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Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Resume Headline

March 25, 2020

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The goal of a resume is to quickly summarize your relevant skills and experiences so employers can see you’re a fit for the job. One of the best ways to effectively grab an employer’s attention is through 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

Resume Format

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Who should use a resume headline?

Anyone can use a resume title, regardless of their level of experience. If you’re a seasoned professional, a resume headline gives you the opportunity to call out 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 qualities that will help you grow your career.

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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 things you can do to strengthen your resume headline:

  • 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 key.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Related: Words to Avoid and Include on a Resume

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Resume headline examples

Here are a few examples of good resume headlines that communicate the 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 Specializing in Pediatric Care
  • Senior Marketing Strategist With Five Years’ Experience Managing Global Digital Campaigns
  • High-Energy Sales Executive Who Exceeded Annual Quota by 20% Three Years Running
  • 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 Specializing in Health and Physical Education
  • Energetic New MBA Graduate With Internship Experience in Global Economics

While a resume title isn’t required, it’s a simple and powerful way to generate interest in your experience, skills and relevant attributes. While this short phrase may not be enough to earn you an interview on its own, it can captivate the recruiter or hiring manager and convince them to continue learning more about you and why you’re the best candidate in the running.

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