If you want your resume to stand out, you need to know how to write a resume summary. Most employers only spend a few seconds evaluating each candidate's resume. To make an impact, you'll need to catch their attention right at the top.
A short, punchy resume summary is a great way to get hiring managers interested. When they scan a resume, they’re looking for skills and qualifications relevant to the job posting. You can make their life easier by putting your highlights up front.
It’s important to write a resume summary that catches the eye of prospective employers. In this article, we'll offer some steps for writing a great resume summary, as well as some resume summary examples, so you can turn your resume into a powerful attention-grabbing tool.
A summary section is a section of your resume that briefly outlines your career, key strengths, and notable accomplishments. It should give employers a short selection of highlights from your career in an accessible format. Your summary should include your current position, relevant achievements, and some of your skills.
Your resume summary should be customized to target the job you’re applying for. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with the right skills and experience, so a good resume summary will highlight your most relevant qualifications. It should show how you’re well-suited for the role and how you’re a good fit for the company.
Understanding how to write a resume survey that makes an impact can give you an advantage in a competitive job market.
Innovative IT professional offering 10+ years of experience leveraging software engineering and DevOps methodologies to deliver highly effective and creative business solutions. Utilizes highly attuned analytical skills to develop IT and business strategies. Experience employing cutting-edge technologies to increase productivity. Consistently drives high standards of service through effective project management, communication, and strategic planning to develop and manage strong client relationships. Highly organized with a strong capacity to prioritize workload, delegate deliverables, and steer project to completion within established deadlines.
A resume summary section may have a title like:
These names all refer to a resume summary. They are different, however, from a resume objective.
A resume objective is a short section at the top of your resume that states your career goals and explains how they relate to the job you’re applying for.
Marketing, advertising and public-relations professional seeking a challenging opportunity to utilize my industry knowledge and experience. Passion and creativity are at the core of my skill set. I look forward to working with a team that pushes to make a difference.
Objective statements are similar to summary statements, in that they both appear at the top of your resume and outline aspects of your career. The difference is that while objectives are focused on your career, summaries showcase what you can do for the company. A summary section provides a much better opportunity for you to sell yourself as a candidate.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t include an objective statement in your resume. Use a resume summary statement instead.
While once common, resume objective statements are now outdated. Unless an employer has specifically asked for an objective statement, you are much better off not including one.
A Summary section is the best way to quickly outline your qualifications right at the top of your resume.
Employers read a lot of applications, and yours needs to stand out if you want to land the job. The quicker you can sell your skills the better. With a strong resume summary, hiring managers who read your resume will understand within a few sentences:
By giving employers a brief summary of your skills and experience at the beginning of your resume, you can ensure they have the information they're looking for. If you have the right skills, this should grab their attention and encourage them to keep reading. Learning how to write a resume summary could be the factor that scores you your next interview.
While resume summaries aren't strictly mandatory, most job-seekers include one. They provide a quick and easy way to sell yourself and stand out from other applicants.
Learning how to write a resume summary requires being aware of a few key ideas.
Here are five essential tips on how to write a resume summary.
A resume summary should be a lean and easy to read. You want to put your best foot forward and deliver your relevant details in a concise, digestible manner. A paragraph with four to six sentences, or a list with four to six bullet points, should be enough.
Remember, your resume summary doesn't need to detail your entire career trajectory or explain why you’re looking for a new job. A short summary of your qualifications is all it needs to be. Don't lose focus of what the summary is trying to achieve.
Start your summary with your current role or title. This detail will tell the hiring manager what you currently do and give them a sense of your experience level.
When you open your summary by saying you are a "Detail-oriented account manager" or a "Metrics-driven marketing manager," recruiters will have a good idea of who you are and your suitability for a particular role.
Use action verbs and quantifiable examples of your achievements to stand out from other applicants. Strong writing is an important part of showcasing your qualifications.
Try to identify your key strengths, relevant achievements, and any important projects that you have led. These can be used to demonstrate your skills and abilities using active language. Describe your most impressive accomplishments and highlight your competence.
Quantifiable achievements like sales, revenue, and user acquisition are all impressive examples of your abilities that look great in a summary statement. Any skills that you can back up with numbers will impress employers.
Your resume summary will be most effective if you customize it for every application. The hiring company is looking for a particular skills and experience, so you should tailor your summary to suit their exact specifications.
Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to search candidate resumes for keywords. This software speeds up the hiring process by scanning resumes for the desired phrases. To get past the ATS, you need to make sure your resume has the right keywords.
To do this, research the position and the company. Study the job description to see which keywords you should use in your resume, and study the company website to find the company’s mission and values.
If the job advertisement is looking for "customer success" or "client relations" experience, for example, you can use these terms in your resume (as long as it’s true). If they are looking for familiarity with specific tools or software, mention them in your summary. You can show that you’re the perfect candidate by finding the right keywords.
Keywords are central to a successful resume summary. Much of the modern hiring process is automated, and the software that accepts resumes is searching for specific keywords. Further, even if your resume makes it past that software, hiring managers will be looking for the same skills.
Fortunately, finding the right keywords in the job description isn’t too hard. For example, the emphasized words in this passage are likely the keywords the company is looking for:
Company X seeks a graphic designer with 5+ years of experience in website design. Must be skilled in Adobe Photoshop and logo design.
You'll note that the keywords include:
These are the types of keywords to include as you write your resume summary. This will make your resume easy for the recruiter — or applicant tracking software — to scan quickly.
Of course, don't just jam the keywords into your resume summary. If the resume doesn't read well, you'll be hurting your chances. Instead, craft it with enough care so that it reads and flows naturally. If possible, get a friend to check over your summary to ensure it works.
If you don’t know how to start writing your summary, wait until after you’ve finished the rest of the resume. This way, your achievements and skills will be fresh in your mind, making summarizing them that much easier. When you have already considered all of your past positions and achievements, it will be easier to pick the best ones to feature in the summary statement.
Results-driven, customer-focused, and analytical Software Engineer with experience in design, development, integration, and delivery of web applications and analysis. Responsible for project management from initial idea and development phase (vision/analysis), performing all design/architecture work and delivering the completed product. Strong analytical skills and a deep expertise in the end-to-end development of software products. Expertise in requirement analysis, cost-benefit analysis, solution architecting, and project execution methodologies. Effective communicator, able to build client relationships during requirements gathering that creates loyalty and manages expectations, while demonstrating a team-oriented, collaborative attitude.
Writing a great resume summary may seem complicated, but with the right strategy it can be simple. To make sure you didn’t miss anything, use this list of all the facets of a great summary as a checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything:
To understand how to write a resume summary for a specific job, you must study the job posting and use your knowledge of the industry to identify your most relevant skills and achievements.
This means that every application will be different, but there are some standard questions you can ask yourself when you are brainstorming for each new resume summary:
Your specific career and experience and how they relate to the new role will influence your summary.
If you already have experience in your field, you probably have the skills the company is looking for. Your only difficulty will be identifying which skills to pick for this application. To figure out what skills to showcase:
If you’re a recent graduate or you're changing careers, you might not have relevant or experience and achievements to showcase. If this is the case, you may want to consider a different approach:
The best way to get a feel for how to write a resume summary is by reading resume summary examples. These sample summaries will help you inspire you to write a summary for a wide variety of industries.
"Driven office manager with 3+ years of experience in managing office budgets, communicating with staff, clients, and suppliers, and maintaining administrative systems. Detail-oriented with excellent people skills. Experience reducing administration spending by up to 15% over the two years."
"Diligent executive assistant with 4+ years of experience supporting a CEO and other executives. Managed calendars and appointments, travel arrangements, and expenses. Skilled in preparing documents, research, and using MS Excel."
"Hard-working and customer-focused receptionist with 10+ years of customer support experience. Excellent written communication, problem-solving, and proficiency in MS Office. Reliable, organized, and able to work under pressure."
"Motivated social media manager with a flair for communication and brand awareness. Well-versed in Google Analytics and Hootsuite. Set up and grew my current company's Instagram page, achieving 5,000 engaged followers. Looking to assist [insert company] to increase brand awareness through various social media channels."
"Creative content marketing professional with 3+ years of experience in producing engaging, valuable content. Freelance experience working for a variety of clients in the SaaS sector. Looking to help [insert company] improve their lead generation and establish expertise through valuable content."
"Data and analytics-focused SEO specialist with 5+ years of experience in keyword research, content marketing, and improving SERP rankings. Doubled my current company's daily website visits in 18 months through marketing content, on-page SEO, and backlinks from guest posts."
"Analytics focused SEM professional with 7+ years of experience with Facebook Ads, AdWords, and Google Analytics. Managed a monthly budget of $25,000 and increased sales and revenue by 40% using native advertising."
"Marketing manager with 3+ years of experience in the charity sector. Experienced in creating marketing materials in Adobe Photoshop and crafting compelling copy. A good all-rounder with expertise in writing web ads, social media copy, and blogs."
"eCommerce copywriter specializing in product descriptions. 3+ years of experience in delivering punchy, on-brand copy and landing pages. Increased revenue by $50,000 at [current company] by creating category-focused, high converting landing pages."
"Knowledgeable financial analyst with a solid record of positive investments. 3+ years of experience in investment banking, with a focus on emerging markets. Responsible for researching and analyzing potential investments, alongside preparing reports for investors. MBA in economics."
"Licensed CPA with 5+ years of experience in audits, budgets, and tax preparation. Crafted financial reports within a three-person team, managing a budget of $800,000. Over my five years at [current company], I reduced spending by 25%."
"Bank Teller with 3+ years of experience in customer-facing positions at [current employer], handling customer transactions, selling traveller’s checks, processing payments. Processed over 100+ customer transactions each day.”
“Hard-working data entry clerk with 5+ years of experience. Proficient in Excel, database maintenance, reporting, and preparing source data. Known for speed, attention to detail, and low error rate."
"Organized project manager with a proven record in the SaaS industry. Spearheaded the development of [current company’s] photo-sharing app, [insert name]. Strong communication and conflict resolution skills. Managed a team of 15+ developers and engineers. Working understanding of React Native and Java."
"Data-driven business analyst with over 10+ experience in business consultation. Excellent leadership and communication skills, with a specialty in emerging markets. Previous experience at [insert company] and [insert company]. Was central in the growth [insert startup], helping them increase revenue by 20% by streamlining their supply chain."
"Certified HR professional with 7+ years of experience. Extensive background in HR affairs, including recruitment and retention, conflict resolution, and HR records management. Specialist in IT recruitment, with experience as a tech recruiter at Google."
"Professional restaurant manager with a dedication to providing outstanding customer service levels. Skilled in recruitment, staff retention, and training. Increased restaurant revenue by 30% by advertising weekday specials and theme nights."
"Reliable and personable waiter with 3+ years of experience at a busy Mexican restaurant. Great people and presentation skills, with a solid ability to upsell desserts and appetizers to customers. Excellent knowledge of world cuisine and speaks conversational Spanish and Italian."
"Mathematics graduate with B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Stanford. Experience as a math tutor for 2+ years. Tutored algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, helping first-year students to submit papers. Excellent communication and lesson planning skills."
"Creative and committed high school English teacher with a passion for helping students thrive in a positive, understanding environment. 2+ years of experience at [current school]. Working knowledge of several different teaching methodologies and disciplines.
"Driven and target-focused sales associate specializing in SaaS payroll software subscriptions. Strong knowledge of the accounting industry and expert in upselling and dealing with customer onboarding. Exceed sales KPIs by at least 30% over the last 18 months."
"Sunny, meticulous cashier with 4+ years of experience in clothing retail. Skilled at operating a variety of cashier systems and dealing with problems and returns. Attention-to-detail and excellent communication skills, alongside a perfect attendance record."
"High-performing and knowledgeable customer service specialist with 5+ years in SaaS customer care, tech support, and troubleshooting. Proficient in Intercom, Sprout Social, and Zendesk. Holds a customer service satisfaction average of 81%, which is within the highest percentile at [insert current company]."
"Attentive, experienced account manager with a proven track record in the logistics industry. Excellent communication and relationship-building skills, with an ability to manage client expectations and meet KPIs. Managed accounts worth over $300K, including blue-chip clients like Morgan Stanley and Facebook."
"Software support specialist with 7+ years of experience with Microsoft. Duties include supporting clients, user account management, and training new interns. Built several long-term relationships with a variety of B2B clients. Skills include problem-solving and translating complex issues into layman's terms."
"Solutions-oriented computer scientist with 4+ years of experience working with tech start-ups. Proficient in Java and React Native. Specializing in data security and software architecture. Led and managed a banking application project with a team of eight people and a budget of $600,000."
"Knowledgeable and passionate IT specialist with 4+ years of experience in network support. Experience with Microsoft operating systems, Mac OS X, LAN/WAN networking, and HelpDesk. Team player with a deep passion for problem solving and troubleshooting, with experience in planning and scheduling system maintenance."
"Experienced, creative Software Engineer with 10+ years of experience in developing software solutions to increase business productivity. Experienced in software development at a variety of levels. Worked at all stages of the development lifecycle, from concept to delivery. Great people and management skills, with an eye for detail and an ability to bring in a project on time and on schedule."
"Hard-working senior data analyst with 8+ years of experience in analyzing data to drive business solutions. Excellent knowledge in analytics, mathematics, and statistics. Looking to employ an advanced understanding of the business operation and analytic tools to the role of Data Analyst Manager."
“Rigorous and creative Data Scientist with a strong track record of delivering actionable and valuable insights via data analytics. 8+ years of experience working in the financial services industry. Expert knowledge of algorithms, machine learning, and statistical models. Looking to lead a team using insight reporting and predictive modelling to improve revenue and efficiency at [insert company]."
"Compassionate and hard-working registered nurse with 5+ years of experience in ER. Proven ability to work in a stressful and high-paced environment. Excellent communication skills and ability to develop relationships with distressed and challenging patients. Adept at administrative work and training new employees."
“Detail-oriented and patient-focused Medical Assistant with 8+ years of experience across a variety of healthcare services. Experience with administering medication, handling confidential paperwork, and supporting diagnostic treatment procedures. Passionate about providing exceptional patient care with exceptional teamwork and people skills."
"Licensed dental practitioner with 7+ years of experience in community healthcare centres. Help dentists plan and perform a variety of procedures, including X-ray and digital imaging. Practiced in 4-handed dentistry work for cleanings, removals, and restoration."
"Senior graphic designer with 11+ years of experience in website and branding design in a variety of industries. Proficient in Adobe Suite software, like Photoshop and Illustrator. Experience in multimedia, print design, and vector art. Known for exceeding expectations and delivering work on time."
"Passionate Creative Director with 15+ years of experience in the fashion industry. Led conceptual development within niche brands, developing pitches and brand stories based on a deep awareness of our buyer personas. Won several long-term contracts worth over $250K. Looking to use my expertise to help [insert company] develop new clothing ranges."
"Creative and hard-working designer with 5+ years of experience in product design and graphics. Expert in market research and new product design. Passionate about sustainability and the use of eco-friendly materials. Created and launched a line of plastic-free children's toys that have generated revenue of $250K in sales."
"Detail-oriented UI designer with 4+ years of experience creating engaging apps for the Gaming industry. Passionate about streamlined and minimalist interfaces. Designed UX and UI for first-person shooter [insert game] that featured as a best-seller on the AppStore."
"People-oriented and ambitious public relations strategist with 10+ years of experience directing PR campaigns. Proven abilities developing and managing media strategies for brands and media personalities. Proficient at measuring campaign effectiveness across digital and media channels."
"Seasoned and dependable warehouse worker with 15+ years of experience working at [insert distributor]. Skills include inventory control, quality control, and order checking. Has OSHA-compliant forklift certification and health and safety training. Detail-oriented and hard-working. Looking to move into a supervisory position."
"Diligent, discreet housekeeper with 15+ years of experience. Past experience working in private residences and hotels. Dependable and punctual, with knowledge of cleaning tools and materials."
To write a resume summary follow these rules:
When you don’t have any work experience, it is best to write a resume objective instead of a summary in your resume. Writing a resume objective will help the hiring manager understand your career goals and help compliment your ambitions with the right skills.
Ideally, a resume summary should not be more than 3 sentences. Any resume summary more than 3 lines would appear to be lengthy.
Always start your resume summary either with your job title or with your total years of experience in the industry.
Figuring out how to write a resume summary requires some study and practice. You need to summarize your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements in a short, punchy paragraph of no more than 4-6 sentences.
A strong resume summary is an excellent way to cut through the noise and inform hiring managers of your suitability.
The best, most effective resume summaries all have a similar structure:
The key goal of a resume summary is to grab the hiring manager's attention. By stating your current role, experience, and achievements, hiring managers can quickly understand who you are and what you’re capable of.
VP Marketing & Resume Expert
Madison is the VP Marketing and General Manager at VisualCV. He's a seasoned marketing leader, resume writing and career marketing expert and now helping people grow their own career marketing strategies to build a career they love.
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