How To Write and Format Resume Headings

When applying for a new job, you want your resume to stand out. Hiring managers get hundreds of applications for each position, so making your resume memorable is crucial to landing that interview.

Understanding how to format your resume correctly may not feel like an obvious place to start. After all, surely what matters is the content…right? But first impressions count. Writing attention-grabbing resume headings could be the boost you need to move you ahead of the competition.

What Are Resume Headings?

Resume headings are the phrases that go above each section of your resume. The resume heading serves as a title for each section. Resume headings help recruiters and hiring managers easily skim your resume for important details like work experience, education, and skills.

Standard resume headings to include

The standard section of a resume are:

  • Header with your name and contact information
  • Professional summary
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills and interests

How you approach each section will often depend on the layout that you choose to use. 

Remember: just like they do with keywords, both ATS and recruiters themselves scan your resume to look for standard pieces of information. 

A 2018 eye-tracking study found that hiring managers focused 80% of their time on the name, current position, previous positions, and education. That’s why having an easy-to-read format goes a long way in helping you move forward with the next stage of the hiring process.

Keep your resume headings clear and easy to understand. Commonly used phrases like “Education,” “Professional Experience,” and “Skills” are all areas that a recruiter will be looking for.

Keep resume headings readable

Many of the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that employers use are looking for specific keywords within each resume — that’s why it’s so important to set your job title to the closest possible match for the position you’re applying for. 

Many standard systems like Microsoft Word offer a heading area within new documents, but ATS readers often can’t pull data from those sections. Artistic fonts can also cause problems when ATS are scanning for specific details.

Instead, using a tool like Teal’s resume builder, you can put your information directly into the body of your resume using standard fonts. This makes it much easier for ATS readers to pick up on key points like your location and job title.

What Is a Resume Header?

When you pick up a new book, you probably turn it over and look at the blurb on the back. In a paragraph or two, you’ll get a good idea of what the book’s about and if it’s something that might interest you.  You can think of your main resume header in the same way.

It’s the first section at the very top of your resume that summarizes who you are and what you do. It should include your basic details like name and contact information. From there, it’s up to you. Recruiters are busy, so keep your resume header short and snappy rather than a lengthy, detailed paragraph.

Why does your resume header matter?

Like any introduction, your resume header is the first place a recruiter will meet you. In many ways, it serves a purely practical function by providing information about how to contact you, your location, and your current job title. 

But your resume header is also the first opportunity you have to capture the attention of the hiring manager and make them want to read on. To make your first impression a good one, you need to be able to get across why you’re the perfect person for the job. Polished and professional formatting is one of the best ways to do this.

How To Format the Resume Header

Start with the basic information like:

  • First and last name
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Email address

You can also include a link to your website or professional portfolio if it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. Some people also add links to their social media, like LinkedIn. Twitter is a good option for journalists or marketers to include, while platforms like Behance for design positions and GitHub for developer roles can also help you to stand out.

When it comes to layout, you can put all of this information in the header area itself. Or you can list your name and summary sentence in your header and put your contact details in the sidebar. This works particularly well if you have several positions that you want to outline under experience and need a little more space on the page.

Resume Header Examples

If you’re feeling inspired to revamp your resume but aren’t sure where to start, let’s look at some resume header examples.

For instance, if you’re applying for a position as a social media manager with a beauty brand, your resume heading may look like:

Jane Doe
Social Media Marketing Specialist
New York City, NY
Social media specialist, content creator, and community manager with over 5 years of experience working with beauty and fashion retail brands. Demonstrated abilities in growing audience engagement and generating leads via various social media platforms.

If you have any certifications from companies like Hootsuite or Google Analytics, these would be good to include under their own header for a position like this.

A lawyer, though, would need something that looks a little different. A resume header for this role could look like:

John Doe
Immigration and Family Law Attorney
Los Angeles, CA
Practicing attorney with 25+ years experience in immigration and family law. Proven preparation and trial experience, from concept to trial preparation, litigation, and settlement.

Additional headeings like professional affiliations or certifications to highlight bar membership, published work in academic or legal publications, and any pro bono work would be appropriate for this type of resume.

Helpful Additions to Your Resume

For every position you apply for, your resume should be tweaked to match what the job description is looking for. Even if you’re applying for similar roles within the same industry, each description will highlight something different. 

Matching your keywords and the different headings of your resume to what the job is looking for will improve your chances of landing an interview. You can save up to 5 previous positions in Teal’s extension to make pulling different information for each version of your resume quick and straightforward.

Outside of the core headings on your resume, you may also want to include others if they fit with your professional experience or the job itself. Specific headings can convey extra knowledge or cover requirements for your industry. For example:

  • Certifications
  • Affiliations
  • Research and publications
  • Volunteering or pro bono work

Final Thoughts

Crafting a resume that highlights your skills and experience takes time, but with Teal’s free resume builder, applying for several positions at once becomes much more manageable. You can quickly customize each template with different headings and header summaries to match exactly what a hiring manager is after. 

Before you know it, you’ll have interview emails flooding your inbox and be well on your way to a new job.

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Holly Landis

Holly Landis

Holly Landis is a writer and digital marketing consultant.

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