Posted By Amanda Collins on February 28, 2010
There is a lot of power in a résumé – well, at least there is potential. So many times, I review résumés that lack a focus and strategy. Essentially, they are a brain dump of everything the person has done across his or her career. Typically, there are many areas for potential improvement, but it all starts with the top. Whether you call it an objective, title, or headline, how you present yourself starts with your first words.
When I first started writing résumés (in 1996), an objective was something like:
To obtain a position in which I can apply my experiences in child development and education.
Now, however, titles / headlines have replaced that long, not very to-the-point statement:
Just like a newspaper headline draws readers to learn more, a résumé headline should do the same. To expand on the newspaper similarities, in journalism “above the fold” is where all writers want to be – because it’s the first part readers see when the paper is delivered. On your résumé, your “above the fold” section is the first third of your document, where you will have your contact information, headline, summary, and keywords. Employers have a lot of choices in résumés these days, so attract their attention immediately!
Even if you include a headline, it can be poorly written. At an event I attended yesterday, a hiring manager said he’d received a résumé that said “Banking Executive.” His first response? “Huh?” That basically meant nothing to him, so he didn’t bother to read further. His suggestion? Your headline should match the position for which you’re applying.
So be specific, succinct, and definitely include a headline on your résumé so employers are sure who you are for them. Questions on a résumé are never good.