A resume headline is a concise description located just below your name and above your resume summary. It quickly communicates who you are as a candidate and, when written effectively, grabs the attention of hiring managers.
Headlines are an important addition to your resume. Although they comprise only a few words, these one-liners are the first thing recruiters and hiring managers read. They explain at a glance who you are and what you bring to the table.
An incompatible headline can discourage a recruiter from spending any more time on your resume while a well-written and tailored headline can validate your candidacy and encourage recruiters to read on.
Who Should Use Resume Headlines?
Resume headlines are most beneficial to candidates who have robust, applicable experience, but all job seekers can use them. Entry-level applicants who don’t yet have relevant experience can use headlines to display soft skills, tool proficiencies, and winning attributes.
Example of an experienced applicant’s resume headline:
Customer Service Lead with 7 Years of Inbound Call Center Experience
Example of an entry-level candidate’s resume headline:
Personable Customer Service Representative Proficient with Call Tracking Software
Tips for Writing a Resume Headline: 5 Questions to Ask
No need to overcomplicate things! Resume headlines that pack a punch are easy to write. Below, we’ve provided five tips to help you craft a winning headline for every position you pursue.
Q: Is your headline compatible with the position?
Tip: Tailor your headline every time, making sure to highlight your relevant skills and experience. Custom headlines, which include the job title for which you’re applying, signal to both recruiters and applicant tracking systems (ATS) that you’re a good fit for the job.
Q. Does your headline include keywords from the job posting?
Tip: Pull keywords from the job description and include them in your resume headline. Try to use one or two hard skills. Most importantly, be sure to include the job title. This is the most impactful resume keyword and the headline presents a natural opportunity to get it on your resume, especially if you haven’t held the exact position before.
Q. Does your resume headline include concrete language and information?
Tip: Replace ambiguous adjectives like “hardworking” and “creative” with more concrete language. The descriptors you use in your headline should stand out from the crowd and be supported by your summary.
Q. Is your headline concise?
Tip: Try to keep your headline to one line. Remember this is just a title. You’ll have more room to display your skills and experience below.
Q. Does your resume headline stand out visually?
Tip: Make sure your headline draws the eye’s attention by setting it in title case (capitalizing the words) and using a headline font that has a larger font size than the body of your resume. Many resume templates include prominent headlines, but if yours does not, try adding one after your name and before your resume summary.
Resume Headline Examples
- Seasoned Content Writer with SEO Knowledge
- Seasoned Registered Nurse Specializing in Pediatric Care
- Award-Winning Graphic Designer
- Editorial Producer who has Co-Produced 3 Award-Winning Films
- Experienced Merchandiser with CDL License
- Executive Assistant with 6 Years Admin Experience
- Senior Creative Copywriter with Experience Writing Social Ads
- National Award-Winning Social Media Manager
- Project Manager with 10 Years Experience and Proven Success
- Internationally Acclaimed Photographer with 7 Years Experience
Mistakes to Avoid when Writing Your Resume Headline
Watch out for these common mistakes when writing your headline.
Don’t include an objective in your headline. Resume objectives state your goal as a job searcher. Although they were once commonly included on resumes, they don’t bring much value anymore. Keep the focus on your skills and experience—what you can bring to the organization.
Don’t lie. Grab the recruiter’s attention but don’t lie about your experience or skills. We’re all familiar with online click-bait titles and the subsequent frustration when an article doesn’t love up to its shiny packaging. If your headline piques a hiring manager’s interest, they’ll be looking for supporting evidence as they read on.
Don’t forget to tailor your headline. To reiterate: customize your resume headline every time. While customized headlines that include the job title help you get past the ATS and stand out to recruiters, generic headlines can signal that you haven’t put much thought into your application.
How well optimized is your resume?
Find out with the Jobscan optimization tool! Plus, discover customized resume keywords for your headline and beyond.
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