In today's economic environment it is important to keep your resume current and up-to-date -- "ready to go" when you need it. More importantly, your resume needs to "stand out from the crowd" given the fact that most resume reviewers spend less than 20 seconds reviewing a resume -- whether online or hard copy.
One way to help make your resume stand out is to include a compelling Headline. Headlines sell magazines, headlines sell newspapers and a great headline can compel a hiring manager to really give attention to your resume. Since hiring managers don't really read resumes but rather scan them for "fit", a headline can help make your value proposition, your area(s) of specialty and your personal branding elements much more obvious in a quick scan. Your headline can be changed, as needed, depending on the opportunity your are seeking.
There are three components to an highly effective headline:
- A one-line description of your area of expertise (i.e., what you do)
- A personal branding statement (i.e., who you are and what makes you different)
- A single-sentence quote directly from you to the resume reader (i.e., a glimpse of your personality)
A couple of examples of resume headlines follow:
Organizational Change Management Expert
- Fortune 100 Experience
- 5 Years, Top Consulting Firm
- Frequently Requested Speaker
- Co-Author, "The Complexities of Change"
- Stanford University MBA, Top 5%
- Willing to Travel 100%
"I have a passion for working with people and helping them navigate and ultimately embrace the process of organizational change. I thrive in complex and highly challenging situations, and love the management consulting profession."
Wealth Management Specialist
- Wealth Management Practice Leader-5 Years
- Top Sales Person-2008, 2007, 2006
- Fully Licensed and Certified
- Duke Fuqua School MBA
- Financial Planning Expert
"I thrive on building long-term relationships with clients and consistently
exceeding their service delivery expectations. I thoroughly enjoy the process
of helping to enrich the lives of my clients. I love what I do for a living"
Additional Tip: Look for opportunities to use and display your headline in other places to create consistency of message and "gravity" -- in your email signature, prominent in your LinkedIn profile, prominent in your Facebook profile, on the back of your "personal calling card" (used in lieu of your business card), etc.