What is a resume headline?
A resume headline is a catchy tagline at the top of your resume, immediately following your name and contact information. It consists of several words no more than a line long and shouldn’t be a complete sentence.
Much like a newspaper headline, your resume tagline will determine whether a Hiring Manager will read your application or not. A resume headline communicates to the reader the exact job role you’re interested in and what sets you apart from other candidates.
Excluding a resume headline means the Hiring Manager will have to dig through your application to make an educated guess as to what it is that you’re applying for.
Difference between resume headlines and professional profiles
A resume headline is similar to a professional profile (or personal statement) in that both provide a short summary of your relevant experience and qualifications.
The main difference is that a resume headline is one brief phrase whereas a professional profile is a short paragraph of around 50 to 200 words.
For this reason, a resume headline is even more eye-catching than a personal statement.
When designing your Australian resume for maximum impact, it’s perfectly fine to use both a headline and a professional profile. Use the headline to attract the Hiring Manager’s attention, and then the profile to provide additional info.
Quick tips in writing a catchy resume headline
Keep reading below for more information on how to write an attention-grabbing title for your resume.
Tailor your headline for each job application
Your resume headline should immediately convince the Hiring Manager that you’re the right fit for the role they’re trying to fill. The best way to achieve this goal is to use keywords from the job ad to describe your target employer’s ideal candidate.
This means you have to customise your resume headline when applying for different roles.
Examine the job description and look for keywords such as:
- Years of experience
- Hard and soft skills requirement
- Certifications, licences and tickets
Don’t use overused adjectives
Using an adjective in your resume headline can help you stand out, but don’t use overused words (e.g., hardworking, detail-oriented, highly organised, innovative).
Rather, you should use powerful resume adjectives, such as Passionate, Team-Minded, Methodical, Quick-Thinking and so on.
Use correct capitalisation
Since your resume headline is a title, you have to capitalise it to help catch the reader’s attention. To capitalise your title:
- Capitalise all adverbs, adjectives, verbs, nouns and any word with more than three letters
- Capitalise the first and the last word regardless of their length or part of speech
- Don’t capitalise prepositions, articles and conjunctions with less than four letters (e.g., and, for, in, the)
Keep your headline on one line
Your resume headline should be no longer than one line (or 120 characters, including spaces). If your headline exceeds one line, it’s possibly a run-on sentence that even the most focused reader will have a difficult time to comprehend.
Hiring Managers review several resumes each day. Your title should immediately grab their attention and encourage them to read on.
If your resume headline runs into a second line, try to shorten it by searching for shorter synonyms to words.
Examples of compelling resume headlines
For entry-level job seekers / school leavers / Uni students or graduates
- Aspiring Social Worker With 100+ Hours of Clinical Placement + Practical Experience in a Hospital Setting
- University Senior Pursuing a Policy Internship Drawing on Sound Analytical + Research Abilities
- MBA-Qualified Financial Analyst With Strong Modelling and Statistical Skills
For managers and experienced professionals
- Safety-Conscious Foreman With 10+ Years’ Experience Overseeing Large Civil Projects up to $10M
- National Sales Manager With 20+ Years’ Successful Career, Generating $10M+ Yearly Revenue
- Financial Controller Known for Producing Savings of $20M+ Over a 10-Year Career in Healthcare
While a resume headline isn’t always necessary, it’s a simple yet powerful way to generate interest in your experience, achievements and attributes.
This short phrase may not be sufficient to secure you an interview on its own, but it can captivate Hiring Managers and convince them to keep reading.