOUTIQUE, Denver, Colo.
SALES ASSOCIATE (February 2018 – Present)
Provide private shopping appointments for high-end clients and assist customers in handling returns and exchanges.
- Selected to participate in team projects to design and arrange window displays and rearrange floor layouts for various sales promotions.
MEDIA PLAY, Madison, Wis.
SALES CLERK (June 2017 – February 2018)
Assisted customers in selecting and purchasing electronic equipment and managed customer product returns and exchanges.
- Received Employee of the Month award for outstanding customer service.
- Created and managed a training program for new sales clerks.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
ABC COLLEGE, Madison, WI
Bachelor of Science in Marketing (Emphasis: Customer Service and Sales), May 2016
- Skilled at operating computerized cash registers, scanners, and other POS systems
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