It seems like an everlasting debate on resume summary vs resume objective is finally over. More and more career experts agree than a professionally written summary for a resume is more effective than any objective statement. So the discussion nowadays has shifted more towards how to write a resume summary as opposed to whether job seekers should have one on their resumes. Because it is the first section the hiring authorities stumble upon when reviewing resumes, it is unlikely the importance of this resume section can be overstated. Many employers know they won’t hire the candidates based on this part of the resume alone so job seekers need to be very careful how they phrase it.
Resume Summary FAQs
Before we share some powerful resume summary examples that land interviews, lets briefly address the basic questions about this particular portion of a resume. Most people don’t know what is the purpose of this section, what kind of information they should include there, how long it should be as well as how to write a powerful resume summary. Let’s answer these questions one by one.
What is a summary on a resume?
A resume summary is a brief overview of your entire career. It can have different names (career summary, overview of qualifications, summary statement, qualifications summary, etc.). Regardless of the name you choose, the purpose of this section is always the same – to generate the interest of the hiring authorities by highlighting the most impressive and relevant expertise, accomplishments, and skills. It should give a glimpse into who you are and what value you can bring to the company before listing your employment history and other educational credentials.
What to put in resume summary?
The biggest mistake when writing a resume summary statement is to copy-paste content from your experience or skills section. Because it is the first item the employers will read on the main application document you want to get to the point right away – why should they hire you? This is the question a summary should answer. Briefly outline your most impressive and relevant competencies, skills, and strength that differentiate you from other candidates. An effective summary section always demonstrates how a candidate can add value to the team or company.
How long should a summary be?
As much as you want to share your skills and qualifications, restrict yourself to 4-6 statements. It should speak to your professional experiences only. This is not the place for addressing employment gaps, career issues, career change, etc. Try to be selective about your experience when writing your resume statement by choosing 4-6 sentences that show why you should be the one getting a job offer.
How to write a good summary section?
You can know all technical details about this portion of a resume but still, it takes the knowledge of the hiring process to understand how to write a good resume summary. But to cut the story short, you must know what employers need and want. You can extract this kind of information from the job ad (see requirements and desired qualifications sections), company website, people working in that company or even industry news. A good summary section must be concise, to the point, and highlight the value you can bring to the company.
Resume Summary Examples and Writing Tips
Crafting a resume profile (summary) isn’t the easiest job in the world. In fact, it may be the hardest section to craft on your resume outline. Many job seekers spend hours before they can produce a resume summary that reflects their key strengths and qualifications in a way that would attract the attention of hiring authorities. If you are one of such job seekers, here are a couple of tips that may help you create a resume summary:
- Leave it for the end.
Although your summary statement should appear at the beginning of your resume, you might want to work on it at the very end of the resume writing process. This way it will be easier to select your key achievements and highlight your value.
- Focus on what a potential employer wants.
Be it a resume summary for a career change or customer service resume summary, it should always address the requirements of the job. In other words, effective summary sections are always about what employers want.
- Emphasize related accomplishments.
If you have increased revenue for your past employers it must mean you will likely be able to do it for your future employer as well. So highlight what impact you made as opposed to what skills you have; just keep in mind to be relevant.
- Proofread your resume statement.
It must be absolutely flawless as well as to communicate tons of information in just a couple of sentences. Additionally, you can give your resume to your friend or relative – a second pair of eyes can spot things you would have otherwise missed.
Now, we can list another ten to fifteen tips on how to write a resume summary for career change situations or how to craft a customer service resume summary but we believe it is much more effective to show examples. From there, it will be much easier to understand how it is done. Please note that all of the resume summary examples below have context as they were taken out of real applications.
Sales Leader Resume Summary Example
This particular summary was taken from the resume of a sales leader and strategist. You can see how these two aspects are highlighted in the summary below. Sales management, project management, forecasting skills - these are all essential keywords extracted from the job opening the candidate will apply for with the resume. 18 years of experience along with an analytic mindset make the candidate a good match to the job.
Regional Sales Manager Resume Summary Example
Here is another sales summary although this one is more focused on performance management and results. Although this candidate is less experienced in sales than the previous one, he still has a lot to offer in terms of increasing the company's revenue. Such resume statements encourage the hiring authorities to dig deeper into a resume because it becomes obvious that the candidate must have major accomplishments that are worth looking at.
Banking Resume Summary Example
The summary below is tailored for the branch manager position in the banking sector. Thus, all of the skills and proficiencies highlighted in this section are about branch management (i.e. process improvement tools, financial goals, performance management, staff development).
Marketing Resume Summary Example
This is an excerpt from a senior-level resume. The candidate is aiming for the Marketing Director position, thus the summary is all about marketing, management, and results. Who wouldn't want a person able to deliver programs that deliver a high ROI? Exceeding traffic objectives and P/L targets only add up to the potential value of this particular candidate.
Executive Assistant Resume Summary Example
This executive assistant resume summary is split into three parts: a brief summary statement consisting of two sentences, executive-level experience highlights, and technical skills. This helps the candidate to capture a wide range of executive assistant jobs since most of them would feature the information emphasized in the summary.
Administrative Assistant Resume Summary Example
This administrative assistant resume summary is very similar to the one featured above, only with no emphasis on an executive level. Besides, it is formatted differently - a bulleted list instead of a paragraph. This improves readability of the summary and makes it more reader-friendly (the only downside is that it takes more space). As you can see, the candidate included all of the keywords relevant to the typical position of an administrative assistant.
Production Manager Resume Summary Example
Here is another bulleted list, this time taken out of a production manager resume. You can notice that the candidate clearly highlights the ability to achieve specific results: to increase the operations' efficiency and overachieving production goals. The rest is the framing that helps to understand the background better.
Customer Service Resume Summary Example
This customer service resume summary is clearly demonstrating that the candidate is extremely experienced and well-versed in created positive experiences for prospective and existing clients. The third statement is very results-oriented - it also demonstrates that the person is skilled in converting quality customer service into the numbers that help companies earn more money.
Nursing Resume Summary Example
This nursing resume summary is packed with keywords that were found in the job ad. Things like nursing care, clinical experience, Quality Care standards, and Care of Excellence are those hooks that will help ATS select this resume among many others. Another interesting thing about this particular summary is how the candidate listed the experience splitting the managerial experience consisting of 5 years and the total number of years spent in healthcare.
IT Resume Summary Example
This one is quite technical as it targets the database architect and developer jobs - very technical positions. Sometimes, it is a good idea to mention software and tools in this kind of summaries, however if the list of technical skills too long, it is better to list it right after the summary. In this case, the job seekers decided to outline the key strengths and experiences prior to listing technical skills, which means the section with technical proficiencies is to follow.
Resume Summary Examples: Key Findings
Depending on how you start your resume, the hiring managers will either be interested in taking a closer look at the document or they will discard it right away. Therefore, the resume summary statement plays an extremely important part in the overall success of any application. Based on the resume summary examples above as well as the latest resume writing techniques, here are key findings on the subject of summary development:
- It should specifically address the requirements of your target job
Everything you choose to include in this section must be relevant for the employer. Keep in mind that this is the overview of your career that should be screaming how good you will be at your new job.
- Be brief
Don't go over 5-6 sentences. Rarely you can do it but in cases when you are absolutely sure that this will not become a turn-off. Also, you may want to make sure that your summary doesn't look like a big block of text.
- Results-oriented summary beats a descriptive summary
Employers always want to know what you accomplished rather than what you did during your past employments. Therefore, it is important to mention how you made the difference for your past employers.
- Target keywords
It is no secret that many companies use applicant tracking software that selects only those resumes that contain relevant keywords. Make sure you include those in your summary.
- Write it in the end
It will be much easier to write your summary after you are done with your experience, skills, and other sections. Zoom out a little bit to have a look at your experience at a different angle, analyze the job ad, and then write your resume summary!