How to Write a Job-Winning Resume Headline (with Examples)

Oct 6, 2020 | Resumes

A title graphic featuring an alternate version of the article's title, "What's a Resume Headline? (+ Examples)" against a backdrop of clippings of newspaper headlines.

Extra! Extra! Could your resume benefit from a headline? Check out these resume headline examples and learn how to write one of your own.

Updated June 2023.

By: Ashley Dolar | Resume Writer for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! An eye-catching resume headline is worth its weight in gold. It can convince a recruiter to continue reading, and it might even persuade a hiring manager to pick up the phone.

While it’s not a mandatory piece of the resume puzzle, it is a powerful way to create interest in your job application. So, what is a resume headline, anyway?

Think of a resume headline like the title of a newspaper article. Or if you are a millennial, think of it as BuzzFeed clickbait. It’s a short phrase that describes who you are as a professional and why someone should read the rest of your resume.

It needs to be interesting, impressive, and important to its intended audience. But, above all else, it needs to be short —think 10 words or less.

It should be placed near the top of your resume, preferably between your contact information and summary section. It’s meant to preview your top strengths and qualifications, but it really helps to set the tone for the rest of your application. So, it’s something you want to get just right.

In this post, we’ll teach you the key elements of a resume headline and tips for making it attention-grabbing. We’ll also share some examples of headlines that catch the eye.

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How to write a winning resume headline 

A screenshot of a resume headline example.

Be sure to use attractive formatting for your resume headline and include the position title.

  • Choose your keywords wisely. Use attention-grabbing keywords to highlight your experience and expertise — at least some of these should come from the job description. You can even add the exact job title (and should if that job title isn’t found elsewhere on your resume.) This helps make your resume both ATS-compliant and human-friendly. 
  • Go for visual appeal. You want it to look good, so formatting is important. Capitalize the words in your headline in title case, like the words of a book. Or use all caps. This helps your headline ~Stand Out~ and provides some focus for the rest of your resume. 
  • Be straightforward. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. If it’s too complicated, your reader will give up and may even move on to the next application. Avoid buzzwords like “Hard-working” or “Detail-oriented,” and focus on your specific core expertise like “Healthcare Project Management” or “Hedge Fund Investment Planning.”

Resume headline examples

You definitely want to check out a few resume headline examples before writing your own. Then you can choose a format that fits your personality, style, and desired job title. Remember to keep it short, sweet, and space-efficient. Here are three popular options:

Core Expertise

  • Marketing|Content Management|Search Engine Optimization 
  • Supply Chain Management|E-Commerce|Inside Sales
  • Accounting|Finance|Bookkeeping

Descriptive Job Title(s)

  • Seasoned Executive Assistant and Office Manager
  • Award-Winning Project Manager with PMP Certification 
  • Automotive Quality Assurance Engineer 

Combo (Job Title, Expertise, Industry, etc.)

  • Business Leader|Information Technology|Veteran of the U.S. Navy
  • Director of Research|Program Manager | Qualitative & Quantitative Analysis  
  • Senior Level Executive|Global Sales Leader | Business Strategist 

By sticking to the formula of Position Title + Keywords, you will bring focus to your resume and create a natural segue into your Summary of Qualifications section, where you can provide more details to round out your experience.

Bringing it all together

In conclusion, a well-crafted resume headline can be a powerful tool in capturing the attention of employers and setting yourself apart from the competition. It serves as a concise and impactful introduction to your professional brand and can instantly communicate your unique value proposition. By incorporating keywords, highlighting key skills or achievements, and tailoring it to the specific job you’re applying for, you can create a compelling headline that piques the interest of hiring managers and compels them to delve deeper into your resume.

Remember that a resume headline should be clear, concise, and relevant to the position you’re seeking. It should effectively summarize your qualifications and demonstrate your suitability for the role. Additionally, it’s crucial to continuously update and tailor your headline as your career progresses, ensuring it remains aligned with your evolving goals and accomplishments.

While a strong resume headline can make a great first impression, it’s important to support it with a well-structured and achievement-focused resume. Your headline serves as the initial hook, but the rest of your resume must deliver on its promise. Keep the content of your resume consistent with the message conveyed in your headline, and provide concrete evidence of your skills and experiences through quantifiable achievements, relevant certifications, and notable projects.

Ultimately, a compelling resume headline is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s the first step in grabbing the attention of potential employers and enticing them to learn more about your qualifications. So take the time to craft an attention-grabbing headline that showcases your unique strengths and positions you as an ideal candidate. With an effective resume headline, you’ll increase your chances of standing out in a competitive job market and securing the opportunities you desire.

Ready for more job search help?

Sign up for a free Senior Writer Resume Critique to see what's holding you back from landing interviews. One of our top professional resume writers will give you personalized feedback on the top 3 items you can improve based on our expert practices!