Dazzling Resume Headlines Guaranteed to Get You Noticed

Mon Apr 17, 2023

We all want our resume to stand out from the crowd—for obvious reasons.

One simple way to do that is to pay attention to small but mighty detail that many other candidates will have neglected: your resume headline.

My first job out of college was as a research assistant for an HR company, and I used to skim-read hundreds of resumes a day, keeping an eye out for candidates that looked like a good match for the jobs we were hiring for so that I could present my manager with an edited long-list.

I was looking for easy visual clues that the applicants met the criteria we’d set out in the job description, and candidates who communicated that their skills and experience matched the job description in key places like the resume headline generally got put on my “save” pile.

A resume headline or title is a one-sentence description of why you’re the perfect candidate for the job in question. It’s located right at the top of your resume underneath your name and contact details and should sum up your relevant skills and expertise in one succinct but powerful line.

Your resume headline is your chance to make a great first impression, as it will be the first thing the hiring manager will really notice. Even though it might seem like a small or insignificant detail, a good resume headline can help send all the right signals from the moment someone looks at your resume, setting the tone for the rest of your application.
One 2018 study found that recruiters look at resumes for an average of just 7.4 seconds before moving on, so it’s important to make a good impression quickly and clearly. Whether there’s a human or an applicant tracking system scanning resumes, you’re only doing yourself a favour by writing a powerful headline for your resume.

After my job in HR, I moved on to write headlines for an online magazine and discovered that the key ingredients for a compelling, click-enticing headline for an online article were the same for an effective resume headline. Essentially, you have a short window of opportunity to encourage a reader to click and read on, and I used these three questions as a guide when writing headlines that can also be used for a resume headline:

Value: What’s in it for them?

Clarity: What are they getting?

Intrigue and unique selling point: What makes you different, or stand out?

Here are some more tips to help you write an irresistible resume headline:
Tailor Your Title (Every Time!)

Tailor the title of your resume to each different job you apply to. (In fact, you should be doing this for the whole of your resume, not just the headline.)

Echo Their Tone + Voice

Echo the language that your prospective employers have used in the job description about their ideal candidate—you want to demonstrate from the get-go that you are a dream candidate with the skills and experience that they need for this role.
Have they repeated any words or phrases throughout the job description? These keywords might be something to focus on in your resume headline.

Keep it Short (15 Words or Less)

When I say short, I specifically mean 15 words or less. Some people also include a few sentences directly below the resume headline describing key skills and experience, but the headline itself needs to be as concise as possible.

Make it S.M.A.R.T.

Have you achieved specific, measurable results, or been involved in a particularly big win individually or as part of a team? Thinking in terms of specifics will help you avoid clichés like “great team player” that will just make the hiring manager’s eyes glaze over.

Consider Their Named Qualifications

Do they require a specific qualification, a specific skill set, or a number of years of experience? If so, include this in your title.

Use Title Case
Remember, your resume headline is like an attention-grabbing title of a blog post or article; capitalize it, and communicate the most important thing (or two) that you want the hiring manager to know about you to entice them to read on. If you're confused about how to use the title case, we love this hack.

Step 1: List it All
List out the key skills, passions, and experience that the job description in question calls for in the bullet-point form, then list out where your personal skills, passions, and experience match up against those. Ask yourself what your biggest achievement in each key area is (don’t worry if you don’t have something impressive for each key area, just brainstorm whatever you have).

Step 2: Choose Your Best Highlights
Read over what you’ve written, and pick out which things stand out the most to you—where does your proudest achievement overlap with what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate? Highlight one skill, one passion or area of interest, and one experience and/or achievement that you’d like them to know about you right away.

Step 3: Edit + Tweak
This last step should be easier because you’ve already done the legwork of brainstorming and editing in steps 1-2 of this process: you’re going to turn these key attributes into an impressive one-line title for your resume. Keep editing and tweaking until you have a title that will really catch the hiring manager’s eye. Remember, you don’t have to cram in everything from step 2 of this process if it won’t all fit in easily.

A resume headline needs to be completely unique to you (and to the job that you’re applying to), but there’s nothing like a few examples to get your ideas flowing.

Here are some of our favourite resume headline examples from around the internet to use as inspiration when crafting your own resume title.

Award-Winning Content Creator with 4+ Years Experience in Affiliate Marketing

Experienced SEO Writer Proven to x5 Search Traffic in 6 Months

Professional Grant Writer Responsible for Winning Over $500K in Funding

Luxury Multi-Lingual Concierge with Experience in 5* Resorts

Purdue University BSME Honors Graduate with Robot Programming Experience

Nonprofit Director Who Has Successfully Raised $5M for Children’s Charities

Customer Service Lead with 7 Years of Inbound Call Center Experience

Bilingual Nursing Graduate with Experience in Rural Health Care

Dedicated Special Education Teacher with 8 Years’ Success Supporting Students K-12

Friendly Cashier and GAP 3x Employee of the Month

Digital Marketer Who Landed $30 Million in Sales

High-Energy Sales Executive Who Exceeded Annual Quota by 20% Three Years Running

Expert Software Engineer Knowledgeable in Python and C++

Senior Financial Controller with 10 Years’ Executive Experience

A good headline helps give your resume focus and helps you to make it crystal clear why you’re the ideal candidate for the role. You want to persuade someone to stop skimming and start deep-diving into your application. So, don’t be shy; this is your chance to make the right first impression.

Mayuri Doshi

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