Get hired with a hook

/ Category: The CV

Including a catch phrase in your resume is the best way to stand out from other candidates and get the attention of recruiters. A few well-chosen and well-placed words can make all the difference and send your application to the right pile. But what is a good hook? What should it include? How should you write it?

What is a hook?

The word "hook" comes from the marketing industry and refers to a short text designed to draw the customer's attention. In other words, it is a type of slogan, but a slogan for a very special product…you! The purpose of a hook is to briefly describe the type of position you are seeking and to highlight your skills, strengths and unique characteristics. But be careful: a hook is not the same as a career goal. It serves the same purpose as a title and should be punchy without being too pushy. 

Before you start writing your hook, imagine yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who receives dozens of resumes. By putting the essential information on the top of the page — like a title — you make the recruiter's job easier, and your application is more likely to be considered. A hook is particularly useful in a resume, as it allows you to tailor your application to a specific position by summarizing your key skills.

Rules of thumb

  • Indicate your profession and/or skills
  • Keep it to 5-10 words long, using title format
  • Use a normal font size (it is neither necessary nor recommended to use another font, size or color than used for your name and the rest of your resume)
  • Ideally, limit the hook to a single line
  • Make it relevant
  • Be concise
  • Be precise

 If you are targeting an international company:

  • Administrative assistant with experience in accounting/ French—German—English

If you are a skilled worker, give additional information about your personal qualities:

  • House Painter with CFC diploma, meticulous work
  • Cook—bar food—cost-conscious
  • Head Waiter—preparing the tables and serving—positive attitude and discreet 

If you have worked in a specialized field:

  • Head of Communication—medical field—available immediately
  • Purchasing/ negotiations/ merchandise management and control/ food industry

The hook in an application responding to an ad

If you are responding to a particular job ad, the recruiter will want to know if you meet the criteria specified. The few words you choose for the hook should reassure them that you do meet their criteria. If your profile fully matches the job description, you can use one or two keywords from the ad. But remember to stay honest—your hook has to be consistent with the rest of your resume.


A company is seeking a part-time (80%) bookkeeper with experience in a legal department (calls to clients, payment arrangements, legal procedures, etc.), significant knowledge in accounting (federal certification is not necessary) and a good command of French. The following qualities are required: good interpersonal skills, attention to detail and the ability to carefully follow procedures. Your hook for this position could be as follows:

  • Bookkeeper with 3 years experience in litigation (think about elaborating on the skills developed through this experience in the rest of your resume).

In other terms, your hook should set the tone and show the recruiter you have carefully read the job description and thought about the position before sending in your application. It should encourage the recruiter to look for additional information in the rest of your resume.

A few tips

  • Chose words similar to those used in the job description or by the company (for example, if the company uses the word "salesperson" rather than "sales representative").
  • Mention the strengths that make you a good candidate for the job (available immediately, trilingual, expert in a particular field, proficient with a particular software, mobile, etc.)
  • Highlight your personal qualities that are important for the position (meticulous, result-oriented, conscientious, etc.)
    Emphasize the parts of your resume that best fit the needs of the employer. To do so, it is crucial to learn about the company.



Source: Manpower