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How to write a killer resume headline

Jan 03, 2020


Your resume is your professional first impression, and just like in-person encounters, you rarely get a second chance at making it count. 

And recruiters are counting. Because it only takes them five to seven seconds to decide whether they want to move forward with your resume, or move on to the next 250 in their inbox (because that's the average number they receive per corporate job posting). 

It's no longer common North American practice to include a lengthy summary on your resume. Instead, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for a brief statement that introduces who you are and what value you can add to the organization they're recruiting for. 

Take these tips into consideration when crafting a headline that grabs and keeps the reader's attention:

Use keywords

The Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) recruiters and hiring managers use to find qualified candidates will read your resume before human hands pick it up. And they only find you via the keywords associated with the job description. So, you need to include those within the text-- this means the job title as well.

Keep it clear & concise

When a recruiter or hiring manager is reading your headline, he or she shouldn’t have to read between the lines to grasp the qualifications that position you as the best fit for the role. Keep the text to one to three sentences in length, and highlight your skills and experience as they directly relate to the position.

Tailor each headline

Just as you would tailor your resume to each position you apply to, the same goes for your headline. Use specific stats or achievements if applicable.

Resume headline examples

Example 1:
If you're a qualified IT professional, your headline may read something like this: 

"Data-driven Java Developer with 6+ years in java web application and REST service development. Success in using Spring MVC, HTML, XML and JavaScript(jQuery) to create exciting applications." 

Example 2:
If you've won awards for your work, your headline may read something like this: 

"Java Developer with 6+ years' experience in creating award winning apps -- specialty in Java web application and REST service development, Spring MVC, HTML, XML, and JavaScript(jQuery)."

Remember, one liners can pack a powerful professional punch when delivered correctly.

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