Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds looking at a resume, according to the latest eye-tracking study from Ladders. To make those seconds count, you need your resume to grab their attention right up front.
One of the best ways to do that is to rewrite your resume to include a headline and a profile:
A headline (also known as a resume title) is a brief phrase that summarizes what makes you an ideal candidate for the job.
A resume profile also provides a summary of your value as a job candidate, but it is often longer. A resume profile is typically a small paragraph or a bulleted list of points. Both are located at the top of your resume, with the headline coming first.
The Benefits of a Headline and a Profile
Including a headline and a profile in your resume provides even more information about yourself for the employer. Resume headlines and profiles work together to do several important things:
- Include keywords that will help get your resume past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the software program that screens initial applications and passes qualified candidates on to HR.
- Demonstrate your skills, experience, and qualifications right up front where recruiters and hiring managers can see it.
- Showcase your understanding of what’s most important about the role. Customize your resume for each specific job opening and make sure that your headline and profile demonstrate your fitness for the role.
Tips for Writing a Resume Headline
Put your headline at the top. After your name and contact information, your headline should be the first thing the employer sees at the top of your resume.
Even if you include a resume profile as well, your headline should come first.
Use a phrase, not a sentence. A headline should not be a complete sentence. Think of it as a title – it should be a concise phrase that explains why you are an ideal fit for the job.
Use keywords. Make sure the headline demonstrates why you are a good fit for the specific job. One way to do this is to include keywords from the job listing in your headline. For example, if the listing says the candidate needs strong “data processing” skills, you might make a headline that includes the phrase “10 Years of Data Processing Experience.”
Tips for Writing a Resume Profile
Put your profile below the headline. You want your profile towards the top of your resume, under your name and contact information. If you have a headline as well, put the profile right underneath the headline.
Use sentences or bullet points. Unlike a headline, you can use complete sentences in a resume profile.
You can either write a short paragraph, or create a list using bullet points.
Either way, don’t capitalize every word in the profile, as you would in a headline. Instead, just capitalize the first letter of each sentence, or of each bullet point.
Use keywords. Just like a headline, you want to include keywords from the job listing in your profile. Look at the job listing, and circle any keywords that are important for the job. Include as many of those keywords in your profile as you can. This will show the employer that you are an ideal fit for the specific job.
Resume Example with a Headline and a Profile
This is an example of a resume with a headline and a profile. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resume Example with a Headline and a Profile (Text Version)
123 Main Street • Denver, CO 99999 • (123) 456-7890 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Building customer trust through top-level and attentive service.
Award-winning sales clerk with 7+ years of experience, acclaimed for customer service and interpersonal skills, and with excellent money-handling skills, seeks position with a top retail establishment.
Key skills include:
- Strong Familiarity with POS Systems
- Developed and Implemented Techniques to Increase Front-Counter Sales by 10%
- Able to Provide Distinctive Shopping Appointments for High-End Clients.
- Efficient at Handling Returns and Exchanges
AMY’S BOUTIQUE, Denver, Colo.
SALES ASSOCIATE (June 2013 – Present)
Provide private shopping appointments for high-end clients, assist customers in handling returns and exchanges, help stock and arrange merchandise in various in-store and window displays.
- Selected to participate in team project to design and arrange window displays and floor layout.
- Developed techniques and procedures to help increase front-counter sales by 10 percent over the course of three years by increasing efficiency and customer-service procedures.
MEDIA PLAY, Madison, Wis.
SALES CLERK (June 2011 – May 2013)
Assisted customers in selecting and buying electronic equipment, and managed customer exchanges.
- Helped write training manual for new sales clerks and led training courses for them.
- Named “Employee of the Month” three times for exceptional sales record.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
ABC COLLEGE, Madison, Wis.
Bachelor of Arts (Major: English; Cumulative GPA: 3.9; Graduated Cum Laude), May 2013
Certifications and Organizations
Certified Sales Associated (CSA) • Member, Sales Clerk Associates of America (SCAA)
Skilled at operating computerized cash registers • Scanners • Various POS Systems
Use a Headline and Resume Profile to Demonstrate Your Qualifications: Together, these features will show hiring managers that you have the required skills and experience.
Put Your Headline First, Followed by the Profile: This will ensure that your most important qualifications stand out.
Incorporate Keywords Into Your Headline and Profile: Doing so will help your resume get past the Applicant Tracking System and to a real person’s inbox.
Customize Your Resume for Each Opportunity: Hiring managers want to see that you’re qualified for this specific job, not just any job in your field.