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What is a resume headline? The easiest way of visualizing the answer is by thinking of a newspaper or a magazine article. The headline grabs your attention and entices you to read further. A headline on your resume works much the same way. A headline, as opposed to an objective, focuses on what you can do for an employer. Keep in mind that your resume is your advertising and marketing strategy. Replacing the objective with a headline followed by an attention-grabbing qualification summary is a powerful one-two punch that will captivate the employer's attention and lure them into reading the rest.
For example, MaryEllen here has written a headline and she has put at the very, very top "Versatile and dynamic Technical Trainer, Writer and Author" and should be either in bold or italic, so it stands out. And it's going to be the first thing that they've read. You what to make sure that it's written well, it's professional looking and that it certainly grabs their attention. So how do you create your own headline? Like with all sections of your resume, it all begins with research and doing a little homework.
Begin by researching your targeted industry and career objective. You need to research the employer, your targeted job, and find your keywords in order to write a knockout headline. If you have any questions on this, see the chapter on gathering and organizing the facts. Next, conduct research on you. What are your most prominent personal characteristics? Write down things such as what are your greatest strengths, your greatest personal attributes. What have past employers said about you in evaluations? What did you score highest in during evaluations or performance reviews.
If some of this is starting to sound familiar, that's probably because a lot of these questions are asked during interviews, such as what is your greatest strengths and what are your strongest personal attributes? Some other things that you might consider is asking your family and friends what they think are some of your strongest personal traits. Write these down as well. If you hear the same things over and over, these characteristics are more than likely your most dominant positive personal traits. Ask yourself, where do you exceed more than others in your field? What makes you stand out from the crowd? Look closely at the job objective of the position you're applying for.
What are they looking for? What do they need? What skills do you have to offer that will most fit those needs. Match your skills with the requirements for that particular job. Now, let's look at a real example of how you would go about creating a knockout headline targeted towards a particular position. Here is a job description taken off of monster.com for a senior graphic designer. Now, if I scroll down and look at the qualifications for this particular position, I can see it says we must be creative while remaining on strategy on time and within budget.
We also have to maintain deadlines and project goals assigned on a day-to-day basis. The Experience/Skill section here says that it requires five years of corporate creative group, agency, or firm experience. They also prefer a four-year B.F.A. with graphic design concentration, and they also underneath of Experience/Skills, say they need Adobe Creative Suite, which includes InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and Flash. The things that are highlighted here underneath of the Qualifications and Experience/Skills section, for this particular person reflects their most prominent traits and what they're best at.
An example headline for this particular position based on these personal characteristics and experience, while remaining focused and target on the employer might look like this. "Senior graphics designer with eight years of experience and expert in Adobe Creative Suite capable of pushing the limits creatively in fast-paced, deadline-oriented environments." Need another example of a great headline? Here is another example. Let's say that you're an internet marketing manager. You could say, "Highly qualified internet marketing manager offering ten years experience with a proven track record of developing Internet business plans and strategies." Remember, you need to position your headline at the top, underneath of your contact information.
Your headline is just like a headline of an advertisement, located above all the other information, and meant to grab your attention. Your headline should be a single self-defining sentence centered under your contact information, and remember, it's usually in bold or italic font style. Don't expect to get the perfect headline right off the bat. Try all different combinations until you find just the right combination of words. And don't forget to follow your knockout headline with a catch-em-and-real-em-in qualification summary.
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