What is a Resume Headline, Anyway? Do You Need One?

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.

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?

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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 shortthink 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.

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 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:

The Core Expertise

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

The Descriptive Job Title(s)

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

The 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.

Wondering if your resume can compete with the best of them? Schedule a call with us to find out how our trained writers can help rework your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.

Or if you’re on a budget and need immediate help, check out our Urgent Care Packages.

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