The perfect resume title (also referred to as a resume headline) could make the perfect first impression. It will resonate and set you apart from the competition.
A resume title or headline is a short statement on your resume that includes some core skills or achievements. Your resume title should be a short introduction of your professional self. Usually used to headline the resume summary, it is a condensed one-liner that sums up who you are and where you’ve succeeded.
It would usually be centered and located above your resume summary.
The goal of a resume headline is to sum up your skills and experience into a short phrase that will stand out and show the potential employer exactly what you have to offer.
It also allows you to list relevant or required certification and licenses. This quickly tells the employer that you’re qualified for the position.
Okay, you get it, your resume title is super important. When it comes to formatting, we highly suggest using something similar to our example above. But, what about the wording?
Here are a bunch of examples of effective resume titles, organized by industry:
The resume title is really important for two reasons.
The average hiring manager spends about six seconds scanning your resume. The best way to control what they see is to lay out your resume correctly. This means using resume headers and sections correctly. No header is more important than the very first one.
To put it bluntly, if the hiring manager loves the title, it’s way more likely they will read on. If the title blends in with the crowd, the resume will be tossed into the crowd.
Just look at the following two headers.
This is a very well-constructed resume title with awesome keyword usage that really sends a strong message:
Compare the above example with this, a lazy and short resume title that does nothing more than simply name a previous title:
As you can see, it’s possible to be short and concise while still conveying a robust message. By simply putting the name of a single position, you are limiting yourself in the scope of employment opportunities you can seek out. Remember, the job market is ever-changing. You want to present yourself as dynamic and multi-talented. By introducing
Remember, the job market is ever-changing. You want to present yourself as dynamic and multi-talented. By introducing yourself as a professional with a larger scope of expertise, you will open countless more doors.
Due to the huge number of applicants in the modern job market, the vast majority of companies use ATS to scan resumes before they reach a hiring manager.
Applicant tracking systems scan for keywords, often parsing a resume using its headers. Since ATS is so prevalent these days, it’s incredibly important to tailor your resume to pass the systems.
That’s where your awesome resume title will help you. If formatted correctly, the ATS will be able to read your headers and present your relevant keywords to the hiring manager. Which brings us to the next key point.
Using keywords effectively in your resume title will hugely increase your chances of landing an interview. Let’s take another look at the awesome resume header we saw above:
This time, think about all the keywords present in this resume title. As you may have guessed, the words used in the title should always match the words used in the job description. This title would be great for multiple job descriptions from “Full stack web developer” to “project manager”.
If you plan on sending out dozens of quick-fire applications, this is your best bet.
However, if you are targeting a very specific listing, you want to change your approach slightly.
Instead of including an array of words that may fit the array of opportunities you are seeking, scan the job listing and change your resume title accordingly. If the listing puts a big emphasis on project management, be sure to add that to the title. If it focuses on communication, put that up there.
You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you didn’t tailor your resume to pass the applicant tracking system.
(We wrote an awesome article on how to get your resume past an applicant tracking system here).
Your resume title will be the thing that first catches the hiring manager’s eye. So, make sure it’s amazing! Follow our basic principles, take a look at some of the examples and you should have a great idea of what it takes to really stand out.
We also offer a free resume review to make sure your resume is spot-on!