Resumes & Cover Letters

How To Write a Resume Headline

March 4, 2021

The goal of a resume is to quickly summarize your relevant skills and experiences so employers can see you’re a great fit for the job. While a resume headline isn’t required, it’s a simple and powerful way to generate interest in your experience, attributes and achievements. This short phrase may not be enough to earn you an interview on its own, but it can captivate the recruiter or hiring manager and convince them to keep reading.

In this article, we discuss how to write an effective resume headline and provide examples for different careers.

What is a resume headline?

A resume headline, also called a resume title, is a short, one-line phrase that highlights and summarizes your professional strengths and communicates what you can offer to an organization when you’re hired. Much like the headline of a news story, your resume headline should be brief and easy to read. It should also focus on the qualifications that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Related: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice

Who should use a resume headline?

Anyone can use a resume title regardless of their industry, title or level of experience. If you’re a seasoned professional, a resume headline gives you the opportunity to highlight a few of your greatest accomplishments. If you have limited job experience or you’re just entering the job market for the first time, the headline will give you an opportunity to share the qualifications you currently have and hope to earn in your career.

How to write an effective resume headline

Recruiters and hiring managers often review many resumes when hiring for an open role. A well-written headline will help the reader quickly understand your fitness for the job, making it stand out from the rest of the stack.

Here are a few tips to strengthen your resume headline.

  • Place it at the top. Your headline should be one of the first things someone reads when they pick up your resume. By placing it at the top of the page directly below your name and contact information, it is more likely to be seen and read by employers.

  • Use keywords. Before you write your headline, review the job description and look for keywords that relate to your strengths and career experience. Including these words in your headline will demonstrate why you’re a good fit and encourage the reader to further explore your background. Making your headline relevant to the job you’re applying to is paramount.

  • Make it short and simple. A complex sentence can be difficult to read. Keeping your header concise will ensure the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume can quickly review and remember the headline content.

  • Be specific. Avoid vague descriptors like “successful” or “go-getter” or business clichés like “synergy” or “move the needle”. Instead, provide specific skills and when possible, exact numbers that quantify success.

  • Include years of relevant experience. If you are a seasoned professional or a subject matter expert with more than five years of experience in your field, consider adding this information to your headline. If you have less than five years of experience, save this information for your professional summary and focus on highlighting skills and achievements in your resume summary.

  • Use title case. Just like an article headline, you want to use all capitals in your resume headline. Title Case Converter and Capitalize My Title are two free tools that you can use.

  • Include certifications and licenses. If the job lists a certain license or certification as a preferred or required qualification, list the ones you hold in your resume headline.

Related: How to Create an Effective Resume Header

Example resume headlines

Here are a few examples of good resume headlines for different careers that communicate a candidate’s value and fitness for the job in a brief and easy-to-read statement:

  • Award-Winning Sales Manager With More Than 7 Years’ Experience in Technology

  • Experienced, Multilingual Registered Nurse Specialising in Paediatric Care

  • Senior Marketing Strategist With Five Years’ Experience Managing Global Digital Campaigns

  • High-Energy Sales Executive Who Exceeded Annual Quota by 20% for Three Years Consecutively

  • Lead Mobile Software Engineer Experienced in JavaScript, PHP and Ruby on Rails

  • Peabody Award-Winning Editor With 10 Years’ Experience Covering International Politics

  • Experienced Front Desk Professional with Five Star Average Customer Satisfaction Rating

  • Dedicated, Bilingual High School Educator Specialising in Health and Physical Education

  • Energetic New MBA Graduate With Internship Experience in Global Economics

  • Executive Assistant With 10 Years’ Administrative Experience

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