Headlines for Resumes: 7 Tips To Land More Interviews

Remote Job Hunting

Though headlines for resumes may be short, they pack a serious punch for your remote job search.

Like a catchy title to an article or YouTube video, the best resume headlines entice readers to “click” and learn more about you.

Job seekers need this leg up because there’s no guarantee their resume will actually get read once they apply for a remote job, even if they’re totally qualified for the position. 

Competition for remote roles has never been higher. And applicant tracking systems (ATS) are becoming more prevalent and finely tuned to weed out less than perfect candidates.

So if you’ve been neglecting your resume headlines, you probably aren’t landing as many virtual interviews as you’d like. But that ends today! 

We’ll discuss why headlines for resumes can help sway the hiring odds in your favor and share seven tips to write powerful one-liners that command attention.

Looking for a remote job in 2024? Check out the ultimate guide to landing a remote job in 2024 here.

So What are Headlines for Resumes Exactly?

A resume headline is a brief statement that introduces your best strengths to hiring teams and sums up why you’re a standout candidate.

Some people like to think a resume headline answers the question: What do you do that makes you better suited for the role than all the other applicants? 

To explain that as concisely as possible, a resume headline typically includes:
  • A personally-descriptive adjective (i.e., organized, conscientious, curious, etc.)
  • Your job title
  • Hard/soft skills relevant to the position
  • Your experience, certifications, quantifiable accomplishments, or notable career achievements

Now, you may not use all those components, but they provide a decent template for you to craft a custom, catchy resume headline that shows off your hottest selling points.

Following that template, you can put the pieces together for resume headline examples like:

  • Eager Social Media Marketer with 5+ Years Experience Growing Instagram Traffic by 75%
  • IT Manager Spearheading a 99% Early Deadline Achievement Rate for 3+ Years
  • Honor-Roll Student Nominated for UI/UX Design Fellowship

So, where does a headline go on your resume? 

Somewhere at the top, depending on your resume template or format. It should sit under your name, so it’s the first thing hiring teams see.

Then your resume objective, summary, personal branding statement, or bullet list of skills goes right below your headline to drive home your takeaway message.

3 Ways Good Headlines for Resumes Level Up Your Remote Job Search 👍

It’s worth spending time on your resume headlines because the right one can help:

Convince the ATS You’re a Keeper

As we mentioned earlier, all the top remote companies hiring use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to keep track of the candidates they receive. 

It’s estimated that over 250 people apply for every job post [*]. Since hiring managers can’t physically read all those applications, they program ATS with specific filters to separate best-fit candidates from those lacking certain criteria.

ATS scans your resume for keywords related to the job. If it finds matching keywords in your resume, you’ll move on to the next round (a human resume reader!). 

If ATS doesn’t find those keywords, you’ll be considered a poor match. Then your resume will disappear into the matrix where hiring eyes won’t ever see it.

Data crunchers say ATS may reject up to 75% of applicants, so it’s vital to sweet talk these robots with all the right keywords. Your headline makes an ideal spot to include the most important ones.

💪Score a few tips on how to beat applicant tracking systems here!

Make an Unforgettable First Impression 

Let’s say your resume makes it past the ATS (woo!). One of the hardest parts of landing a remote job is standing out from the stiff competition. 

Eye-tracking studies show people only spend seven seconds skimming a resume before deciding to continue or bounce [*]. So what will convince someone to read your career history and qualifications?

A catchy one-liner resume headline that describes what you bring to the table and why it’s in the company’s best interest to take notice.

Create a witty, informative, memorable headline, and you’ll quickly get readers excited to read your resume and learn why you’re ideal for the role. It primes them to pay attention to your expertise, credentials, and how you’re uniquely qualified to add value.

Bonus: If your snappy headline impresses and intrigues someone in hiring, they’ll know exactly how to describe and recommend you to other decision-makers.

So consider your resume headlines like an elevator pitch that shows off your personal brand.

Highlight Your Value, Relative To Your Experience

A resume headline can help focus a career history with lots of experience, education, or twists and turns.

If you have years of experience, your resume is probably on the longer side. A headline condenses all your history into one insightful summary that succinctly explains why you’re primed for the role.

Trying to land a remote job with no experience? No problem! A resume headline describing your personal attributes, skills, extracurricular experience, and achievements can be just as enticing. Show teams why they should take a chance on you. 

Have you been job hopping as a remote worker? Changing careers or switching industries? You can use your resume headline to spotlight your transferable skills from different roles and why you can tackle the position you’re pursuing.

So now that you know what’s at stake, let’s talk about how to write headlines for resumes that capture all the right attention and win hiring teams to your side.

How To Write Catchy Headlines for Resumes (with examples)

Resume headlines should be personal, informative, memorable, and roll off the tongue. Aim for easy-to-read, action-packed words and quantifiable data. 

Save and use these 7 tips to craft the most compelling headlines for resumes:

1. Format Your Resume Headline Like a Pro

Place your resume headline at the top of your resume, just under your full name and/or contact information. It should sit right above your resume summary, personal statement, or bullet list of skills.

[image source: ResumeGenius]

Depending on your resume layout or resume template, you may want to make your resume headline a font size or two larger to really pop. You can also use a resume builder like CVStep that will suggest you exactly how and where to add the headline.

Use title case to capitalize the words in your resume heading, just like the title of an article, to make it stand out. The first word, nouns, verbs, and adjectives should be capitalized in upper case. Plug your headline into a tool like Capitalize My Title to automatically get your title case right. 

2. Keep It As Short As Possible

A resume headline should fit on one line. Go for one brief yet impactful phrase, like a 10-second elevator pitch when read out loud. It doesn’t even need to be a complete sentence. 

Anything longer than a concise one-liner turns into your resume objective, summary, or personal branding statement. 

3. Use the Best Job-Related Keywords From the Listing

Psst! Hiring teams tell you exactly what they’re looking for in their job ads. All you have to do is learn how to decode the secret language of remote job descriptions to find the exact words the ATS will be scanning for.

Matching keywords from the job listing to your resume tells ATS you have the goods they’re seeking.

So copy/paste the job listing into a blank document, and highlight all the essential keywords you find (that you actually have). These may include:

  • Skills and qualifications
  • Experience, education, certifications, proficiencies, etc.
  • Personal attributes (punctual, organized, multilingual, etc.)

Add the most essential keywords to your resume headline (and sprinkle the remaining ones everywhere else). Always include the job title in your resume headline.

4. Quantify Accomplishments and Years of Experience

Anyone can tell hiring teams what makes them special. Adding quantifiable data shows them why you’re a catch.

Numbers put your accomplishments and expertise into perspective. You can see how these headlines let numbers do most of the heavy lifting:

  • Multilingual Member Success Manager Overseeing 15 B2B Clients and 50 Direct Reports with a Focus On Retention
  • Digital Marketer Who Exceeded $7 Million in B2C Software Sales in 2021
  • Cybersecurity Expert Thwarting 10k High-Level Attacks Per Month

So think about how long you’ve been in the game, the number of people you manage, revenue goals you exceeded, and other impressive metrics relevant to the position you want.

5. Highlight Notable Achievements and Certifications

Have you won any impressive awards, nominations, or scholarships? Reach a coveted, high-profile status in your industry? Add them to your headline!

The same goes for certifications, licenses, and technical proficiencies. If the job listing says these are required, make them part of your headline.

A few examples here include:

  • Award-Winning Video Editor Skilled in Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Fast Turnarounds
  • Veteran Awarded for Leadership and Advanced White Hat Hacking Skills
  • Twice Published Machine Learning and Data Mining Pioneer
  • Senior Software Engineer with Experience Building Scalable Ruby on Rails and React Apps, Schemas Within MySQL, and Working in AWS
  • Future of Tech Scholarship Winner and Summa Cum Laude Graduate with Experience Shipping Mobile Apps

See how adding a few prime keywords in your headline instantly makes you more qualified in the virtual eyes of ATS?

6. Cut the Cliches 

Cliches are so boring and say nothing about why you’re the right fit for the role. They make you blend in rather than stand out. And they may even get a hiring manager to roll their eyes, which is never a good sign.

Anyone can be a “dedicated,” “highly skilled,” “hard worker” and “good communicator.” So why do these cliches say you’re better? Short answer: they don’t.

Ditch the cliches in favor of The Best Skills To Put On a Resume To Land Your Dream Remote Job.

7. Don’t Settle On the First Headline You Write

Just like you should tailor your resume to each remote job, you should also write a new headline for each resume. This allows you to laser-focus your elevator pitch relevant to each company’s job listing and requirements. 

But don’t just stop at the first headline you brainstorm. 

Try to come up with at least five different versions during your resume writing session. Change up the combination of keywords you use to see what sounds best. You can even ask a trusted friend to choose the most compelling version.

This focus shows hiring teams that you’re not just blasting off hundreds of generic resumes to any job listing matching your title. You’re taking the time to put in extra effort because you’re serious about working for their company and snagging this role. 

When in Doubt, Remember This Handy Resume Headline Generator Formula 📝

If you want to keep a resume headline cheatsheet near your computer during your remote job search, use this formula:

Personal adjective + job title + years of experience / quantifiable accomplishment / skills / certifications from job listing

Just plug in your specific keywords, and you’ll be one step closer to an attention-grabbing resume that lands more interviews.

So What Will Your New Resume Headlines Say? 

Kudos, you’re now an expert in writing headlines for resumes! Acing this section of your resume is one of the best ways to strengthen your remote job search.

Now it’s time to put your training into practice. 

Spruce up your current resume with a few new headline options. Or browse new remote roles on We Work Remotely, and try your hand at crafting compelling, keyword-rich headlines that push your resume to the top of the interview stack. 

We know you have what it takes to stand out! 💎

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