Strut Your Stuff: How to write the perfect summary of qualifications for your resume

Strut Your Stuff: How to write the perfect summary of qualifications for your resume

Ben TemplePublished on: August 14, 2020
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A strong summary of qualifications is a great way to start your resume. The top section of your resume is the first thing employers will read, and a qualifications summary that briefly outlines your achievements and abilities will be sure to capture their attention. When writing a qualifications summary, it is important to make sure you are choosing the right experience to showcase and using the best possible language to describe it. With these quick tips, you will be well on your way to a great summary of qualifications.

What is a summary of qualifications?

A summary of qualifications is a section at the top of your resume, usually formatted as a bulleted list, that briefly highlights your most impressive achievements, strengths, and qualifications. It functions as an elevator pitch, quickly introducing you and some of your best qualities and skills. It is an efficient and effective way to make sure that employers see the most impressive things about you first, right at the top of the resume.

A summary of qualifications is not a mandatory part of the resume. This section works best if you have been working for a few years and have concrete, quantifiable achievements to showcase. This section is also great for people who are changing careers, as this section allows you to highlight the achievements and experience that is most relevant.

If you are new to the workforce with fewer concrete achievements to discuss, you may want to stick with a simple Summary section. This is a one or two sentence introduction that tells the reader who you are and what your qualifications are. A Summary section is shorter, and does not need to contain specific anecdotes.

How to write a summary of qualifications

When writing your qualifications summary, make sure each bullet point is optimized for maximum impact. This is your resume’s chance to make a great first impression, so it is important to get this section right. With this in mind, here are our best tips for writing a great summary of your qualifications.

Use active language

Action words like “promoted”, “generated”, and “managed” are all great ways to show leadership and competence in your resume. It is important to use active language so you come across as an efficient and motivated employee.

"Promoted to senior IT officer after two years."

Use quantifiable data

Remember: a qualification doesn’t have to be a credential or degree. It can be any experience that shows you to be competent in the job you are applying to. Details like sales figures, customer happiness scores, awards, and revenue are all great ways to demonstrate your skills.

“Increased sales by 10% year over year”

Show the most impressive things first

When writing your summary, make sure your best qualifications are at the beginning of the section. It is important to make a strong first impression, and this is best done with the first bullet point in the first section of your resume. Some job-seekers even bold the first qualification to emphasize its importance.

Customize your qualifications summary

Remember to customize your summary of qualifications. The best achievements for one job won’t necessarily work for another, so it is important to tailor your resume to suit each application. Make sure that your qualifications summary is tailored to suit the job you are applying to.

Use the right keywords

Closely review the job posting before you apply. It likely contains the keywords that the employer is looking for. Using these keywords near the top of the resume will ensure that they are easy to find, especially by an applicant tracking system.

Summary of qualifications example

  • Led a team of 10 salespeople for 3 years
  • Exceeded sales targets by more than 20% last year
  • Earned the 2019 "Outstanding Achievement Award" in a company of 200 people
  • Received company-wide Top Sales Award two years in a row
  • Reduced department operational costs by 10%
  • Monitored and evaluated client satisfaction

Ben Temple

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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