Landing your dream job doesn’t happen by accident. If you’re in the market for a new role, you need to give yourself the competitive edge. Luckily, there’s a quick solution.
Writing a compelling CV headline gives you the opportunity to pique recruiters’ interest. It’s a short snippet that hits on the main reasons you are the perfect candidate.
Getting your CV headline right takes practice. You need to consider what it is that makes you unique and concisely convey that. Weaving your skills, awards, and experience into a catchy one-liner isn’t easy. Don’t panic. Within this blog, we will take a look at the following topics:
- What is a CV headline and why does it matter when applying for jobs?
- How to write a CV headline that will ‘wow’ potential employers
- 35 effective CV headline examples you can use as inspiration
Perfecting your CV headline will take you one step closer to career success. While you may never have thought about it before, these snippets are becoming more popular. Thanks to this guide, you will have an in-depth understanding of how to get yours right.
CV headlines vs. CV titles
To be clear, CV headlines and CV titles are not the same.
Before you delve into how to write a CV headline, it’s worth getting up to speed on the terms here. While CV headlines and CV titles sound similar, there are key differences of which you should be aware. Let’s quickly break it down:
The CV title sits neatly at the top of the page. It’s usually no more than a few words long and simply describes you as a professional.
Often enough, the title is the same as some of your previous job positions. For example, your CV title may be ‘SEO Specialist’ or ‘SEO Expert’. No more, no less.
Next up, your CV headline is your time to shine. Much like an elevator pitch, this short sentence helps you sell yourself to recruiters in double-time. Chances are, it will include the same words as the CV title but include more detail.
You may want to include how much experience you have, any awards you’ve won, or additional training you’ve taken. For instance, your CV headline may be “SEO Specialist with 7+ Years of Experience Working for Google.”
Why does a CV headline matter anyway?
Now that you know what a CV headline is, you may be wondering why it matters. Not every applicant will include this sentence on their CV. So, why should you bother?
The job market competition is tough. On average, 118 candidates apply for each new job posting. If you want to make sure that you land an interview, you need to stand out. The CV headline helps you do just that. The line tells a recruiter everything they need to know about you and what you bring to the figurative table.
The CV headline also helps you get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). With 75% of recruiters and hiring managers now using this software, that matters. The software scans CVs for specific keywords, filtering out applications that don’t include them.
Here’s the smart part: When writing your CV header, you can include keywords that the ATS is likely looking for. By tailoring this part of your application to the job posting, you stand a better chance of flying past the software and landing on the hiring manager’s desk.
Don't forget to use ATS-friendly fonts like Arial or Times New Roman in your header.
How to write an interview-winning CV headline
Ready to get typing? Creating an interview-winning CV headline doesn’t have to be difficult. Nobody knows your professional experience quite as well as you do.
However, if you’ve got a case of writer’s block, we’ve got you covered. Fortunately enough, there’s a winning formula you can use to make your CV headline:
Powerful Adjective + CV Title + Your Experience Level + Training/Awards/Skills
Of course, you can mix up the above formula — including or leaving out certain parts. However, it works as a guide to help you get started. Putting on spotlight on the above information should help you give recruiters a sneak peek of your experience.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Recruiters spend an average of seven seconds looking at CVs. The words you use in your headline matter. Use powerful terminology to make your application stand out from the crowd.
Adjectives to consider include ‘determined’, ‘experienced’, ‘diplomatic’, ‘dedicated’, and ‘enthusiastic’. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet.
While the formula will help you structure your CV headline, you will also need some tips to perfect this art. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Don’t waste your words
CV space is valuable. Your CV headline should be short and punchy. Aim for between six and nine words as a golden rule. Get to the point. You can write a longer description of yourself and your experience in your CV personal statement or profile.
Pinpoint your unique selling point (USP)
What is it that makes you perfect for this job? When you’re writing your CV headline, you need to consider what your USP is. Take a moment to think about what experience, training, or awards you have that other candidates may not.
Put your CV headline front and centre
Your CV headline is a quick introduction to your application. It should be one of the first things that a recruiter sees. Where you put it matters more than you may realise. You need to place it below your first and second name on the CV.
Write a selection of headlines and pick one
You might think that you will get this right straight off the bat. That could happen. However, you want to put the odds in your favour. The more options you have, the better chance you have of selecting the perfect one. Put pen to paper and get moving.
Tailor your CV headline to each job
Taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach is a mistake. Yes, it might save you time but it’s less likely to land you an interview. Whenever you’re applying for a new job, take a look at your CV headline. Does it match the criteria mentioned in the job posting? Can you tweak it to include the same words? These changes could help your CV get past the ATS.
35 CV headline examples to use as inspiration
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular CV title examples for any job out there. Here are 35 options that will give you a taste of what works:
- Qualified Teaching Assistant with More Than 5 Years of Experience
- Anthropology Graduate with Internship Experience at Museums
- Experienced Content Writer with In-Depth SEO Training
- Sales Associate with a Proven Track Record of Beating Targets
- Diplomatic Manager with Human Resources Training
- Store Team Leader with Experience Managing 10+ Staff
- Graphic Designer Skilled in Creating Websites and Print Media
- Data Analyst with Knowledge of the Marketing Analytics Field
- Office Manager and Winner of HR Shooting Star Award
- Legal Professional with More Than 10 Years of Experience
- Multilingual Support Worker, Fluent in French and Spanish
- Sales Manager with Experience in Boosting Revenue by 20%
- Seasoned English Teacher with Knowledge of Sign Language
- E-Commerce Developer Who Previously Worked for Amazon
- Hard-Working Computer Technician with Cybersecurity Training
- Enthusiastic Dance Teacher Qualified in Zumba and Contemporary
- Qualified Veterinary Nurse Specialising in Surgery Aftercare
- High-Energy Retail Clerk with Excellent Intrapersonal Skills
- Approachable Account Executive with 90% Client Satisfaction Rate
- Detail-Oriented Accountant with Additional Finance Training
- Business Development Manager with Exemplary Track Record
- Diligent Construction Worker with More than 7 Years of Experience
- Marine Biologist with Knowledge of Establishing Species Inventories
- Nursery School Teacher with SEN Training
- Computer Science Graduate with Internship Experience at Top Firm
- Senior Social Worker Specialising in Child Protection
- Marketing Manager with Knowledge of Google Ads and SEO
- Pub Manager and Winner of Landlord of the Year 2018
- Senior Lecturer in Physics with 10 Plus Years of Research Experience
- Operations Manager with Working Knowledge of CRM Systems
- Administrative Assistant with 100 WPM Typing and Shorthand
- Full Stack Developer with Mastery of HTML and CSS
- English Language Teacher with TEFL Qualification and 5 Years of Experience
- Dedicated Handyman with Experience in Carpentry and Odd Jobs
- Copywriter Specialising in Google AdWords and Online Content
While you may not want to copy one of these CV headline examples word-for-word, they should give you some inspiration. Why not take a shot at writing your own now?
- Recruiters spend a matter of seconds deciding whether to progress a candidate’s application or pass on it.
- Writing an attractive and explanatory CV headline will increase your chances of catching recruiters’ attention.
- You can include specific keywords in your CV headline to help your application get past the ATS software.
- For the best results, you should keep your writing short and punchy. Pick out the most relevant information and showcase it.
- Have a look at our CV templates and CV examples and get inspired to write your own punchy headline!