Taglines are underutilized by DIY resume writers, but the pros know they offer a quick snapshot of your career brand that is easily digestible in one to two seconds.
When you realize that most recruiters will spend a mere five to six seconds looking at your resume before deciding whether to read it more thoroughly (or at all), you’ll quickly discern the importance of having one to several taglines at the top of your summary to help distinguish your candidacy from that of other job seekers.
WHAT IS A TAGLINE?
A tagline is a short phrase or sentence that summarizes an important facet of your experience or career brand. Companies use them in print, internet, and TV ads all the time. You’ve probably seen these taglines without necessarily recognizing them as such:
- A Diamond Is Forever (DeBeers)
- Betcha Can’t Eat Just One (Lays)
- Breakfast of Champions (Wheaties)
- Can You Hear Me Now (Verizon)
- Don’t Leave Home Without It (American Express)
- Finger Lickin’ Good (KFC)
- Got Milk (California Milk Processor Board)
Taglines in resumes are similar, though more personal in that they showcase a key element of your experience or brand in a succinct and hopefully memorable way.
WHERE DO YOU USE TAGLINES IN RESUMES?
Taglines can be used in multiple locations within a resume, but they’re most commonly found in the header or summary. They can also be used to introduce sections or sub-sections in a resume or to group several achievements.
Whether you use a single tagline or multiples, you’ll want to accentuate them with formatting and set them apart in some visual way ~ you’ll often see them on a line by themselves or separated from another tagline on the same line of text.
Taglines can also be incorporated into logos if you use one in your resume, which is the way most advertisers use them in print, internet, and on TV. The best taglines are:
- Short (three to five words preferred; 1-2 lines in length maximum)
- Benefit-focused (the benefit your hire will bring to the organization)
- Emotion-oriented (express the feeling you want your new employer to experience when they recognize you as “the one”)
- Mini-stories (quickly encapsulate something important about your background)
- Explanatory (tell your readers what you do for a living)
- Image-based (evoking an image rather than showing one)
- Thought-provoking (making your reader’s think twice or taking advantage of alliteration or plays on words)
HOW TO CREATE A TAGLINE: To create a tagline for your resume, try one or more of these easy-to-use templates:
Action Verb + Measurable Result + Timeframe:
Action verbs convey power, so it captures your readers’ attention when you start a tagline with a well-chosen one. For a measurable result, try including a clear-cut numerical impact you had on sales, revenue, profitability, efficiency, or savings. For example:
- Captured $250M in YOY Savings in Less Than 1 Year
Action Verb + Organizational Impact + Leadership Philosophy:
If you’re a strong leader, make the point by blending your leadership philosophy into your tagline briefly. For example:
- Rebuilt Team from #52 to #1 US Ranking via “3P” Leadership Approach (Personality, Persuasion, Performance)
Action Verb + Total Career-Long Revenue Impact:
If you’re in a field distinguished by big revenue numbers, use that to your advantage by adding up the total influence you’ve had on all your employers to date. For example:
- Drove 4X EBITDA Growth by Fueling $458M in Career Revenue
Testimonial About You + Attribution:
Another easy way to use a tagline is to select a short quote from a testimonial someone has written about you. Make sure you attribute the quote with their name, title, and place of employment:
- “Hands down the best leader I’ve ever seen or worked with!” Josephine Smith | Chief Revenue Officer | JG Smalley & Co.
Favorite Quote of Yours + Attribution:
If you don’t have a quotable testimonial about you or prefer to use a favorite quote to highlight something of importance to you, try this approach:
- “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs
Arguably the most powerful tagline you can use is your Why-Buy-ROI: the combination of your why-should-you-hire-me reply and the return-on-investment that your hire offers prospective employers. Yours might look like this:
- Propel Teams to +75% Efficiency & Retention Gains through Unparalleled Focus on Personal Accountability
Now it’s your turn. What taglines can you craft to help hiring managers to grasp the value of your career brand?
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