Your resume is one of the first things a hiring manager will see about you when applying for a job. You won’t be there in person to describe your experience, or why you would be a good fit for their company, so you need to let the resume do all the work for you. Because of this, you need to make sure that each section on the resume will stand out and can help you land that job. And adding a resume summary is a great way to make that happen.
In this article, we will take the time to talk more about what a resume summary is all about and how you can write a winning summary that will get the hiring manager to take a look at you and choose to ask you for an interview.
When you utilize the summary on the resume correctly, you can show the recruiter exactly why you are perfect for their open position.
What is Resume Summary Statement?
Placed right after your resume’s contact information, the resume summary statement will briefly highlight some of your most relevant qualifications for the current position you are applying for.
While you likely have a lot of great experience and skills to share, this statement should only be a few sentences long, so you need to focus on what will lend you well for this position.
Think about your most important credentials and what would impress the recruiter. Then add it into the summary for the hiring manager to glance through and learn more about you. You want to use it to show off your most vital assets immediately.
If the hiring manager reads nothing else of the resume, you at least want to ensure that your pertinent skills and qualifications are seen in the resume summary.
What can you bring to the open position that makes you unique from all the other candidates? If the hiring manager knew nothing else about you, what are two or three skills or past jobs that you are most proud of and want to make sure they know about from the beginning? This information should be in the resume summary.
There are many names that you can refer to the professional resume summary based on the industry you are on and how you plan to use this bit of space on the resume. For example, it may be called a personal statement or a professional summary rather than a resume summary.
Some of the other names given to the summary for a resume include:
- Executive resume summary
- Qualifications summary
- Summary of qualifications
- Summary of experience
- Career summary
No matter the name you give to this summary, it needs to adequately summarize what makes you a unique candidate for an open position, gaining the hiring manager’s attention and ensuring they will choose to read the rest of your resume.
How Long Should It Be?
Your resume summary should not be very long. If it takes up half the page on the resume, you are missing out on the point and will bore the recruiter. Your resume can go into more details about your past work experience and qualifications, but the summary for a resume should only be two or three sentences long.
Your goal is to impress the recruiter with your unique value within 8 to 10 seconds. The resume summary should never be longer than that. You may need to write down some of your unique experiences and then fine-tune them to make a compelling summary that is not too long but still portrays the value you can bring to the employer’s table.
When To Include Summary Section In Resume?
Not every job applicant must add a summary section on their resume.
If you are entering the workplace or only have one or two years of experience, writing out the summary section may not make sense.
These summaries are best for job seekers with lots of work experience, especially in the same field and if they plan to continue working in the same field in the new position.
The summary is an excellent way for the applicant to organize and focus years of job experience into two or three lines. While the resume will go into more detail about the exact roles and positions, the resume summary helps to concentrate on your highest accomplishments and put them right at the time. This is hard to do if you do not have industry experience or have notable gaps in your work history.
A good rule of thumb is to add a resume summary to your resume if you have three or more years of professional experience in that industry. This will be enough time to build a good work history and have some notable accomplishments to share with the recruiter. On the other hand, a resume objective is an excellent option to choose if you do not have three years of experience to share.
Characteristics Of Good Resume Summary
As you create a resume for a new position, a summary statement is a great introduction to the document, highlighting some of the most relevant components you put into the resume. You need to tailor the statement based on the industry, the specific company you are applying to, and the open job position.
A resume summary will provide you with a unique way to highlight years of professional experience and skills, making it beneficial to add to your resume.
Make your resume get noticed faster
Recruiters see potentially hundreds of resumes for each job posting. And in the case of an HR professional, they may have several open positions simultaneously. As a result, they do not have the time to look through and read each resume in-depth. Instead, in many cases, they will scan through the document to see whether the profile you paint out for them fits with what they want for the job.
To help make the scanning easier, you must ensure that your most relevant experience and skills are as easy to find as possible. And the best way to do this is to have a strong summary statement right at the start. If you want to increase your chances of landing that interview, add a resume statement.
Matching your skills to the job description is crucial to helping you seem like the perfect fit for the job. Recruiters will add specific keywords to the posting to ensure candidates know what skills and experience are the most important. Look carefully through the job description and see which keywords appear.
You should be able to pick out at least three or four repeated keywords. Your goal is to include these into your resume summary, aligning your skills to what the recruiter is looking for.
This does not mean you should lie about your experience and what you can bring to the table. But it does mean you can choose to highlight specific experiences and skills based on what the hiring manager is looking for.
If they are looking for someone good at time management, you could show an example of when you effectively managed your time to bring success to a past employer.
Highlight your skills and experience earlier
Any resume you write needs to be simple and easy to ready. However, when you have numerous years of experience in an industry, the resume can sometimes feel complex and a little bulky. This is where the summary statement can come in to help.
By taking the most critical information from the resume and turning it into a short highlight reel, you will be able to capture the attention of the recruiter right away.
Your goal is to pick out the experience and skills most likely to show you as the perfect fit for the job. Remember that this may vary depending on your position, so you should write a new resume statement for each job you apply for.
With a well-written summary statement on the resume, you can encourage the recruiter to look through the rest of the resume and choose you for an interview.
Resume Summary Vs. Resume Objective
You can choose between writing a resume summary or a resume objective before sending the document to a hiring manager. Do not waste your time writing out both because you can find a better way to utilize the space you have. These two options may sound the same, but they have a few key differences.
To start, a resume summary will help give a quick highlight of your years of experience to impress the hiring manager. If you have worked in the industry for three or more years, a resume summary is a great way to condense down all of that experience to show off to the recruiter.
Then, in two or three sentences, you can show your skills, experience, and education to the recruiter, giving them a taste of why you would be perfect for the position.
The resume objective is slightly different because it is simply a statement of your career goals. For those who are just entering the job market or do not have much work experience to put on their resume, a resume objective may be a better option. The resume objective is a better option if you want to highlight your background for the position, but you have not worked long in the industry.
How to Write Resume Summary
Now it is time to get to work writing your resume summary. This summary will be unique to your skills and experience, and you should tailor it to the specific job posting you wish to apply for. With that in mind, some of the steps to remember as you write your resume summary include:
Why should a company hire you?
The main question you should answer when writing your summary statement for a resume is why the company should hire you. Think about all the other applicants trying to get that same position, and then write a winning summary that helps you outshine all the rest.
As you write the summary, think about what makes you a strong candidate in your field. Are there any unique experiences or skills that you know, especially ones that are hard to get, that others in the field will not have?
Suppose you are in the nursing field and have worked with pediatric patients or have a special certification. In that case, this may be good information to add to the summary so the recruiter can see it immediately.
How can you add value to the business?
How will you be able to add value to your future employer if they choose to hire you? This is an excellent place to talk about some of your notable accomplishments from the past. Were you able to save the company money, reduce their waste, or set up a new system that was more efficient at getting the work done? This is information you should place into the resume summary.
If you talk about any of your experiences and accomplishments here, use numbers and percentages.
Let the recruiter know how much time or money you saved, how much you increased sales, or how much waste you could cut down on.
Complex numbers are better than just talking about the tasks and will impress the hiring manager.
Include keywords from the job description
Adding keywords from the job description is vital if you want to stand out. First, consider looking at the job description. Do you see a few keywords that pop up several times throughout? Then some words are critical to the recruiter and the employer, so adding them to the summary will make a big difference.
After you identify a few of these keywords, look at your skills and experience and see how you can align them to those keywords. Then, with a few of those ready to go, you can write a resume summary that will stick out and may even get you noticed faster.
Resume Summary Templates
Following are the professional resume summary templates that you can download for free:
Resume Summary Examples
As you write your resume summary, you need to make sure that you are writing something that is short and sweet and will make you stand out from the crowd and get attention.
Some examples of the right and wrong way to write your resume summary includes:
Handled customer complaints on occasion. Managed several properties. Looked over rental agreements and made changes if approved. (wrong)
15+ years’ experience as a professional property manager, handling tenant complaints promptly. Oversaw 20 properties at a time, helped with writing tenant/landlord leases, including making necessary changes to accommodate tenants with disabilities and other needs, and effectively collected rent on time. (right)
Helped run a dental office and completed occasional clerical work. (wrong)
Professional dental associate with nine years of experience helping run dental offices, including maintaining client schedules, office workflows, and billing policies. (right)
Worked in a warehouse for five years, managing other employees and reducing staff turnover. Worked on a system that reduced wasted time getting the product to the customer. (wrong)
Qualified warehouse manager with 15 years of experience. Managed a team of 50 employees, reducing staff turnover by 45% in the past five years. Helped implement a new system that reduced wasted time by an estimated 10% in six months. (right)
Worked with customers in a fast-paced retail location (wrong)
Customer service professional for 5+ years, committed to balancing the goals of my employer while helping customers find solutions that worked for them. Accurately handled 200+ customer transactions a day with 100% accuracy. (right)
Worked in a high school and middle school setting for several years, aiding students in understanding materials and passing state standardized tests. (wrong)
Dedicated High School English teacher with 11+ years of experience. Assisted students with tutoring and extra credit to improve overall class scores by 8% over three years and reached above average scores for state standardized tests five years in a row. (right)
A resume summary is one of the best solutions to make your resume stand out from the crowd. You can tailor this to showcase your relevant skills and experience based on the industry, company, and job posting you plan to apply for. Taking the time to craft two to three great sentences that outline why you would make a great fit for a new employer will help give them a taste of what is in the rest of the resume and will make it easier for you to get the interview.
A good resume summary should not be extended. Anything longer than three sentences takes up too much space on the resume and may cut into the other components you must include. Instead, limit your skills and experience to just a few lines, making it a powerful selling point to show the recruiter why you would make a good fit with their company.