What’s Your Headline?

What's Your Headline

We all know that recruiters and hiring managers spend only a few seconds initially reviewing each resume they receive. So, if you’re seeking a new opportunity, your challenge is to make those few seconds count by instantly communicating who you are and the value you bring to an organization.

Take a close look at your resume and ask yourself if someone can tell who you are within a few seconds of seeing your resume. If so, you’ve done a great job with positioning yourself. If not, think seriously about creating a powerful headline.

Resume headlines allow you to:

  • Clearly communicate who you are and what you do.
  • Position yourself for the types of jobs you are pursuing.
  • Integrate keywords that are essential for both human and electronic resume readers.
  • Instantly communicate your brand.
  • Showcase the “career extras” that make you a unique hire.
  • Stand out from the competition.
  • Maximize your use of prime resume real estate.
  • Speak the language of the hiring company by showcasing relevant skills and qualifications.

Position your headline immediately after your name and contact information at the top of your resume and before the summary section. In fact, your headline might also serve as the introduction to your summary.

Resume Headline Styles and Strategies

There are an unlimited number of ways to write, format and design resume headlines. Your decision will be based on how you can best communicate—in an instant—who you are and how you want to be perceived.

Single-Line Headline:

These are easy to write and appropriate for almost all job seekers.


Multiple-Line Headline:

The most flexible headline format. You can focus on skills/qualifications, industry expertise, companies you’ve worked for, advanced degrees, certifications, awards and other notable professional credentials.

Skills Focus—when core competencies matter most.

Asset Growth | Bakken and Barnett Shales | Natural Gas and NGL Purchasing | Negotiation and Administration of Commercial Agreements | Economic Modeling

Industry Focus—when experience in select industries and types of companies matters most.

Consumer Goods | Pharmaceutical | Health Care Startup Ventures |
Turnaround Companies | High-Growth Corporations

Petroleum Refining Expertise

Branded Headline

States your personal brand. This type of headline focuses on your unique value proposition, the single thing that you do best, the information that’s going to instantly capture a reader’s attention and set you apart from other candidates.

Confident leader able to motivate and inspire others through proven interpersonal and communication skills. A resourceful and creative change agent. A quick study and accomplished project owner.

Use Headlines to Convey Your Value

With a powerful headline, you make it easy for a hiring manager to know who you are and understand your value in the workplace. If you can accomplish that with just a quick flash of your resume, you will instantly position yourself ahead of other candidates whose resumes are more cumbersome in content and presentation. You never want someone to have to figure out who you are. Tell them!

Always remember that resume writing is marketing. You’re the product to be marketed, and your resume is your advertisement. How can you best formulate a headline that will capture readers’ interest, demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience for the positions you are targeting, and help you land an interview?

Rick Christensen

Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice Rick has been a career consultant for over 25 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.

Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Rick Christensen

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

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