Worldwide research shows that recruiters spend an average of 7 seconds on a resume before deciding whether to read it further or not. You may think it is not fair and yes it is not. However consider it from the recruiter’s point of view. With thousands of applications for a single job, it is a challenging task to screen through such a large volume of resumes and do justice. That is why most companies have the ATS (application tracking system) wherein a machine screens out a resume which does not have the relevant keywords. That’s unfair you may say however this is reality which you need to accept and you as a job aspirant need to find strategic ways and means to market your candidature.
With my over 3 decades of experience and having personally coached 3000 plus senior professionals and guided over10,000 candidates, I have seen resumes even without a headline and also with ineffective headlines. And that is something you need to correct immediately. While there are multiple reasons for your resume not being shortlisted, a weak headline is one of the major reasons.
Now if the challenge is to attract the attention of the recruiter at the first instance, what is most important? It is your headline which is like the title of a book. If the title of the book is interesting only then will you be prompted to pick it up and skim through it further to decide whether to consider buying it or not. Similarly an ineffective headline means an opportunity lost by you as a job seeker.
So what needs to be in your headline and how can you make it more effective? There are some must haves in the headline like domain expertise, industry and core expertise. Am providing you guidance with examples below.
Headlines like the following do not tell the recruiter clearly who you are.
- A senior professional with outstanding performance
- A senior banking professional
Such headlines are general and simply convey that you are senior and an outstanding performer which is applicable to any potential candidate. They do not define you.
A headline needs to clearly and instantly tell a recruiter who you are – are you a sales head? a CFO ? a Business head ? an IT professional ?and from which industry and what area of expertise?
Let me share examples of headlines which clearly communicate your expertise and position you :
- Award winning Sales head with 15 years experience in IT
- Senior Digital marketing specialist with 12 years experience
- B TO B Sales head in Banking industry
And when you are applying for a job and there is some specific area of specialization which the job requires, then you need to customize by tweaking your headline accordingly by including the specific skill (provided you possess it).
For example : B to B Sales Head, Banking , Concept sales
So I would like you to study the headline of your resume, spend good enough time in developing it so that you will not miss opportunities.
Best of luck!!
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