Does your resume have a focused message?

Why should someone hire you instead of someone else? That can be a tricky question. Sometimes an employer needs to hire generalists who have broad skills and experience, and who can do a lot of things. This might be an office manager or a general staff accountant.

Or the same company might need someone with specific experience like overseeing manufacturing facility security or handling multi-state payroll.

What if you can offer both? What if you are open to different possibilities and want to cast a wide net for your job search? You don’t want to limit your options, but you will be hired to do specific work.

So how do you create a message about who you are that is both general and specific? How do you create impact with an “at a glance” statement of what you have to offer?

The top part of your resume is your “Headline”.  This is a general statement that positions you within an organization. If you are a sales manager, you are not an accountant or a driver.

A “Sub-Headline” states your more defined areas of expertise that can differentiate you through your skills, knowledge or experience.

I usually create the “Headline” using 14-point and bold fonts.  I then create the “Sub-Headline” with 12-point fonts. Here are some examples:

Top-Producing Sales Manager
Special expertise in imports/exports

Top-Producing Sales Manager
Special expertise in turning around under-performing territories

Top-Producing Sales Manager
Special expertise in opening Eastern European markets

These are all Sales Managers. But if a company only sells domestically, someone’s international experience might not be relevant. If a company sells financial services, then imports/exports experience is also not so relevant. But a Sales Manager who can turn around under-performing territories will be of interest in many industries.

Real Estate Agent

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial

Real Estate Agent
Specializes in high-end residential properties

The first agent is a generalist, the second one is a specialist. Which one are you?

What can you do?

  • If you want to cast a wide net with a general statement of who you are, just use the “Headline”.
  • If you want to also state your more specific qualifications, use both the “Headline” and the “Sub-Headline.”