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Here’s how you can write an effective headline for your resume

Artwork by: Rita Cherepanova

  • What is a good headline for a resume?
  • What’s the difference between a resume headline and a resume profile?
  • What makes a good resume headline?
  • How to write a compelling resume headline
  • Get to the point
  • Be specific
  • Include a few skills
  • Use keywords
  • Add professional licenses
  • Talk about a key achievement
  • Place it at the top
  • Resume headline examples
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • Using personal pronouns
  • Writing vague statements
  • Providing a broad overview
  • Omitting valuable data
  • Adding too many adjectives
  • Writing words that don’t add value
  • Key takeaways

Without an effective headline or title, even the most well-written resume may not make a solid first impression on a hiring manager. Read more to learn about resume titles and how to write one.

A resume title, often known as a resume headline, is a short statement that introduces the reader to your resume. The purpose of this headline is to make an impression on the hiring manager by showcasing your skills and experience. A well-written, effective headline for your  resume can summarize your entire career in a single sentence.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • The importance of resume headlines

  • Tips on writing effective resume headlines

  • Examples of resume headlines

What is a good headline for a resume?

According to research, recruiters spend around six to seven seconds skimming through a resume. To capture the recruiter’s interest and pique their interest in your resume, you need a catchy one-line title that provides a crux of your entire professional career.

Another reason why you need a resume headline is to ensure your resume makes it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software looks for certain keywords and terminologies in a resume, and a resume headline is a good place to add a couple of job-specific keywords.

What’s the difference between a resume headline and a resume profile?

One of the most common misconceptions about resume headlines is that they are the same thing as resume profiles. While there are a few similarities between a resume headline and a profile, there are a few key differences worth noting.

A resume profile is a section of your resume that includes your skills, experiences, and goals that are relevant to the job you’re applying to. The profile consists of a small paragraph or a few bullet points. By contrast, a resume headline or title consists of a few words that provide an executive-level summary of your resume to the reader.

Resume headline: Account Manager & B2B Sales Expert

Resume profile: Seasoned Account Manager with 10+ years of experience in B2B sales management, revenue growth, and market expansion. 

What makes a good resume headline?

A resume headline must be customized according to the job you’re applying to. Here are a few qualities of a well-written resume headline.

  • Short. A resume headline does not even need to be a full sentence. The goal of the headline is to state your value as a candidate to the reader. If a resume title consists of a full sentence or more than one sentence, its purpose is defeated.

  • Keyword-rich. When writing a resume headline, you’ll want to focus on specific keywords that are mentioned in the job description. Using words directly from the job description will help demonstrate that you are a good fit for the role. Also, it’s important for your resume to make it past the ATS, which is why the resume title should contain some keywords.

  • Free from cliches. One of the most important objectives of the resume headline is to help you stand out among all other job applicants. This is why it’s important for you to avoid cliches in your resume title. Generic phrases like “hard-working” and “quick learner” don’t necessarily add any value to your headline, and they must be avoided.

How to write a compelling resume headline

Simply writing a resume headline isn’t enough. It needs to have that spark that entices the reader and gets them hooked on your resume. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you write a compelling resume headline.

Get to the point

An effective resume headline should not be a full sentence. Ideally, it should have fewer than 15 words. A complex sentence can be difficult for the reader to understand. You want your resume headline to capture the hiring manager’s attention in less than six seconds, so make every word count. 

Be specific

Talk about specific skills and experience that will benefit the organization. Avoid using cliches and terms that add no value to your resume. You can also provide a few quantifiable results or numbers if you want to.

Include a few skills

Make sure to include one or two skills that the company is looking for. You can easily find these skills by reviewing the job description carefully. For example, if the job description states that the applicant must possess experience in business development, you can fit the phrase “business development” somewhere in your resume headline. 

Use keywords

Every job description contains certain keywords. These keywords denote certain skills and attributes the employer is looking for, and they’re also what the ATS looks for when parsing a resume. Look for keywords and phrases that relate to your skills and experience and use them in your resume headline.

Add professional licenses

In some cases, a company has certain “gateway credentials” they’re looking for. These credentials could include academic qualifications (such as a registered nurse, attorney-at-law, or tax accountant) or professional licenses (such as those a project management professional might need). These credentials are a must-have for job applicants who want to secure this job. If you have one or more of these credentials, make sure to add them to your resume headline. 

Talk about a key achievement

If you have an impressive achievement that can be quantified, what better place to put it than your resume headline? However, it’s not mandatory for you to add your key achievement to this section. Remember, your objective is to keep your headline short. 

Place it at the top

Your resume headline should be one of the first things that the hiring manager sees when they review your resume. You can add your headline just after your name and contact details so they stand out from the rest of your resume. 

Resume headline examples

Once you’ve identified your key skills, job-specific terminology, and noteworthy accomplishments worth mentioning, the next step is to condense all of this information into a short, powerful statement that will serve as your resume title.


Here are a few resume title examples.

Results-oriented Supply Chain Manager with 6+ years of experience in supervising large-scale activities within the manufacturing sector.

Sales Director with a proven track record of identifying, negotiating, and finalizing partner engagements and business expansion plans to the tune of $500M.

Finance graduate from the University of Toronto with internship experience at EY Canada.

Office Manager with expertise in handling phone calls, procurement, inventory management, and corporate event planning.

Detail-oriented Content Creator with in-depth knowledge of search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, content strategy design, and WordPress management.

Bilingual Marketing Executive with 5+ years of experience in designing marketing campaigns, lead generation and nurturing, and channel partnership agreements.

Honors graduate with experience in web designing and content writing.

Physics Teacher with 10+ years of teaching experience across multiple high schools in Lackawanna County, PA.

Senior Accountant with subject-matter expertise in financial planning, tax preparation and filing, and payroll management. 

Dynamic and people-centric Barista with 4+ years of experience in customer services in the restaurant industry. 

Cashier with a specialty in managing POS tools, petty cash, and bank reconciliations. 

CEO and Co-founder of [company name and what it does].

Business Development Executive with experience in sales enablement, lead generation, and managing accounts worth $2M.

Registered Nurse [license number] with 10+ years of experience in providing emergency care to patients at the [hospital name].

Experienced Attorney-at-Law specializing in employment laws, including workers’ compensation laws and wrongful termination.

Common mistakes to avoid

While every resume headline is unique, there are some common mistakes job applicants make when writing this headline. Here are a few things you must avoid when writing a resume headline.

Using personal pronouns

A resume, in general, should never include first-person pronouns (I, me, my), and this holds true for the resume headline as well. Even though this seems like a minor error, it's one of the many reasons a recruiter might reject your job application. Since recruiters are pressed for time, they need a quick way to filter through resumes, and any grammatical errors or pronouns are causes for rejection. 

Writing vague statements

Avoid making generalized statements about your skills, achievements, and past experiences. If you have a quantifiable key accomplishment you want to add to your resume headline, make sure to spell it out. Also, if you’re mentioning an achievement, make sure it’s in line with the job role you’re applying to.

Providing a broad overview

Your resume headline has to be short and concise. For this reason, it’s best to be specific and avoid any open-ended details that are not relevant to the job. Your skills and experience in this section should coincide with the target job post, and you also need to add a few keywords to increase your chances of getting an interview call.

Omitting valuable data

While there is no foolproof way to write a resume headline, there are some key details you would want to add to this section. This includes your total years of experience, key job-related skills, and industry. If you’re adding an accomplishment, try to back it up with a number. For example, instead of saying “increased sales”, try to say “increased revenue by [percentage] or [number] during [year].”

Adding too many adjectives

It’s always good to use adjectives, but don’t go overboard. Instead of using multiple adjectives and making your resume cliche, try to use one or two adjectives that are unique to you. 

Writing words that don’t add value

Words such as “success” don’t really add any value to your resume on their own, and they don’t provide any proof to the recruiter that you’ve done something worthwhile at your previous jobs. Be specific with the resume headline. For example, instead of saying “increased sales and achieved success,” you can say, “generated $3M in revenue and improved customer satisfaction by 25%.”

Key takeaways

  1. A resume headline includes your key qualifications, skills, and experience in a condensed form and introduces you to the recruiter or hiring manager.

  2. Your resume headline should include a few keywords from your target job description, and it should be catchy enough to capture the reader’s attention.

  3. A well-written resume headline helps you stand out among all other job applicants, and it improves your chances of getting an interview call. 

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