How effective is your resume headline and title?
They’re both key components that make up your resume header. And more than half of recruiters look for your name and title when screening your resume. It’s important you choose the most appropriate title to introduce yourself, describe your value proposition, and ensure recruiters can see you take on the role with ease.
Now here’s the question that’s probably on your mind: how do you write a resume headline to stand out and get noticed?
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about resume titles and headlines. Stay tuned because there are also 5 examples you need to steal that’s going to bring you one step closer to getting an interview.
What Is A Resume Headline?
Your resume headline (more commonly referred to as your resume title) is a short phrase highlighting your values as an applicant. Typically, it’s positioned on top of your resume within the header section along with your name, contact details, and sometimes a resume website.
For those of you who are experienced applicants, your resume title gives you the opportunity to summarize your achievements and experience in a quick one-liner. But for less experienced candidates, it allows you to give insight into who you are and the impact you intend to deliver.
All it takes is a dedicated 6 seconds to review your resume and determine whether you should be hired or not.
The effectiveness of your resume headline could be the difference between being looked over, or just falling short for the interview phase.
How Do I Write A Resume Headline?
“Brevity is in the soul of wit” – Shakespeare
Consider applying this motto to your resume title…
In essence, it means you should always consider what you’re hoping to accomplish with your resume title.
The purpose of it isn’t to tell the recruiter everything you’ve done in your career. And it’s not even to go in-depth about your experiences, that’s what your resume sections are used for. Not the header.
You also shouldn’t be giving instructions for how the recruiter can contact or find you. The resume header and address already does that – so what’s left?
Catching and focusing the recruiter’s attention. See below.
Keep it Short
Your resume headline should read exactly like a news headline – short and snappy.
It must be good enough to pique the reader’s interest. And it needs to give enough information to make you want to continue reading to the end. Here’s an example, a resume title that reads:
“Software engineer who has been working in the field for 10 years. Experienced working with large companies including Microsoft and Google. Goal-orientated and looking for full-time work”.
The example above simply doesn’t make the cut. It doesn’t have a striking impression to engage the recruiter. It’s better if it used fewer sentences that are more impactful, like so:
“Decade-long software engineer with experience in disruptive technology”.
Sometimes, less is more.
What matters is having clarity (even if it’s short) that packs a punch. Don’t be afraid to inject personality and be creative with it! It’s better than having something that’s boring, long, and descriptive which takes double the effort to read.
In Louis’ marketing resume, he did just that. Now, he’s working with Hotjar – Louis advises that it was important to describe his approach to marketing. It’s simple and short, but it tells you specifically what you should expect.
Tailor to The Most Important Aspect of the Job Description
Background research is absolutely essential. It always makes the difference between being a prime, or a beta candidate who has quickly thrown their resume together at the last second.
Take the time to analyze the job listing. Understand precisely what the company is looking for.
In the data scientist resume right here, Pavel noted Booking.com wanted applicants with extensive knowledge of data analysis. Look how he implemented this in his resume title when he made his application and take notes.
Keywords and Phrases
As you might be aware, large organizations that receive a large influx of job applications use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to scan your resume. What it looks for in particular are keywords and phrases that meet the expectations that the job recruiters are looking for.
This is another reason why it’s so important to fully understand the job board description.
Just to reiterate, do make sure you commit to spending 5 minutes doing the basic research. So you can accurately tailor and correspond your resume to the job vacancy.
Capitalize on Metrics
Do you have any tangible proof of your ability?
You can bet that it’s something the recruiters are going to be looking for. One way to do this is to provide a statistic or form of measurement alongside your achievements.
- “Increased sales by 20% in Q1”.
- “Customer support representative with a 90% retention rate”.
While this is typically seen in your previous experiences section, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t include metrics in your resume headline. In fact, this actually aids your resume headline in being short, tidy and tailored to the job position.
(Tip: When creating your resume with Enhancv, try using our content analyzer to check for areas where you might have forgotten to include a metric with your achievements!)
Throw Out Cliches
Look, we get it…
You’re goal-orientated, you strive for success, and you’re dedicated. But seriously, aren’t we all?
Common phrases like this will do nothing but distance the recruiter’s attention from your resume as if it had caught the flu…
When you’re putting your resume together, think about all the others who’ve probably used the exact same phrase you have. If you think it’s something that’s overused and rinsed out, try something new.
Be like André. In his growth marketing resume, he described himself as a growth marketing aficionado who used to analyze data in banks.
Not only does it set him apart from all the others making him unique, but it intrigues us with his unusual career path. It even tells you exactly who he is, and you would assume at first glance he was successful. Especially because he later went on to get hired at Microsoft.
Change Your Resume for Every Position
Creating your resume can feel like a long, lengthy process. This often lends itself to using the same resume for as many positions as possible once we’ve created one. But as we’ve learned from Robert Coombs’ story, quantity does not always equal results.
Make sure you’re taking the time to write a resume title specific to each job you apply for. It goes a long way with showing the recruiter you’re serious, and that you mean business.
(Tip: Using Enhancv’s resume builder, you can easily create copies of your resume and save versions that are specific to certain areas and jobs.)
If your resume title is any longer than a sentence, you’re doing it wrong.
And if you have any mistakes in it, the recruiter will notice straight away. It’s a given for what comes next…
Seeing that it’s the first part of your resume that the recruiter reads, a resume headline with typos instantly ruins your credibility. Not to mention, you’re going to make your way into the reject pile and lose your chance of getting called for an interview.
So, do make sure you conduct a resume review. It’s worth it to even have a colleague read over your resume just before you press send and submit your application.
Or if you’re unable to get someone to read over your resume, check out our guide for resume spelling and proofreading strategies to avoid grammar mistakes at all costs.
(Tip: You can easily have a colleague review your resume with Enhancv’s built-in referral link. This allows you to send a link to friends who can later add comments on sections that need improvement.)
Examples of Resume Headlines from People Who Got Hired
IT Sales Resume That Got Hired at Software AG
Check out how Adam started off his resume with this header. It’s very simple and gets the job done. The job recruiter, or for anyone in general who’s reading this would know from the get-go that he’s an expert in I.T and healthcare (seeing that he has 2+ years of experience) and it’s easy to identify what he’s looking for.
Product Manager Resume That Got Hired at American Express
Here’s another exceptional example to learn from. For job recruiters and for when the ATS scan the different resumes, it’s easy to see that Ramsey fits the criteria for product manager because of the precise use of keywords they’re exactly looking for. Although he might not have 2+ years of experience to showcase, it doesn’t have much description but it says a lot of positive things about him. It’s fair to assume he’s an expert in the field since the titles are precise keywords the job position is demanding.
Network Engineer Resume That Got Hired at Verizon DMS
Marcellus takes a very straightforward approach in this example. It’s easy for the job recruiter at Verizon to know what he’s capable of, and it draws our eyes in to want to continue reading since it draws curiosity about what he’s accomplished and capable of.
Marketing Resume that got hired at Sidewagon
Eric makes a great impression on the job recruiters at Sidewagon. He doesn’t only just stand out in front of all the other marketers who are applying for the same job position, but he makes us interested to learn more about his background. The pun and word-play especially make this makes his resume headline unique compared to all the others. So, don’t be afraid to show off anything you’ve done in the past you’re proud of. Just don’t throw in any of the clichés we’ve discussed.
Program Manager Resume That Got Hired at Deepmind
The fifth example from Tobias is an extraordinary example of letting job recruiters know a bit about your character and intentions. We can see he’s business-minded and has a passion for technology. Not only is he showing that he’s an ideal fit to take on the role of the program manager, but we can sense that he’s a strongly motivated person. This is one great way to make up for any lack of experience by conveying how you’re willing to learn, adapt, and to go above and beyond.
Using Your Resume Title To Your Advantage
Whether you want to call it a resume title or resume headline, the objective is clear.
Your resume title should be concise. Capitalize on metrics where possible, be specific to the job description, and it should hook the recruiter in on your resume in the short time they take to read it.
Not only does your resume headline help with cutting down content to hone in on the most important skills for the job position you’re applying for, but it’s going to get you one step closer to the interview.
From what we can see above, it’s one part of the puzzle and answer to landing your dream job.
Your resume headline is one of the first few things the job recruiter is going to see on your resume. It’s also the determining factor with whether they think you’re someone they want to work with or another average Joe applying.
If you’re using a resume template that has everything outlined for you, it’s easy to transform it into something extraordinary.
Try getting started for free with Enhancv. It’s trusted by professionals and gotten people hired at large organizations such as Spotify, Tesla, and Verizon.
Is there anything else we’ve missed you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!