Despite the popular saying that you should never judge a book by the cover, we know that most of us rarely follow the wisdom contained in this adage. We all judge books by their cover, and particularly, by their title.

If I gave you a book without a title, would you read it? Probably not, because you don’t know what to expect from the book. The same thing applies if I gave you a book with a boring title. You would probably not read it, because the assumption is that the book is boring as well.

While most of us are aware that people actually judge books by their covers and titles, we quickly forget this when it comes to sending out job applications, and in particular, our resumes.

Just like you look at the title of a book to determine whether to read it or not, recruiters and hiring managers look at the title of your resume to determine whether you are the kind of employee they are looking for, and whether they should read your resume or not.

According to a 2018 study by Ladders Inc., recruiters take about 7.4 seconds on average to determine whether your resume is worth their time or not. Realistically, it is not possible to read an entire resume in 7 seconds.

This means that recruiters only look at a few elements to determine whether to give your resume a second look. One of these elements is the resume title.

This means that if you want recruiters to stick to your resume long enough to see your amazing skills and stellar accomplishments, you need to include an attention grabbing resume title that quickly entices them to delve deeper into your resume.

In this article, I am going to give you some amazing tips on how to add an attention grabbing title to your resume.

WHAT IS A RESUME TITLE

A resume title, sometimes referred to as a resume headline, is a short line, usually just a few words, that presents your value as a job candidate.

It quickly presents your identity as a professional and helps the recruiter to determine within a few seconds whether you are the kind of person they are looking for.

The resume title also encourages the recruiter to keep reading your resume so that they can learn more about you and what you can do for their organization.

Resume title. Source: Cleverism.com

The resume title typically appears just under your name, and is therefore one of the first things a recruiter sees when they look at your resume. This shows how important it is.

The resume title is what gives the recruiter a first impression of your resume. The rest of their interaction with your resume will be influenced by the kind of perception they have formed about you from reading your resume title.

This means that if you have a strong resume title, the recruiter will be eager to know more about you and your qualifications and strengths. On the other hand, if you have a boring resume title, there is a chance that the recruiter will trash your resume without bothering to find out if you actually meet the requirements they are looking for.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are a hiring manager responsible for finding and hiring a videographer for your organization.

Since morning, you have gone through hundreds of resumes from interested candidates, and you have a couple dozen more sitting in your inbox. By the end of the day, you need to have gone through them all and created a shortlist of just 10 candidates who are suitable for the position.

Knowing that time is running short, and tired from looking at resumes all day, you click on the next resume in your inbox. The resume title reads “Professional Videographer.” Argh! You have seen a hundred resumes with such a title. Of course, you are looking for a professional videographer, but over the course of the day, you have realized that everyone is calling themselves a professional videographer, even when all they have done is watch a couple videos about videography on YouTube and have never worked as a videographer before. Without thinking, you quickly hit the delete button.

You click on the next resume in your list. The title on this resume reads “Two-Time AVA Award-Winning Videographer.” You sit upright in your chair. If this videographer has won the AVA Digital Awards, not once, but twice, this means that they are the real deal. This person is an actual professional who knows what they are doing. You go deeper into their resume and realize that they have 5 years’ experience in videography, and that they have worked with a lot of big name companies, including National Geographic. You click the link to their online portfolio, and their work leaves you wowed. Bingo! You add another name to your shortlist, with an asterisk next to it to say that you need to pay more attention to this candidate.

This is exactly what happens when recruiters are evaluating resumes. Our award winning candidate is a very talented videographer, but if she had used a boring title for her resume, it would have probably been discarded without being read. However, by making that small tweak, they made sure that their resume would grab the recruiter’s attention.

Similarly, you should not use a vague title for your resume. When sending your job application, your aim is to try as much as possible to stand out from the dozens, and sometimes hundreds of other applicants. If you use the kind of resume titles that everyone is using, such as Sales Executive, Graphic Designer, Digital Marketer, Architect, and so on, you are not making any attempt to stand out from the crowd.

To distinguish yourself from the competition, you need to find a way to add some spark to your resume title. Instead of simply saying that you are a Sales Executive, say that you are a “Sales Executive with a Track Record of Exceeding Sales Targets.” Instead of Graphic Designer, say that you are an “Award Winning Graphic Designer.” Instead of Digital Marketer, say that you are a “Digital Marker With Over $20 Million in Sales.” Instead of Architect, say you are a “LEED Certified Architect with a Focus on Eco-Friendly Design.”

Such titles will give a huge boost to your resume title. The question is, how do you go about creating such attention grabbing titles for your resume. Below, let’s take a look at some tips on how to create amazing titles for your resume.

Highlight Your Value

The aim of the resume title is to quickly show recruiters that you would be a great hire, and what better way to do that than by highlighting your value? Let your resume title highlight the benefit your prospective employer will get when they hire you. Show that you are actually good in your job.

For instance, if you say that you are a Chartered Financial Analyst, you haven’t done much to show what value you are bringing to your prospective employer. On the other hand, if you say that you are a “CFA Who Has Saved Over $30 Million For Clients,” it is immediately clear to the hiring manager what value you are bringing to the table. This will definitely increase the likelihood of the rest of your resume getting read.

Highlight Your Extensive Experience

In some cases, you will notice that an employer is looking for candidates with a certain amount of experience.

If you have the level of experience they are looking for, don’t wait for them to find out by reading through the two pages of your resume. Instead, make it clear on your resume title that you have the necessary experience.

This saves time for the recruiter and helps them to quickly determine that you have what they are looking for. Therefore, instead of writing “Business Analyst,” write “Business Analyst With 5+ Years Of Experience.”

Turn Your Resume Title Into A Pitch

Another great way to create an attention grabbing title for your resume is to turn your title into an elevator pitch. How do you do this? By answering the question “what do you do?” in a manner that is meant to sell yourself.

For instance, if I met you and asked what you do, you could either say that you are a “Project Manager,” or you could say that you are a “Project Manager Who Beats Deadlines by 10%.” Which of these sounds like an elevator pitch? The second one of course. This is what you should use in your resume title.

Highlight Quantifiable Data Or An Achievement

Employers want to hire someone who has a proven track record. If you can show your track record in your resume title, this will definitely catch the attention of the hiring manager and entice them to read the rest of the resume.

Your proven track record can be anything that is relevant to the employer and the position you are applying for.

It could be your years of experience, amount of dollars made in sales, number of people managed, certifications and licenses you have attained, awards you have won, a demonstration of some special skills you possess, amount of money saved, or other data about your past performance. A good example of such a resume title is “Two-Time AVA Award-Winning Videographer,” which uses a professional achievement to grab the recruiter’s attention.

Use Keywords From The Job Description

Nowadays, most recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen job candidates. This means that your resume might be getting eliminated even before being seen by a recruiter or hiring manager. If you want your resume to impress the recruiter and earn you an invitation to the job interview, you need to first make sure that the resume goes past the ATS.

Typically, Applicant Tracking Systems use keywords to screen resumes and decide which ones to allow and which ones to reject.

Therefore, a good way to make sure that your resume goes past the ATS is to use the relevant keywords in your resume title. You can find the relevant keywords by carefully going through the job description and identifying the keywords used to explain what the employer is looking for.

Keep Your Resume Title Short

While you want your resume title to help your resume stand out from the pool of other resumes, it is still important to keep your resume title short.

Like I mentioned earlier, recruiters and hiring managers usually have lots of resumes to go through, and by making your resume title too long, you are making their work harder for them.

There is a chance that they will not read the whole resume title, which means you won’t have delivered the information you intended to. To avoid this, always keep your resume title short. Just a couple of words are enough. Don’t allow it to extend beyond 1 line.

Use Concrete Language And Information

How many times have you seen people using words like “creative” or “hardworking” to describe themselves in their resumes? While employers definitely want someone who is hardworking or creative, the problem is that anyone can claim to be any of these things, even if they are not.

As a result, recruiters have learnt to ignore such words. Therefore, you need to avoid them. When writing your resume title, describe yourself using concrete information that you can actually prove.

For instance, if you say that you are a “Digital Marker With Over $20 Million in Sales,” this is concrete information that you can actually provide proof for. However, if you say that you are a “Hardworking Digital Marketer,” no one is going to take you seriously.

Use A New Resume Title For Each Job

If you have one resume that you send out with every job application, it is time to rethink your strategy.

Remember, different employers are looking for different things, and therefore, you need to tailor your resume title to match the needs of the organization you are applying to.

For instance, if one employer is focused on finding an employee with certain years of experience, you might want to change your resume headline to highlight your level of experience.

If another is more interested in candidates with certain certifications, you should change your resume title to highlight this certification. Sure, this will require some extra effort from you, but it will greatly increase the effectiveness of your resume.

Make Sure The Resume Title Stands Out Visually

The aim of the resume title is to grab the recruiter’s attention, and therefore, in addition to using the right copy for the title, you also need to make sure that the title is also visually eye-catching.

There are several ways of doing this. First, you should write it in title case (first letter of each word capitalized).

The resume title should also be written in bold, and in a larger font size compared to the rest of the resume. This helps draw the reader’s eye to the resume title, allowing you to communicate your value in a matter of seconds.

EXAMPLES OF ATTENTION GRABBING RESUME TITLES

Below are a few examples of some attention grabbing resume titles, organized by industry, to make it easier for you to create your own.

Sales

  • Sales Executive with a Track Record of Exceeding Sales Targets
  • Customer Service Executive With Extensive Experience In IT Industry
  • Top Ranking Sales Representative With 10+ Years’ Experience
  • Best Performing Regional Sales Manager
  • Sales Representative With Over $20 Million In Sales

Arts

  • Two-Time AVA Award-Winning Videographer
  • Graphic Designer With 7+ Years Of Experience
  • Award Winning Photographer Who Has Worked With National Geographic
  • Senior Video Editor With Videos Attracting Over 500 Million Views On YouTube

Technology

  • Certified Scrum Master With 5 Years Of Experience
  • Senior Data Engineer With Extensive Knowledge In Hadoop And SQL
  • Salesforce Developer Who Has Implemented Over 3000 Salesforce Licenses
  • CompTIA A+ Certified Technical Support Engineer

Finance

  • CPA Certified Auditor With 10+ Years
  • Asset Manager With Extensive Experience In Commercial Real Estate
  • CFA With 3+ Years’ Experience At McKinsey

Engineering

  • Experienced Civil Engineer With Proven Track Record
  • Automotive Engineer With 5+ Years’ Experience At Tesla
  • Highly Experienced Mechatronics Engineer With Robotics Expertise

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID

To create highly effective, attention grabbing titles for your resume, you also need to be aware of some of the common mistakes that you need to avoid. Some common mistakes when crafting titles for your resume include:

Talking About Your Objectives

When writing your resume title, you might be tempted to mention your goals as a job seeker in your resume headline.

This is particularly common when you don’t have a good achievement or quantifiable data to include in your resume title. The problem with talking about your goals, however, is that it does not provide any value to your potential employer.

It only talks about your needs, without focusing on what you are bringing to the table. For instance, if your resume title says “Graduate Financial Analyst Seeking Entry Level Position,” you are only talking about your needs.

You have given the potential employer no reason to hire you. Instead of talking about your objectives, keep the focus of your resume title on your skills, experience, and strengths.

Stretching The Truth

I know that you really need that job, and therefore, I understand the temptation to stretch the truth a little bit in order to get the recruiter to read your resume.

For instance, if the employer is looking for people with 5 years of experience, and you just have 3 years’ experience, you might be tempted to lie about it and mention that you have 5 years’ experience in your resume title. Alternatively, you could be tempted to include some quantifiable data that is not entirely true.

For instance, you might want to say that you drove sales worth $1 million, when in reality, your numbers were nowhere near that.

The problem with lying is that somewhere down the line, your lie will catch up with you. For instance, the hiring manager might follow up with your former employer, only to find that your sales were just worth $400,000, which is nowhere near your claim.

If your lie is discovered, not only will you not get the job, you will also have wasted your time and created a bad reputation for yourself.

Not Customizing Your Resume Title To The Job

Customizing your resume title for every application can be tiring, and therefore, a lot of people simply create one version of their resume and use it in all applications.

However, if you want your resume to be effective, you should tailor the title of your resume to each job you are applying for.

Doing so will allow you to align the focus of your resume title to what the recruiter is looking for. In addition, tailoring your resume title to each job application will increase the chances of your resume getting past the ATS.

WRAPPING UP

Just like a good title will entice you to read a book, a well written, attention grabbing resume title will pique a hiring manager’s interest and get them to read the rest of your resume, giving you a chance to then wow them with your extensive experience in the field, your exemplary skills, your amazing achievements and accomplishments, and your qualifications.

In this article, I have shared with you amazing tips that will help you come up with a great title for your resume, depending on the position you are applying for.

These include highlighting your value, highlighting your experience, turning your resume title into a pitch, highlighting quantifiable data or an achievement, using keywords from the job description, keeping it short, using concrete language and information, using a new resume title for each job, and making sure that your resume title stands out visually.

Apply these tips in your resume and I promise you that your resume will really stand out.

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