Writing an Eye-catching Resume Headline

How to write the perfect resume title or headline

Mar 6, 2020 · 7 mins read

There are lots of different sections that make up your resume, and quite possibly the most important one is the resume headline, the first thing to tell the reader why you’re the perfect hire.

Sometimes what can be resume headline isn’t always clear to job seekers.

Is a resume headline really necessary?

What are the consequences of skipping it?

Believe it or not, your resume headline is one of the best tools you have to get your resume on fighting form.

We’ve got all the information you need about why you need one and how to write it.

What Is a Resume Headline and Why to Use it?

A resume headline is a brief statement that summarises the value you bring to the job.

Resume headline tipsA resume headline is a short phrase to highlight your value as a candidate using keywords and your achievements to match the job position you want.

In the same way that a news headline draws in a reader, your resume headline is there to grab attention and get the rest of your information read.

A strong resume headline will:

  • Mark you out as a strong candidate
  • Highlight your abilities
  • Determine whether you called for an interview

In other words…

A resume headline is your chance to reach out to the recruiter and introduce who you are and what you do. It’s where you tell the reader what you can do for them.

Pro-Tip
Remember that a resume headline and a resume objective are different. They’re both snappy phrases at the top of your resume, but a headline is about what you’ve done; an objective is about the job you want.

Where Do I Put a Resume Headline?

Just like when you’re reading the news, the headline sits at the top of the page and comes right after your contact details.

You put your resume headline at the top of your resume and it’s a good idea to format it like a banner.

It’s really important to note...

Absolutely nothing else should be above your headline other than your header that has your contact details clearly laid out.

It’s because this information is so important, you want to make sure that even just at a cursory glance the hiring manager takes in what you write in the headline.

Where to put a resume headline?Make sure your resume headline is visible to readers and it is placed at the top of your resume.

Here’s your rule of thumb - put your resume headline centered, underneath your contact details, and above your resume summary.

Here are some sample resume headlines:

Business Analyst: Business Analyst Familiar with SQL and Python
Nurse: Multi-Lingual Child Care Nurse Consultant with 7+ Years of Experience
Graphic Designer: Graphic Designer with Basic Java and C++ Knowledge

We share more strong resume headline examples for people with some and no working experience below!

Pro-Tip
To make your resume easy to read, make sure you label each section clearly. Keep your resume headers clean and simple, such as "Career Highlights" or “Professional Summary”, making it clear what each section is about.

How to Create Resume Headlines With Some and No Experience

If you’re an old hand in your career and have standout experience in your field, your headline is a way really declare your intent. You know the keywords that cause a buzz in your field; use them. We’ll give you some examples of headlines for applicants with plenty of experience in some different fields.

Here’s how to write a resume headline with experience in the field:

Administration: Executive Assistant with 8+ Years of Experience and Exceptional Attention to Detail
Retail: Top-Performing Store Manager with Loss Prevention Expertise
Marketing: Leading-edge and Award-winning Marketer and Successful Campaign Manager

When you’ve not yet got a lot of experience and are trying to get your foot in the door, take the chance to make your headline show off all your best attributes. Keep the language descriptive and on point, a word like “professional” is blander than “marketer”, “assistant”, or “manager”.

This is how to write a resume headline for freshers:

Administrative: Honors Student and Top-Rated Bank Intern
Retail: Responsible and Engaging People Person Familiar with Upselling Techniques
Marketing: Creative and Design-Oriented Brand Evangelizer

No matter if your experience is counted in months or decades, what you’re aiming to do in your headline is to highlight the most impressive and relevant part of your story.

Pro-Tip
Be sure to capitalize your headline so it actually looks like a title. This is going to make your headline pop. Check out our article on getting your contact details right on your resume, so what comes before is also top-notch.

Mistakes People Make in Their Resume Headline

What you’re looking to do with your resume headline is to give a summation of your experience in a simple, to-the-point phrase that jumps off the page and demonstrates exactly why they need you in their business.

Knowing what doesn’t work is as important as knowing what does. Avoid these errors at all costs:

  • Don’t be cryptic. You don’t want to make anything difficult or time-consuming for the hiring manager. Your headline needs to be accurate and have all the information, right there in one line. Something fluffy and indirect might mean they guess wrong and you probably won’t even get an interview. Be clear and accurate.
  • Don’t write your autobiography. The aim is to engage, not to bore and land your resume in the recycling pile. Writing a convoluted history interests no one - you need to write one snappy line.
  • Don’t keep the same headline on resumes for different applications. It’s going to take more time on your part to write a new headline each time, but it’s worth it. You need to read the job listing and see what skills, attributes, and experience you have that make you the perfect recruit. Use this to write your headline.
Pro-Tip
Keep away from cliches like the plague, they’ll have been done to death on every resume. Phrases like “hard worker” and “good communication skills” don’t really mean a whole lot and don’t make you unique. Remember this when writing your resume’s work history section, too.

Resume Headline Examples

To give you a flavor of what you’re going for, we’ve got five examples that span industries so you can see which direction to be taking your headline in.

  1. Process-savvy Senior Accountant with Seven Years at a Multinational Corporation
  2. Generation X Social Media Specialist with Four Years in the Industry
  3. International Cook with Extensive Five-Star Dining Experience
  4. Alternative Media Marketer Generating $500,000+ Per Annum
  5. Summa Cum Laude Economics Graduate and Silicon Valley Intern
  6. Air Force Veteran Decorated for Bravery and Leadership Skills

What have they all got in common? They’re clear, the adjectives are impressive, and the hiring manager knows what they’re looking at right away.

Pro-Tip
Make your headline specific and personal. Give a measurable detail and you’re immediately going to stand out from the rest of the pile. Your achievements can be in the form of degrees, awards, licenses, certifications, and real-world experience.

Summing Up

By now, we’ve hopefully helped you understand what a resume headline is and how to make a resume headline stand out.

Now, we’ll recap the key takeaways from all this information.

So…

A resume headline is a short statement on your resume that includes some core skills or achievements.

The most important thing to focus on is keeping your headline clear and articulate, showing what value you bring to the table.

Know your market and have a clear understanding of where you and your skills fit into it. Make sure you can demonstrate what marks you out above every other applicant.

There are three key rules that you should stick to when writing your resume header:

  • Proofread, proofread, and proofread again. This bit may be short, but it’s the star of the show, now’s not the time to get your grammar or spelling wrong.
  • Make it unique. Find something that makes you stand out and that’s important the recruiter knows about you or your experience.
  • Keep it short. This is your equivalent of a news headline. If you’re struggling with keeping things pithy, imagine what headline you’d write to get someone to click on your link.

What you have done and what you can do need to take center-stage, that’s how you get hiring managers to keep reading.

Make their life easy now by telling them about you in one sentence, and they’ll be impressed from the get-go.

A headline that’s well written with good form is essential whether you’re moving up the career ladder or stepping on the first wrung. Whichever position you’re in, you’re going to need a brilliantly-designed resume template to help land that dream job.

Happy headlining!