Your resume will likely be the first impression you make on a hiring manager or recruiter so, you’ll want to make it count.
In the past, resumes started with objective statements, which were designed to showcase your goals for your job search. This was a good way to convey your ambition to an employer. Modern resumes, on the other hand, have given birth to a new trend—the summary statement.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about what a professional summary is, why you should write one, and how you can do so effectively. We’ll also walk through a few examples of resume summaries that you can use as inspiration when you begin to write one for yourself.
What Is a Professional Summary?
The summary statement is a few short lines of text that appear at the top of your resume and briefly summarize your professional experience. In other words, it’s a brief summary of the highlights in your resume.
In your professional summary, you should highlight your main features and strengths that you think qualify you for a particular job. For instance, if you have worked as an accountant for six years, you may want to mention that in your professional summary.
Resume summaries typically vary according to job opportunities. So, if you are applying for a junior accounts manager job, your summary may be different than if you are applying for a mid-level post. That’s because the skills and experience you’ll need to highlight to impress an employer will be different.
The people who benefit most from writing a summary are those who have years of experience in a particular field. If you are still starting out in your career—and only have a year or two of experience—then you may instead want to use the space on your resume to highlight your accomplishments in each position you have held.
Why Should I Write a Professional Summary?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider including a well-crafted summary on your resume.
The first benefit is that resume summaries help you make a good impression on a recruiter faster than you otherwise would be able to. By mentioning your core skills and attributes at the top of your resume, you will be able to maximize the chance of an employer realizing your value, without them having to read through the entire page.
Resume summaries will also help you draw attention to the most relevant points of your professional history from the beginning of the document. If you have a lot of experience in one field, it can be difficult for a recruiter to keep track of everything that is significant. However, if you write a summary, you can highlight the main points that you want a recruiter to remember.
How to Write a Professional Summary
So, you’re convinced that writing a professional summary will help you set yourself apart from other candidates. Now you may be wondering, “How do I write a professional summary?”.
Let’s break down a three-step process you can use to craft an effective professional summary.
Step #1: Reflect on Your Skills
Resume summaries only last a few sentences, which means you need to make every word count. Before you start writing, take some time to think about which skills and experiences you think are most relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Do your organizational skills uniquely qualify you for the job? Or do you think that a technical skill you have will make you stand out? Whatever you decide to include, make sure that it is a skill that you have experience leveraging, as you may be asked about it further down the line in job interviews.
Step #2: Write an Elevator Pitch
As we discussed earlier, the goal of a resume is to impress an employer. What you include in your resume should clearly relate to the job for which you are applying, so that the employer can easily see how you can add value to their business.
When you are writing your professional summary, you should think about it as an elevator pitch. To do so, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Who are you?
- What experience do you have relevant to the job?
- How can you help a business?
Your elevator pitch should start with an adjective that describes yourself and includes action words that describe your experience. For instance, you may want to describe yourself as “highly organized” or “creative” or “detail-oriented” in your summary.
Step #3: Review the Length
The professional summary is only one part of your resume so, you need to make sure that it does not run on too long.
Before you complete your summary, read over, and make sure that it is not too long. Does your summary take up too much space on the page? A good rule is that if your summary is any more than four sentences, it needs to be trimmed down.
In a summary, the length is not equated with quality. Instead, you’ll want to do everything you can to highlight the main points that qualify you for a particular position. This will help you set yourself apart from other candidates, and ensure that you leave a positive impression on an employer after they have finished reading your resume.
Examples of Professional Summary Statements
To help you write a professional summary statement, we have compiled a few examples for people with different backgrounds and experiences. You can use these as a guide for when you are writing your next summary.
Example #1: Administrative assistant
Detail-oriented administrative assistant with seven years of experience supporting high-level executives. Proficient in using CRM technologies, the Microsoft Office package, and able to learn quickly. Excellent oral, written, and digital communication skills.
Example #2: Front end web developer
Creative front end web developer with six years of experience building cutting-edge web applications. Good problem solver who has employed the use of React, Vue, and Ember in prior projects to write efficient applications that have scaled to over 250,000 users.
Example #3: Sales manager
Seasoned sales manager with four years of experience successfully selling products in the shoe industry. Increased sales in my territory by 10% through crafting closer relationships with clients, and has experience in conducting surveys to find ways in which products can be improved.
Resume summaries are a great way for you to make your resume stand out. This section is typically added to resumes of individuals with years of industry experience, and those who want to make particular parts of their experience clear on their resume.
However, summaries are not a place to reiterate what you have already said. Rather, they should provide a quick overview of who you are, and what experiences make you a good candidate for the job.
The summary you write for your resume should be revised depending on the position you’re applying for. This is to ensure you are always discussing skills that match the needs of a specific employer.
By following the tips in this guide, you should be able to write an effective summary statement that outlines your unique value to an employer. Your summary statement may end up being what catches the attention of a recruiter, thus leading to a job interview.