An effective resume headline can increase your chance of getting noticed
If you think you've finished writing your resume, think again. There's probably something you've missed, or at least didn't put enough effort into.
With your resume pulled up on your computer, stand up and back away from the screen. Can you instantly tell what type of position you're applying for? Better yet, get a friend to look at your resume from a distance and let them tell you what type of role they think you're applying to.
If it's not blatantly obvious, then you need to work on your resume headline. Sadly, resume headlines often go unattended but, the truth is, a strong, catchy headline can place you head and shoulders above rival job seekers.
Don't fall into the trap that a lot of applicants fall into by slapping a title at the top of your resume and calling it done. That's the best way to blend in. Take your resume headline a step further so that it works harder for you.
Seems easy enough, right? Well, getting it right can be harder than you think. That's okay, though, because we've got you covered!
Below, you'll find 27 great resume headline examples to help you stand out from the crowd, plus simple tips to help you write it with pizzazz.
What is a resume headline or title?
A headline for your resume is one line that sums up your relevant skills and professional experiences. It's located beneath your name and personal information; you can think of it as a summary of your resume summary.
On the other hand, a resume title is just that – a title. It lacks any mention of skills or achievements from your experience. If you're applying for a Human Resources Specialist role, the title of your resume would simply be, “Human Resources Specialist.” It's frankly boring and does nothing to help you to stand out from the crowd.
An effective resume headline catches the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers who are skimming a stack of resumes during the job search. Plus, it provides you with another opportunity to inject relevant keywords and phrases into your resume which will help your CV to be ranked highly by the ATS and make you stand out.
27+ resume headline examples by industry
The best way to understand what's needed is to see resume headline examples. Feel free to steal one of these for yourself, or use them as inspiration in crafting your own stand-out resume headline.
Resume headline examples for accounting
Meticulous CPA with Over 8 Years of Experience in Corporate Taxes
Staff Accountant with Expertise in Account Reconciliation and General Ledger
Resume headline examples for customer service
Bilingual Customer Service Representative with High Customer Satisfaction Rate
Enthusiastic Customer Service Representative Specializing in Retail
Resume headline examples for engineering
Committed Environmental Engineer with 6 Years in Waste Water Treatment
Analytical Civil Engineer with a Focus on Electrical Power Lines
Resume headline examples for finance
Investment Specialist Passionate about Securing Clients' Financial Futures
Diligent Financial Controller with 4+ Years of Substantially Reducing Errors
Resume headline examples for hospitality
Resort Manager with 10-Year Track Record of Increasing Profits by $4 Million
Director of Catering Events Specializing in Quality Foods for Refined Palates
Resume headline examples for human resources
Executive Recruiter and Headhunter with Expertise in Identifying Top Talent
Leadership Development Specialist with a Flair for Managing Employee Relations
Resume headline examples for manufacturing
Plant and Production Manager with Extensive Experience in Using Agile Methodologies
Process Technician with Record in Reducing Costs by $300,000 Annually
Resume headline examples for marketing
Proven Social Media Marketer with Expertise in Managing $2 Million in Annual Advertising Spend
Quick-Witted Copywriter with 3+ Years Working with Restaurants in 50+ Markets
Resume headline examples for nursing
Compassionate RN Registered in Florida With a Strong Emphasis on Pediatrics
Awarded Nurse Licensed in California with 5+ Years of Emergency Room Experience
Resume headline examples for project management
IT Project Manager with 6+ Years Overseeing Website with 5 Million Monthly Views
Senior Project Manager Focused on Construction Scheduling
Resume headline examples for real estate
New Home Sales Consultant with 5+ Years of Experience in Development
Senior Leasing Officer and Real Estate Broker Specializing in Commercial Real Estate
Resume headline examples for sales
Personable Sales Representative who Consistently Exceeds Target Goals
Senior Sales Executive with Experience in Auto and Home Insurance
Resume headline examples for technology
Innovative IT Manager with a Proven Track Record of Hitting Deadlines
Reliable IT Support Analyst with 3+ Years of Experience in Troubleshooting within KPIs
Resume headline example for a student with no experience
Driven Journalism Student with a Passion for Telling Stories
Why does having a headline for your resume matter?
Of course, the main idea is so that your resume stands out from the sea of sameness, but having a compelling resume headline will also make a lasting first impression. Taking the time to write something more than a simple title shows that you pay attention to the details.
When you set yourself apart from the competition, employers – who have the luxury of choice because they've received HUNDREDS of resumes – will have a reason to read further into your resume. They can tell within a few seconds why your application demands attention.
Spending a few extra minutes on your headline strengthens your personal brand and showcases right up front what makes you the best. And, let's face it, representing yourself as the best is what you have to do.
Your resume should grow legs, stand up on the hiring manager's desk, and shout, “Hey look at me, I'm the one!”
How to write a resume headline
Now that you have some resume headline examples, it's time to write your own. Keep these tips in mind as you craft the perfect one-liner for your resume:
1. Use specific keywords and phrases
As previously mentioned, your resume headline is a great opportunity to include specific keywords relevant to the job posting. This not only helps you to stand out, but it can also help your resume to rank higher in companies' applicant-tracking systems.
To determine the best keywords to include in a good headline for your resume, study the job listing. Which words are used to describe the ideal candidate? Are specific certifications or experiences required? If so, consider including those in your resume headline.
2. Customize it for each job application
Because each job is different, it's important to carefully consider your resume headline when applying to different positions. Look through each job opening and consider the required skills, experiences, certifications, and soft skills. Once you have an idea of what the company needs for a new staff member to do in the role, use those keywords in your headline. This is called tailoring.
3. Use the right adjectives
Using an adjective in your resume headline can help you to stand out, but avoid overused words, like hard-working, detail-oriented, innovative, and creative. Instead, use attention-grabbing adjectives, like instrumental, energetic, imaginative, driven, or responsive. If you need inspiration, Google “powerful resume adjectives.”
4. Show – don't tell
Are you a doer or an achiever? Instead of using your resume headline to “tell” the reader you're an effective employee, show it with awards, numbers, or certifications.
Here are some resume headline examples that show how achievements can make an impact:
Personable Sales Representative who Consistently Exceeds Target Goals by 30%
Seasoned Facebook Ad Copywriter with Average Click-Through Rate of 2%+
Certified Professional Scrum Master III with 98% Customer Satisfaction Rate
Even just listing your years of experience can be an impactful way to showcase the value you bring to a job.
5. Make your headline stand out
Finally, it's important to make sure your strong resume headline stands out — literally. Leverage your resume's design to highlight your headline or title. It shouldn't be as big or as bold as your name at the top of the page, but it should be one of the first things the hiring manager sees before scanning down to your resume summary.
Key takeaways on how to write your headline:
Write it directly beneath your contact information
Keep it on one line
Include the title of the role you want with some keywords from the job description
Use title case
Tailor it to every job you apply to
Mention certifications, if you have them
Include an achievement
Common mistakes to avoid when writing your resume headline
We've already established that using a title rather than a headline is boring and won't serve you very well when you're trying to stand out from the crowd. There are other mistakes you'll want to avoid too, though.
Don't be too generic
The concept of targeting and tailoring your resume is critical. Fail to do so at your peril. When you lack specificity in your resume, including your headline, you do nothing to set yourself apart from others.
Many people think that if they have a general resume, they can use the same one for job after job. That simply will not work.
Because you won't get ranked highly by the ATS. These applicant tracking systems can be searched by keywords and they scan all incoming resumes against the keywords and phrases they're programmed to look for. If the ATS doesn't find the requisite keywords, your resume is sent to the bottom of the pile.
Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and superlatives
Just because some piece of terminology is considered to be industry-specific and you think it'll demonstrate your familiarity within a field, overusing jargon can be a turnoff to hiring managers and recruiters. Considering that they're spending just seconds skimming through your resume, you don't want there to be anything in the language they'll have to figure out.
PRO TIP: Just because you're applying for a tech role, doesn't mean a tech person will be the only person checking out your resume.
While we're on the subject, you should also give buzzwords the boot. Instead, use action words that show what you did in the past that will resonate with future employers.
With that said, they don't want to see a bunch of superlatives. You know, those words that end with "-est" or "-ly" like "best-in-class" or "highest revenue generator." If you're going to write something on your resume about generating the highest revenue, prove it by using numbers.
Wrong: Sales Representative Acknowledged as Highest Revenue Generator
Right: Sales Representative Acknowledged for Generating $27M in Revenue
Remember: Substance matters!
When your headline sings, you get interviews
It's not good enough to treat the headline of your resume as one more box to check off on your resume-writing to-do list. You should spend a fair amount of time on it, to ensure that it's properly tailored to the job you want in a way that will sing your praises to a hiring manager and help you to stand out from the crowd.
Check your headline to ensure that it:
Will leave a lasting impression
Has the right keywords
Doesn't have buzzwords and jargon
Includes an achievement
Is an authentic representation of your skills and experience
When you hit all of these notes, you'll have a killer headline that's sure to wow the hiring manager and win a coveted spot at the interview table.
Want help crafting an impressive resume headline? A professional resume review is a good start.
This article was originally written by Carlson Kohler and has been updated by Marsha Hebert.