/* 4. Your Resume Headline : */

4. Your Resume Headline

If you would like to read this series of articles from the start, here are the links below:


In my previous articles, I have been discussing the importance of keeping your online resumes current and how a recruiter searches for resumes.   

In this article, I am going to discuss your resume headline.  This is the information that shows up in the search results. The details you have provided will determine whether the recruiter clicks through to view your resume. If they don’t see anything that interests them, they will move to the next resume on the list.  It is critical that you do a good job of selling yourself on your headline, so they will want to click through and open your resume.   

The picture below is a sample from the search results on Monster.  I have modified it to protect the guilty.  The recruiter has typed some keywords into the search screen, and they will get pages back from Monster that have resumes with those keywords in them, sorted by relevance (how many occurrences of the keyword), and modified or upload date.  Recruiters do not want to look at every single resume that is returned from the search.  They want to find the best candidate within the shortest amount of clicks. 

 Monster resume visibility

The details that are shown in this screenshot come from the resume visibility section of your resume on Monster.  Different job boards will have something similar.  This is a section you complete when you upload your resume to Monster.  Always be sure you fill in all the blanks on the resume visibility area.  To update the resume visibility area In Monster, select the Manage My Resumes tab.  If you click the drop down menu under the action tab next to your active resume, you will see the selection “Review Visibility”.  Select this tab and fill out ALLthe blanks. A lot of this information appears in the search results as seen above, but some of it helps other screening factors such as industry or career level (manager, director, etc.).  The only thing you might consider leaving blank is salary.  I look at salary as a screening factor to determine if this person is too expensive or doesn’t have have experience (not asking for high enough salary) to determine whether I will look at their resume.  It would not keep me from looking at someone’s resume if they left the field blank.   

The first thing that is noticed when when looking at each resume on the search results is the name of the resume.  This is not the name of the person, it is the name that you assign this resume when you upload it to Monster. The most common mistake I see people make is they give the same name that they name the resume on their computer.  Usually this is their name, or the job title they want, or something else equally as boring.  This is the area I refer to as your resume headline.  It is the FIRST thing recruiters will notice, so you must put something in there that will get their attention.  Fill in this area with keywords or selling points that will motivate the recruiter to open your resume.  You have 100 characters!  Use ALLof them.  It is the same concept as a newpaper headline, or an Internet article headline.  Headlines need to be catch the readers’ eyes and incite them to read more.  You must sell yourself!  

There are a few other key fields in this visibility area.  Education is a critical screening factor.  Some employers insist on a college degree.  If you have not filled this out with your highest education level, your resume might not get looked at.  If you have certifications and a college degree, make sure you indicate that you have a degree in this area.  Certifications are best mentioned within the body of the resume. 

Another key area is the target job title.  The first thing I notice is whether it matches the current or last job title that the person has listed.  When they are very different, it always makes me wonder what they are trying to accomplish. Maybe, they are confused, I don’t know.  If you are trying to change professions,  don’t make it seem so obvious.  If I don’t think you have any experience for the position I am trying to fill, I will not open your resume.  

Another important area to fill out is your relocation preferences.  If recruiters are looking across the US for an Austin based position and you indicate you will NOT relocate, they will not open your resume if you do not already live in Austin.  Oftentimes, recruiters start their search locally and then expand statewide before they go national.  The closer a candidate lives, the cheaper and easier it is to recruit them.  Your specific relocation preferences are indicated in the resume visibility area and show up after the recruiter opens up your resume.  If you live outside of Texas and state you only want to move to Dallas or Houston, a recruiter is most likely not going to waste time with you to see if you would consider moving to Austin.  Yes, there are really people that do not want to move to Austin! 

The Dice Headline below displays a little differently, but the concept is still the same.  Techies, do you see how you can sell all your technical skills in the preview area? 

Dice Headline

Go look at your resume headline on Monster and all the other places you have posted your resume online.  Does your headline sell you?  If the below headline belongs to you, you have some work to do!

Bad Headline

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  1. [...] 7. Revise your online resume headline on the job boards – add some keywords, make your resume stand out. (http://www.hireaustin.org/2009/06/4-your-resume-headline/) [...]

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