How to Create a Resume Headline or Title (With Examples)
What's a resume headline? You've probably heard phrases like "in a world full of roses be a sunflower." That same analogy can apply to many different things in life—including your resume.
You want your resume to set you apart from all of the other resumes a hiring manager is reviewing.
So how do you accomplish that?
What's a headline on a resume?
A resume headline is essentially a one-liner on your resume. It's meant to snag the attention of a hiring manager so they'll take a closer look.
When you write a resume headline, you'll write one line or one sentence detailing why you should be considered. Resume headlines are meant to have the same effect as a news article headline might.
Resume headlines are placed directly at the top of your resume, almost like a resume title. A good resume headline will be powerful. And make the first impression for those hiring managers.
Pro tip: HR managers read a resume for an average of seven seconds. Make the headline impactful!
Why is a resume headline important?
It may seem silly or irrelevant to use a good headline on a resume. Good resume headlines are meant to draw someone in.
It's all about capturing your audience, in a sense. It can be easy to lose a hiring manager's attention before you get the chance, so take the opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of other resumes they are sorting through.
Think about it. When you see an online article, what is it that makes you want to click on and read said article? It's certainly not the keywords that are part of the algorithm in a search—it's that short sentence headline that does the trick.
This is a great way to find a few examples. Though your effective resume headline is not going to be like a news article, it's designed to have the same effect.
If you do it right, the words you'll use will encourage recruiters to keep looking at your resume and maybe even reach out to you about a job.
Did you know that many recruiters and hiring personnel use software to sort through applications and submissions? When you respond to a job search, your resume goes through this first. Nearly 75% of hiring manager personnel use such software. It's called applicant tracking software.
Here's why it's important:
- Draws attention to your resume.
- Summarizes your capabilities and competencies.
- Formalizes your resume.
- Attracts the hiring manager's attention and desire to read your resume in its entirety.
Where does the resume headline go?
You'll want to place that resume headline at the top of your resume, so it stands out to recruiters and is the first thing they see or focus in on. While we did describe the resume headline as a title, it's not quite a title. It should be placed in your resume header.
Make sure to set your headline in title case (capitalizing the words). Your resume will be directly beneath the formal title. You can see this displayed in any number of headline examples out there. The title of the resume will be the job title pretty much.
Then you'll support that title with a short resume summary of relevant skills to create a good headline.
There are plenty of tips out there for creating a strong resume headline. And we'll share some of those. You can look at regular title examples and headline helpers to give you some guidance or inspiration as well.
Here's the resume headline checklist to follow:
- Make sure it's one line.
- Put the resume headline beneath your contact information in your resume header.
- Use title case.
- Keep it short and impactful.
- Include a career achievement.
Resume headline examples
Writing a resume is hard enough. So don't overthink this. You're not looking to have an award-winning headline.
A recruiter will see so many candidates for so many jobs that you just want to stand out against less experienced applicants in the playing field. Sometimes, it's that ability to stand out that'll help you land a new job.
Check out these resume headline examples and tips to help you write a resume headline worth the attention of that recruiter.
For College Students Resume Headline
College students are most likely on the job search for an entry-level position and just trying to get their foot in the door.
A college student may not have a lot of relevant experience for their resumes at this point unless they have internship experience to depict.
In this case, you're going to list that you're a graduate and choose one skill or position to turn your focus.
Here's a good example:
Recent ccounting graduate with career experience in a tax preparation firm.
Customer Service Resume Headline
Customer service may be harder because there are so many careers and skills involve. Tips for writing a resume headline here would be to avoid clichés and overused language in your writing.
There are a lot of words and keywords but remember you're highlighting skills for customer service careers in a short summary.
Here is a great example for this type of career:
Sales associate with experience with 10+ years of experience in retail and sales.
Here is another example for a good headline for your resume:
Financial firm customer service representative with a background in phone handling.
Administrative Assistant Resume Headline
Administrative assistant is another broad category for a job resume and one that career experts work a lot with. You want to be able to be set apart for this popular job.
Write about skills and experience but keep to the keywords without being cheesy.
Here's a great example:
Office assistant with a background in high traffic areas and office management.
Engineering/Software Resume Headline
This particular field is going to be more specific than some of them out there. Still, you need to make an impact from the resume title to the resume headline.
Here's a great example:
Expert software engineer with experience as a graphic designer.
Business/Management Resume Headline
When it comes to the business world, the headline will need to be as professional as possible. If you're seeking a career in management, write a headline that'll display skills towards that type of position.
Check out this example:
Investment banker with 10 years of team management experience.
Marketing/Sales Resume Headline
In marketing and sales, the job is usually about hitting goals. The recruiter reviewing your job application needs to see skills that'll help reach company goals.
Here is a great example:
Digital marketer assistant who has never missed an annual quota.
Retail Resume Headline
Retail will be customer-oriented but also fast-paced and may need to write in the ability to make sales as well.
Here's an example for you:
Boutique sales representative who understands the value of being a team player.
Accounting/Finance Resume Headline
Finance is a specific industry and requires specific skills in most cases.
Check out this example:
Financial planner with a background in estate planning.
Teaching/Education Resume Headline
A teacher must reflect the ability to teach, as well as their own education on their resume.
Take a look at this example:
Skilled teacher with experience in a special education classroom.
Human Resources Resume Headline
Human resources looks for a vast background. It may be "experienced in human resources" or a degree in the field but it also might be a business background that led you there.
Here is an example:
Human Resources associate with a primary focus on payroll and benefits.
Healthcare Resume Headline
Finally, healthcare is another broad field. You'll want to summarize your job experience or the areas you specialize in. If you have certifications, try to write this resume headline in such a way as to make that clear.
Here's an example:
Experienced registered nurse in home health care setting.
More resume headline examples
Here are a few more resume headline examples for various job titles:
- Software engineer with 12 years of experience in the product management group.
- Single-threaded leader with sales abilities.
- Business development specialist with 10 years of experience and a 4X average EBITDA impact.
- Receptionist with technical skills that accompany high-growth stage companies.
How to write an effective headline for your resume
Now, you understand the basics. And you've seen some examples. Let's plot a new headline for your resume.
Use the proper format/title case
It is important that you format your resume and the resume headline properly. It is not a title but you need to be sure to use the title and formatting properly here.
Think of the headline as the cover letter for the resume. This might seem a little silly but it's your introduction to the resume, which is what cover letters are as well, right?
Target the job description/job posting
You're most likely writing this resume title for a specific job. Read and study the job description to help you come up with wording and understand what the company might be looking for.
You want your resume title headline to be related to the job and to somewhat encompasses what the job entails, highlighting your ability to take it on via short form.
Include career accomplishments
While the headline is not meant to be a full summary, take a moment to touch on your accomplishments.
You'll notice in some of the examples we shared that you might mention something like "exceeded annual quota five times" for a sales position. Touch on things of this nature that are relative to the job. Find a way to brag just slightly.
Stick with adjectives
Adjectives are essentially descriptors. It's a description that is paired with a noun or a pronoun so this is where you describe yourself with a word.
Professional, experienced, skilled. A couple of examples of adjectives to consider.
Keep the headline short
Above all else, remember this is not a paragraph. It's simply a one-liner. A one-liner that is just going to summarize your background in terse verbiage.
You'll notice in every example shared, it's a simple, yet catchy sentence. And one that's small. Yet can share a lot of information.
Use a resume headline generator
When you're ready to create your headline, there are some awesome tools out there to do so.
You can use a resume headline generator to expedite the process.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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