Capture recruiters' attention in mere seconds!
Looking for your next dream job? Polishing your CV is half the battle. When you're writing this document, you need to make it stand out from the crowd. The moment you hit "send" on your email, you're competing with a whole bunch of other applicants. So, how can you give yourself the competitive edge and land that all-important interview? Writing an effective CV headline is a savvy place to start. If you don't know how to do that, you've come to the right place. Check out our quick guide here.
What is a CV headline?
Recruiters spend a matter of seconds looking at your CV, so grabbing their attention fast is vital. Much like a news headline stops the reader in their tracks, your CV headline should turn heads. Put simply, this is a short line that describes what you bring to the table as a professional.
Words matter. You don't want to cram in a load of filler here. Instead, choose your words wisely and make sure that your CV headline gives an accurate description of your professional skills and relevant experience. The idea is that a recruiter can skim the top of your application and instantly see whether you fit the bill.
CV headline examples by industry
The simplest way to get to grips with CV headlines is to take a look at some examples. Here are some listed by popular industries:
Deadline-driven Administrator with an in-depth knowledge of quality control
Administration professional with seven years' experience in controlling expenses
Solutions-focused customer services professional with retail experience
Passionate customer service advisor with 99% satisfaction rate
Analytical Data Scientist with over ten years of experience
Experienced Data Scientist with a background in a FTSE 100 company
Experienced Talent Acquisition Manager with an eye for prime candidates
Wellbeing Support Worker with seven years' experience in mental health
Highly organised Office Manager with experience overseeing 30+ workplaces
Retail Manager able to build high-performing teams
Results-driven Marketer with knowledge of Google and Facebook adverts
Creative Copywriter with a flair for wit and a reputation for engaging copy
Goal-orientated Sales Executive who consistently exceeds targets
Award-winning sales professional with expertise in insurance
Recent graduate with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Marketing plus copywriting experience
Dedicated Business student with a willingness to learn and gain experience
How to write a CV headline
Now that you've seen some CV headline examples, let's dive into some tips that will help you to write the one-liner. Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!), be sure to take a look at our advice.
1. Use the right keywords
Keywords in your CV headline are likely going to be your core skills, transferable skills, and the position title. The keywords you use will very much depend on your profession. For example, if you're going for a marketing job, you might include "copywriting" or "B2B/B2C" in your CV headline.
On the other hand, if you are going for an admin role, you may use the phrases "processing expenses" or "quality control." You can quickly and easily find the right keywords for your industry by Googling "CV keywords" and your job title.
Using these keywords works two-fold. First of all, these are the phrases that hiring managers are likely to be looking for. That means that your CV will catch their eye. The second way this works is that it may help your CV to rank well if it's scanned into applicant tracking software - a programme that scans CVs for specific words like hard skills and job titles.
2. Avoid flowery language
Sure, you might think you're "an absolute whziz at Excel" or "have a knack for spreadsheets," but find a quicker way to get to the point. You don't want to waste words unnecessarily. Often enough, flowery language detracts from your skill sets, rather than accentuating them.
Similarly, you should steer clear of any hyperbole. Saying that you're the "best Marketer in the North of England" is quite the claim, especially if you don't have any evidence to back it up. Stick to the facts. Ensure that you convey your distinctive skills as quickly and concisely as you can. It could make a real difference.
3. Tailor your headline each time
When you're searching for a new job, it may be tempting to use the same CV for every role. However, to boost your chances of success you should tweak this document according to each job posting. Tailoring your CV headline to the role at hand is one of the swiftest ways you can improve your application.
Quick hack: Take a look at the job posting and highlight some specific words and phrases. You can integrate these into your CV headline in a matter of moments. When the recruiter sees that your headline closely matches the target job advert, your application is sure to go to the top of the interview pile.
4. Support your claims
Evidence is everything. Whenever you make a claim in your CV headline, you should back it up. For example, instead of saying you have a "high satisfaction rate," you should quantify that with a percentage. You can say that you have a "99% satisfaction rate" instead. Backing up your claims means that a recruiter is more likely to trust what you're saying in your headline.
5. Position your headline well
Your CV headline should be one of the first things that recruiters see when they look at your application. That means that you need to position it well. Make sure that it sits at the top of the page in bold or large font. You should ensure that there is plenty of white space around this statement, so that it's easy to read.
Additionally, you may want to use other design features to draw attention to this single line. Many people write their CV title in italics or use color to draw attention to this text. When done correctly, your CV text style will support your claim to be the perfect match - not detract from your message.
Take the plunge
Including a CV headline on your application is a quick way to show off your skills to recruiters. Now that you've read our guide, you should have a good understanding about how to get this line right. Why not give it a go for yourself? Start by drafting a few headlines and see which fit you best as a professional.
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Do creative job titles help me stand out ‒ or hurt my chances?