Headline for a CV – A Complete Guide

CV headline examples showcase exactly what you need to start your CV. This one-sentence introduction captures your professional identity and neatly packages your highest credentials. They’re short and on-point, tailored to the job in question, and packed with relevant words and phrases.

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By Jagoda Obszarska, Senior Content Editor, TranslatorLast Updated: March 18, 2024
CV headline

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Want to create an eye-catching headline for a CV? You’re in the right place. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide explaining how to write a CV headline step by step. On top of expert advice, we’ll also share several CV headline examples to kick-start your creative juices. With our help, landing your dream job is closer than you think.

How is a headline different from a CV summary?

You’d be surprised how many candidates have never heard of a CV headline, mostly because it often gets confused with a CV summary (also known as a personal statement or professional profile). While they both outline a person’s top qualities, there are a few differences.

CV headlines are only one sentence long at the start of your CV. In just a few words, you must hook the hiring manager’s attention and reel them in. On the other hand, CV summaries go into more depth and expand on key points. You have three to four sentences to explain why you’re the best person for the job.


Our top advice? Don’t use the first sentence of your personal statement as your CV headline – it only looks lazy. Instead, create a unique introduction and place it underneath your name and contact details or a few lines above your professional profile. Either way, it should be separate to stand out from the rest of your information.

DON’T do this:

A diligent senior office administrator with over ten years of experience in international banks.

A diligent senior office manager with over ten years of experience in international banks. Introduced a user-friendly electronic filing system, boosting productivity by 87%. Capable of supporting a large team of financial professionals. Specialities include transcribing, event coordination, and correspondence preparation.

DO this:

Organised senior office manager supporting 300+ employees and three FTSE 100 directors.

A diligent senior office manager with over ten years of experience in international banks. Introduced a user-friendly electronic filing system, boosting productivity by 87%. Capable of supporting a large team of financial professionals. Specialities include transcribing, event coordination, and correspondence preparation.

Why write a CV headline?

If you’ve already crafted a compelling personal statement, why do you need a CV headline? Put it this way – the hiring manager has been scanning applications all morning, and they’re starting to see double. Thanks to their dwindling vision and dry eyes, they’re looking for fast reassurance that you meet the job requirements!

CV headlines confirm your credentials in a digestible sentence. One line tells them everything they need to know about you as a professional. Plus, it demonstrates what you can bring to the table. Unconvinced? Here are some more priceless benefits…

  • Catches the employer’s attention

    Above all else, a headline on a CV immediately catches the employer’s attention, which is crucial when they’re flagging. Moreover, it presents your unique selling points (USPs) in an easy-to-understand format. You’ll make the reader’s life much easier by highlighting your most desirable qualities to describe yourself in the best light at the top of the page.

  • Gets past the algorithm

    More and more companies are using application tracking system (ATS) software to sift through CVs. As such, you must include the right keywords and phrases to get past the algorithm. The software scans for specific terms, filtering out applications that don’t include them. By tailoring your header to the job advertisement, you’ll boost your chances of receiving an interview invite.

    Know your terminology: CV keywords are words or phrases that describe specific job requirements. Identify and reiterate the experience, skills, qualifications, and values the hiring manager is looking for.

  • Summarises your CV

    Summarising your CV in one sentence is challenging but well worth it. Like an elevator pitch, a CV headline helps recruiters guide your application in the right direction. It also keeps your information focused and relevant. Whenever you feel stuck, refer back to the header to inform the writing process and streamline your message.

  • Consolidates your experience

    If you’ve been around the block and gathered tonnes of experience across multiple industries, hiring managers might be confused about your key strengths. Luckily, a CV headline consolidates your expertise and narrows your employment history down to one or two core themes.

  • Spotlights your top skills

    On the flip side, some candidates have minimal experience but bundles of transferable skills and enthusiasm. A headline for a CV distracts from a sparse employment background by underscoring your achievements, personality, and talents. Many entry-level headlines also prioritise qualifications. Our best advice? Only note your highest level of education, such as an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.


Writing a CV with no experience? No problem. Here are a few examples of skill-focused CV headlines for inspiration:

  • Recent graduate achieving first-class honours in business management
  • Motivational volunteer sports coach working with special needs children
  • Reliable student in the final year of A-levels seeking an exciting retail opportunity
  • Enthusiastic journalism graduate with freelance and part-time experience
  • Recent school leaver looking to gain experience in the accounting industry

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How to write a CV headline

Now you know why a CV headline is so essential to success, let's move on to the “how” – what's the secret to writing an opening statement that grips the employer straight away? The process isn’t complicated when you use the right tools. Struggling to string together a sentence? Check out the handy formula below:

Powerful adjective + career focus + years of expertise + achievement / training / awards / skills

This isn't a rigid method, and you can chop and swap bits of information. However, it'll help you cover the most vital points. The biggest mistake candidates make is skipping over the most important details.

Here are a few examples for reference:

  • Persuasive sales advisor with over five years of experience consistently beating targets.
  • Dedicated teacher with over two years of experience working with vulnerable teenagers.
  • Strategic transport planner with ten years of experience improving busy road networks.
  • Punctual office manager with six years of experience and three Employee of The Year Awards.
  • Pioneering designer with two years of experience working with several famous fashion brands.

What adjectives should I use?

As CV headlines are descriptive, it's a good idea to pay attention to what adjectives you include. You don't want to sound trite or clichéd. At the same time, you must centre important keywords. We suggest re-reading the job advertisement and picking out some of the main phrases. While you shouldn't copy the text word for word, you can sprinkle a few of these throughout the CV header and body content.

Perhaps, the job specification is a little sparse? There's no need to worry because it's a fantastic opportunity to step outside the box. If the hiring manager is searching for "a great listener with a genuine interest in helping people", you might describe yourself as "collaborative", "supportive", and "thoughtful".

Whatever you do, be unique and avoid overused buzzwords like "proactive" and "synergistic". Similarly, there's no point in stating the obvious and wasting precious space. The employer already assumes you're a "team player", so you don't need to regurgitate this dozens of times!

Some of our favourite adjectives include:

  • Imaginative
  • Focused
  • Conscientious
  • Disciplined
  • Motivational
  • Enterprising
  • Logical
  • Compassionate
  • Committed
  • Determined

How to format a CV headline

Formatting a headline for a CV is simple. The ultimate goal is to make it stand out from the rest of the content, so employers and ATS software can locate it easily. We recommend placing it underneath your name and contact details or a few lines above your personal statement.

Another way you can boost readability is by capitalising the whole sentence, using title case, or experimenting with bolding, italicising, and size. Which do you prefer?

  • Organised Accountant With Over Five Years Of Experience Handling 30+ Clients At A Time.
  • Organised accountant with over five years of experience handling 30+ clients at a time.
  • Organised accountant with over five years of experience handling 30+ clients at a time.
  • Organised accountant with over five years of experience handling 30+ clients at a time.

Tips for writing a CV headline

The job market is insanely competitive, so we suggest spending several hours crafting an eye-catching CV headline. In the words of Stephen King: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

We know what you’re thinking – how can you say so much with so few words? It’s definitely an art form, but the following tips should remove the stress. Don’t let perfection prohibit your progress. Jot down all your ideas in a comprehensive list so you can choose the best one at the end.

  • Do your research

    The writing process starts well before putting pen to paper. The very first step is doing your research and making sure you understand the specific job requirements. Otherwise, you won’t know what keywords and phrases to include to prove your suitability for the role.

    If you haven’t found your dream position but want to start a CV, search for similar jobs in your industry. While the titles might vary, you’ll gain a better understanding of relevant experience, skills, and qualifications.

    What’s more, researching the company shows you care and sets you apart from other candidates. We suggest underlining some of their core values in your CV headline, body content, and cover letter for maximum impact.

  • Keep it punchy and to the point

    CV headlines aren’t personal statements, so resist the temptation to squeeze in too much information. You only need to write one short sentence outlining why you’re the best person for the job – up to 15 words is ideal. Remember, less is more!


    Cramming in detail defeats the purpose. CV headlines are meant to give the employer a broad overview of your capabilities. If you get it right, they’ll be inspired to keep reading the rest of your content. Which sounds better?

    Decisive procurement manager with over two years of experience working in the transport industry who can save companies £250,000 per year and enjoys training new team members.


    Decisive procurement manager able to save companies £250,000 per year.

  • Highlight your highest achievement

    Following on from keeping your CV headline short and sweet, only highlight your highest experience, educational achievement, or qualification. This will help you cut through the waffle and focus on your most valuable USPs.

    If you’re struggling to pinpoint your proudest moments, ask a friend or colleague for their input. Shouting about your accomplishments can feel awkward, so it’s helpful to lean on a trusted bank of cheerleaders. What else are friends for?

    Whatever you choose, make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. For instance, your TikTok following and videography skills won’t be applicable to a financial advisor or accounting position.

  • Tailor your headline to each position

    If you want to make a splash in the sea of equally experienced candidates, you shouldn’t replicate CV headlines. Instead, customise them to each job advertisement to show you’ve thoroughly researched the role. Recruiters are bound to appreciate the extra effort.

    Apply this rule to your entire CV and cover letter. While you don’t have to completely rewrite your application every time, you must be as specific as possible. Always check whether your keywords and phrases reflect the spec, add a few tailored responsibilities in the work experience section, and only include relevant qualifications.

  • Focus on facts and figures

    Adding concrete evidence of what you can achieve is the quickest way to wow the employer. Without it, you’re simply asking them to believe you – and why would they do that? Your CV headline is the perfect place for a fabulous fact or figure that proves you can walk the walk!

    Stuck for ideas? You could mention:

    • How many years of experience you have
    • How many team members you’ve trained
    • How many clients you work with
    • How many awards you’ve won
    • The amount of money you’ve saved

    Many candidates also drop in a percentage. For example, you might have “boosted productivity by 76%” or “consistently scored 99% on customer satisfaction surveys”.

Things to avoid when writing a CV headline

Knowing what to avoid is just as crucial as following the above tips. Don’t fall into the trap of being too vague or regurgitating the same old information as everyone else. If you’ve hit a creative block, resist copying and pasting someone else’s CV header. Instead, take a break and come back to it later.

  • use clichés

    We’ve already touched on this, but it’s worth hammering home the point. You don’t want to sound the same as everyone else when describing yourself on a CV, so avoid clichés, generic keywords, and adjectives that don’t make any sense.

    For example, many candidates call themselves “dynamic” or “disruptors”, but what does this actually mean? You don’t want to confuse the hiring manager and potentially scupper your chances of reaching the interview stage. Our golden rule? If you couldn’t explain yourself in an interview, ditch the terminology and clarify your message.

  • be vague

    Compare the below taglines for reference:

    A junior technician with computer software knowledge.


    A conscientious junior IT technician proficient in 4 HTML, JavaScript, CSS and Python.

  • copy and paste

    Lastly, don’t copy and paste someone else’s work – employers can spot inauthenticity from a mile off. While it’s tricky to write a captivating CV header, the solution isn’t to mimic what you see online.

    Alongside following the above tips, we have countless other resources on our website that streamline the CV writing process, including pre-made CV templates and CV examples. When you follow our guidance, you’re bound to dazzle the grouchiest hiring managers!

30 CV headline examples


Friendly sales advisor who achieved 120% of their targets for six consecutive months.

Talented sales manager with a proven track record of achieving KPIs.

Persuasive sales representative with over eight years of experience in the retail industry.

Confident sales and marketing professional who can boost revenue by 67%.

Self-assured client account executive with exemplary interpersonal and business skills.


Diligent help desk technician with over three years of experience in the technology sector.

Forward-thinking web developer with a Google UX Design Professional Certificate.

Strategic chief information officer who previously worked for Amazon.

Detailed hardware technician capable of tackling complex user issues.

Competent IT support technician with two years of experience managing a specialist team.

Administration and customer service

Welcoming receptionist with ten years of experience in the finance industry.

Resourceful office assistant with extensive knowledge of MS programmes.

Adaptable office manager who supports six departments and over 500 employees.

Detail-oriented customer service administrator with an 87% positive feedback score.

Versatile personal assistant proficient in data entry and analysis.

Creative industries

Innovative graphic designer who won London’s Rising Star Award 2023.

Tireless journalist who’s worked for The Washington Post and New York Times.

Devoted fashion blogger with exclusive access to London Fashion Week.

Imaginative writer capable of improving blog traffic by 95%.

Marketing manager with over six years of experience with Google Ads and SEO.

Graduate and school leaver

Hardworking English graduate with freelance editing experience.

Reliable school leaver currently completing a plumbing apprenticeship.

Driven student with part-time experience in hospitality roles.

Conscientious graduate with first-class honours in Geography.

Aspiring physicist currently studying Physics, Maths, and Chemistry A levels.


Passionate maths teacher with a 95% pass rate at Key Stage 4p>

Enthusiastic SEN music teacher with over six years of experience

Organised language teacher who’s fluent in French and Spanish.

Assistant head and physics teacher with over 25 years of experience in secondary schools.

Motivational PE coach with an exemplary track record of winning games.

Takeaways for your CV headline

We know that was a lot of information to absorb, but you’ll impress the hiring manager if you remember the essential takeaways – keep it short and to the point, keyword-focused, and relevant to the job you’re applying for. It’s almost impossible to go wrong if you focus on these three points.

Searching for more inspiration? Browse our comprehensive library of CV examples for additional help. Alternatively, create your CV today with our clever online builder.


Jagoda Obszarska

Senior Content Editor, SEO Content Writer

Meet Jagoda Obszarska – a certified copywriter, Polish language translator, and seasoned career adviser. Thriving on constant self-improvement, she eagerly stays ahead in her field. With a rich background working with individuals from over 50 countries, Jagoda has successfully completed more than a thousand projects in copywriting and translation.

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