A great way to begin your resume is with a summary statement. Employers only spend a few seconds reading each resume before deciding which ones to keep and which ones to throw out, so it’s important to ensure that your resume opens strong. Writing a short and effective summary and placing it at the top of your resume is a great way to capture the employer’s interest. With these tips for writing a resume summary statement, employers are sure to be impressed by what they see—and keep them reading until the end.
A summary statement is a section of your resume that briefly summarizes your career, key strengths, and notable accomplishments. It gives employers a short selection of highlights from your career in an accessible format.
Sometimes called a ‘qualifications summary,’ ‘career summary,’ or ‘personal profile’, a summary statement is different from a resume objective. Where with an objective you outline your own intentions or career goals, in a summary statement you can display your most relevant skills and expertise. Your summary statement should capture the reader’s attention and show what value you can bring to the company.
Your summary statement should be located at the top of the resume, shortly after your contact information and before your work experience section.
It’s important to give employers good reasons to hire you right at the top of your resume. Employers usually only skim resumes before deciding whether read further, so including a strong resume summary statement is a great way to give them a quick look at your expertise without them having to read the entire resume. Anyone reading your resume should know within a few sentences who you are, what your skills are, and some of your best accomplishments.
Resume summary statements are not a mandatory resume section, but they are a great way to give your elevator pitch. A simple and accessible description of your best qualifications can be a part of what makes your resume effective, especially if you have many years of experience to display.
While your summary statement isn’t the largest section of your resume, it’s an important one, so be sure to write it well. With these tips for writing a resume summary statement, your summary will be sure to catch your employer’s eye.
Your summary statements should only contain a few highlights. Roughly four to six sentences or bullet points should be enough to show your most impressive details. It does not need to describe your entire career story, or explain why you are changing careers.
By beginning your summary with your current title, you give the recruiter an immediate idea of what you do and what your experience is. If you say right off the bat that you are a “Dedicated customer success manager…” or a “Certified RMT with a specialization in sports massage…” the recruiter will have a strong frame for understanding the rest of your experience.
As you write your resume summary statement, it is important to use active language and concrete examples of your success. Try to identify your key strengths, examples of your achievements, and projects that you have led, so you sound like an effective and professional person. Quantifiable achievements like sales, revenue, and user growth are all impressive examples of your abilities that look great in a summary statement.
It is important to customize your resume summary statement for every application. Your summary should be perfect for the specific role you are applying for. Be sure to research the company you are applying to so you know what will catch their eye, and ask yourself what you can offer them that no one else can.
Read the job description for keywords that you can use in your resume. If the company is looking for experience with customer success, client relations, server management, or inventory, for example, be sure to include the right terms in your summary. This is especially important if you are applying through an applicant tracking system, which will be searching for specific keywords.
If you don’t know where to start, write your summary statement after you have finished the rest of the resume. This way, you will have already considered all of your past positions and achievements and you can pick the best details from your work history to feature in the summary statement.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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