Resume Headlines – Why They Are The Most Important Part of Any Resume

Your Headline is your eye-catcher, your interest-grabber, your hook, your attention builder. If you indeed have only 15 to30 seconds to grab a hiring agent’s attention (since she may have dozens or even hundreds more resumes to get to), why wouldn’t you want the best two lines of text possible to catch her attention?

What is a Headline?

The Headline of your resume consists of one to two well-written sentences, utilizing powerful adjectives and action verbs to wow and impact your reader. Another useful tip to employ, often used by copywriters to encourage their reader to read on – don’t end your last sentence with a period.

The Headline incorporates two things – 1) your professional objective, and 2) some of your key accomplishments, things written specifically for the position you are seeking. Using this formula provides two pieces of important information right off the bat:

  • what you are seeking
  • what you can potentially offer them

There is no Heading used for the Headline, as for other parts of your resume, i.e. Summary of Qualifications, Work History, or Education.

It is written directly below the Header (name and contact information), two spaces below, then drop two more spaces before your next Heading.

Different from An Objective

Ten years ago, we wrote Objectives, which just summarized the position the job-hunter was seeking. In essence, it focused only on the job-seeker, and what they had accomplished, not on what they could offer a potential employer; i.e.

“Executive Chef in charge of corporate dining facilities & events”

“Am seeking a position as a heavy equipment operator for a California-based company”

“Prefer a Part-Time Position in account management where I can utilize my education and skills.”

And to be perfectly honest, a lot of templates still encourage only an Objective. And there is nothing wrong with that, if that is the route you decide to take.

However, nowadays, many professional resume writers more often focus on writing a Headline, a quick summary geared toward what the employer seeks, not what the employee wants. It is meant to quickly provide Hirers information on a candidate, to determine if they meet their criteria and what they can offer if they were employed. Anything you can do to simplify life for a Hiring Agent works in your favor, right?

An Important Tip: Write a custom Headline for each position you are applying for.

Keep your Headline concise and clear, a short but powerful summary – sort of like a motto, or a catchy ad. It should be italicized, bold, in 10-12 size font. Eliminate wordiness by cutting the articles, such as “a” “an” or “the”. This principle is true throughout your resume.

4 Steps To Creating a Powerful Headline

#1 – Start with some powerful adjectives to describe yourself. Be truthful, but it is okay to sing your own praises here.

Talented- Award-winning – Successful – Dedicated – Experienced – Professional

#2 – Add the function or description of the position(s) you have held (and are currently seeking).

Real estate sales – computer management – senior communications manager –

master gardener – sales representative – marketing professional

#3 – describe your level of expertise or years of experience

Professional – assistant – a decade of experience -over twenty years –

extensive background in – accomplished in

#4 – lastly, add some of your key accomplishments

…with a proven track record of customer satisfaction

…with strong business acumen in computer programming and systems analysis

… with proven experience in managing retail sales setup and operations

… with a master’s degree in new product development and marketing

… with a strong record of (list your key accomplishments)

Hopefully, you will end up with something like this:

Award-winning and successful senior communications manager with a strong record of developing customer loyalty and managing retail sales operations

Before you sit down to write your resume’s Headline, do your research. Bolster your confidence and enhance your resume’s chances of being read all the way through with a good strong Headline. It may be the most valuable piece of real estate within your resume.

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