How to Write a Resume Headline

Headlines should be graphically prominent.

Headlines should be graphically prominent.

The purpose of your resume is to make your experience and qualifications stand out when hiring managers review job applications. Adding a headline to an otherwise conventional resume can help you make a strong statement about why you should be considered for the opportunity. In addition, you can use headlines in place of outdated objective statements that are sometimes interpreted as being too general and self-serving. Your ultimate goal is to showcase and demonstrate the value you would bring to the company, and it should only take four or five words to make this impression on the hiring manager.

Find the original and full job advertisement. Refer to the qualifications and requirements section of the job description. Highlight specific knowledge, skills and abilities the hiring manager wants in applicants. For example, a job description for a medical assistant might request applicants with a good bedside manner and the ability to work effectively in an acute and critical care environment.

Perform an assessment of your qualifications as they relate to the specific job opening. Review the work history, education and skills sections on your existing resume. Look at your job duties at previous companies, and recall your accomplishments and achievements. Identify your hard skills, such as having earned an advanced degree in your field, and soft skills, such as being analytical by nature.

Choose a key job qualification or requirement from the job advertisement that applies to you, based on provable career experience. Employers may use bold, underlined or an all-capitals font in the ad to highlight the most important qualification for the job, such as "MUST HAVE STATE-ISSUED JOB LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION." If the hiring manager's preference is not apparent, focus on the skill that is repeated more than others throughout the ad.

Construct your headline statement based on your professional assessments and the information you have collected about the employer's needs. For example, a medical assistant might use the headline, "Certified Medical Assistant -- Emergency Room." A head doctor or nurse can immediately see that this person has hard skills in terms of education and the soft skills to function in a chaotic emergency room setting.

Place your headline directly under the header, which includes your name and contact information. Format the text in your headline using a bold font and upper and lower case letters. In addition, place a line that separates the header and the headline using the underscore key to make the line or a word processor application to insert a line.

Tips

  • Tailor your overall resume and the headline to the specific employer each time you apply for maximum effectiveness.
  • Add a paragraph below the headline that summarizes your strengths and experience. Create a bulleted list of skills that are an extension of this summary, as well.
 

About the Author

Damarious Page is a financial transcriptionist specializing in corporate quarterly earnings and financial results. Page holds a medical transcription certificate and has participated in an extensive career analysis and outplacement group workshop through Right Management. The West Corporation trained and certified him to handle customer support for home appliance clients.

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