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How to Write a Resume Summary [+ Examples]
A resume summary is a brief explanation about who you are professionally. It can help recruiters or hiring managers quickly gain a sense of your experience and skills.
A resume summary delivers a concise story about your experience near the top of your resume. It's intended to help grab a recruiter's or hiring manager's attention, and help them gain a sense of who you are as a candidate and what you have to offer.
Depending on your professional experience and career goals, a resume summary isn't always necessary, but adding one to your application materials may be beneficial. In this article, we’ll cover when you should use a resume summary, what it should typically include, and examples you can follow to craft your own.
Resume summaries: Key facts
Strong resume summaries tell a story, synthesizing in narrative form the experience and skills you detail elsewhere using bullet points. Generally, it’s a good idea to include information about your:
Experience: Lead with your most recent job title and summarize your years of experience.
Impact: Include any major accomplishments and/or achievements, especially if you can quantify them.
Skills: Detail any important skills—both workplace and technical—that relate to the job to which you’re applying.
Senior project manager with eight years of experience successfully leading large teams and identifying opportunities to reduce overhead and cost.
Licensed microbiology technologist with over five years of experience working at a major hospital lab.
Successful certified financial planner with six years of experience consulting with clients, determining their long-term goals, and developing tailored plans to achieve results.
Creative social media manager with four years of experience overseeing all major channels for a fintech start-up. Trained in Hootsuite, Buffer, and Google Trends.
When should you use a resume summary?
There is no strict rule about when to use a resume summary. Generally, it’s more common to include one when you’ve amassed some professional experience, say around three years, because it can help you outline the larger theme of your career.
You can also use a resume summary when you’ve held a number of different jobs and want to connect those various choices to a larger career path.
If you’re looking for your first job or are a recent graduate, it may be preferable to use a resume objective , which includes a summary but also specifically outlines what you want to find in your next role.
Resume summary vs. resume objective: What's the difference?
A resume summary is a synopsis of your career trajectory and accomplishments. A resume objective includes that same information but also states your more immediate career goals.
How long should a resume summary be?
The length of your resume summary will depend on the amount of experience you have to convey and kind of page length you have to work with. If you have less than 10 years of experience, keep your resume to one page and use a one to two sentence summary . If you have more than 10 years of experience, keep your resume to two pages and use a three to five sentence summary .
Let’s look at two different examples in terms of length:
Creative UX designer with over three years of experience. Skilled in app and website development, including user research, wireframe and site map design, and A/B testing.
Creative UX designer with ten years of experience managing web-based projects, specifically apps and websites. Skilled in undertaking user research to understand both user flow and end user; creating wireframe and site maps to understand best practices; and conducting user tests, including A/B testing, to identify issues and fix before launch. Organized and detail-oriented individual with experience working remotely.
Where should a summary go on your resume?
No matter which type of resume you use, a summary appears near the top, usually underneath the contact information you include as part of your header. It’s important to keep a summary as close to the top as possible because it sets the stage for the information that follows and can help a recruiter get a better sense of your experience right away.
Resume summary tips
Use the following tips to craft an impactful summary that highlights your candidacy.
1. Align your summary with a company’s ideal candidate.
Review job descriptions and take note of any language used to describe a company’s ideal candidate, especially when it comes to their responsibilities. If you have experience handling those tasks, highlight them in your summary. For example, if a company wants a candidate who can “identify new tools to streamline processes,” talk about your experience tackling that problem in the past.
Learn more: Resume Keywords: How to Find the Right Words to Beat the ATS
2. Highlight technical and workplace skills.
You’ll also want to peruse job descriptions and take note of any required workplace and technical skills so that you can address them in your summary. Technical skills are the expertise you have working with specific tools or performing specific tasks related to a job. Workplace skills typically refer to the general skills you develop through work and which make you a strong employee, such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.
Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?
3. Find adjectives to sell your skills.
A summary takes up valuable space on a resume, so choose your words carefully . You can find ways to add adjectives that qualify your experience and training. For example, instead of saying “Project manager with X years of experience,” you can describe yourself more specifically, saying, “Versatile project manager with X years of experience.”
Strengthen your credentials and qualifications by earning a Professional Certificate from industry leaders such as Google, Meta, and IBM. Learn about growing areas like Project Management , UX Design , Data Science , Marketing Analytics , and Sales while developing job-ready skills for each type of profession. Plus, when you successfully complete a Professional Certificate, you can add that detail to your resume summary.
10 Ways to Enhance Your Resume
How to Feature and Format Key Skills on Your Resume
Preparing for Your Video Interview: 16 Tips for Success
How to List Resume References: Guide and Sample
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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How to Write a Resume Profile or Summary Statement
A resume summary or career proﬁle is a brief statement at the top of your resume. If you are a career changer or have many years of experience, craft a powerful summary to highlight your accomplishments and skills. Show the employer, at a glance, why you’re qualiﬁed for the job!
Resume Proﬁle Guidelines
General guidelines to keep in mind:
- Keep your proﬁle short. Two to ﬁve phrases written in a bulleted form or brief paragraph will do. Think of the summary as a snapshot of your skills, accomplishments, and knowledge.
- Label your proﬁle professionally: Summary of Qualiﬁcations, Career Proﬁle, Career Highlights, Professional Summary, or just Summary or Proﬁle.
- Place your proﬁle section at the top of your resume page, above your work history, so that the employer can see it when they ﬁrst review your resume.
How To Create Your Proﬁle
To choose what to highlight in your summary, research positions of interest and write a list of the common requirements and qualiﬁcations.
Assess your skills and credentials. How does your background and experience align with the qualiﬁcations outlined in the job description? Select skills, experiences, special knowledge, and accomplishments that you want to highlight in your proﬁle selection.
Next draft a few phrases that summarize your Skills/Experience/Accomplishments/Knowledge/Education
Now write a sentence describing your “professional role,” which you can use as the opening line in your proﬁle. For example:
- Accomplished Marketing Executive with over 10 year experience in…
- Fully knowledgeable in…
- Experience managing professional staﬀ including…
Finally, put all of the sentences together and edit for a clean, concise, and compelling proﬁle statement.
Successful professional with corporate marketing and training experience seeking position in nonproﬁt organization leveraging fundraising and program development skills. Recognized for ability to develop strong relationships and plan strategically. Strengths include:
- Time Management
- Relationship Building
- Public Speaking
Highly skilled and results-oriented professional with solid academic preparation holding a Juris Doctor degree and extensive experience in intelligence and special operations seeks position in risk management. Proven ability to assess and manage complex obstacles; viewed as a strong troubleshooter. Successful in intense and demanding environments, providing decisive team leadership and structure with a track record of motivating and developing soldiers. Willing to relocate.
Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eﬃciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.
We have many resources available to help you navigate career change and showcase your transferable skills.
- For tips on resume structure and content read through Writing a Resume: Getting Started and Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points
- For detailed instruction, view the webinars on Writing a Results Focused and Targeted Resume and How to Perfect Your Professional Narrative
Writing a Resume: Getting Started
If you’re applying for an internship or job, attending a networking event, or seeking a volunteer opportunity, chances are you’ll need a resume. We’ll walk you through the basics.
Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points
How can you make your resume stand out to an employer? This resource will help you learn how to use the STAR method to develop strong bullet points that highlight your skills and accomplishments relevant to a position.
How to Explain Employment Gaps
Learn tips to address employment gaps on your application materials and in interviews.
- Interview Prep
- Career Advice
- Resume Builder
24 Resume Summary Examples That Get Interviews
300+ Interview Questions Answered.
300+ Interview Questions with Expert Answers.
A resume summary statement usually comes right after a job seeker’s contact info and before other resume sections such as skills and work experience. It provides employers with a brief overview of a candidate’s career accomplishments and qualifications before they read further. Because of how early it appears on the document, your resume summary statement (or your CV “profile” in the UK) is one of the first places recruiters and employers look. And without the right information, they’ll doubt that you’re qualified and may move to another resume.
So I got in touch with a select group of professional resume writers, coaches and career experts to get their best resume summary examples you can use and adapt to write a resume summary that stands out and gets interviews.
As a former recruiter myself, I’ll also share my best tips to write your resume summary effectively.
Why the Resume/CV Summary is Important
You may have heard that recruiters only spend 8-10 seconds looking at your resume. The truth is: they spend that long deciding whether to read more. They do glance that quickly at first and may move on if your background doesn’t look like a fit. However, if you grab their attention, they’ll read far more. Recruiters aren’t deciding to interview you in 8-10 seconds, but they are ruling people out in 8-10 seconds. And this is why your resume summary is so crucial. It appears high up on your resume (usually right after your header/contact info) and is one of the first sections employers see. So it’s part of what they’ll see in the first 8-10 seconds.
Your resume summary statement is one of your first (and one of very few) chances to get the employer to stop skimming through their pile of resumes and focus on YOU.
10 Resume Summary Examples:
These career summary examples will help you at any experience level – whether you’re writing a professional summary after a long executive career, or writing your first resume summary without any experience! After you finish this article you’re NEVER going to have to send out a limp, weak resume summary statement again (and you’ll get far more interviews because of it).
1. Healthcare Sales Executive Resume Summary Example:
Turnaround & Ground Up Leadership – Concept-to-execution strategies for untapped products, markets + solutions that yield 110% revenue growth – Negotiates partnerships with leading distributors + hospitals—Medline to Centara + Novant Health to Mayo Clinic – Revitalizes underperforming sales organizations via scalable, sustainable infrastructures emulated as best practice – C-Level networks of clinical + supply chain leadership acquired during tenures with XXX, XXX and XXX
Why this resume summary is good:
This resumes summary example’s strength lies in the detailed, unique information that has been included. By including revenue stats, names of past employers and partners, the reader right away sees that this person will bring to the role a strong networking ability with key players in his industry, and more importantly can build, grow and revitalize a sales organization, market or product.
By: Virginia Franco, Founder of Virginia Franco Resumes and Forbes contributor.
2. 15+ Year Business Owner Resume Summary Statement:
Dynamic and motivated marketing professional with a proven record of generating and building relationships, managing projects from concept to completion, designing educational strategies, and coaching individuals to success. Skilled in building cross-functional teams, demonstrating exceptional communication skills, and making critical decisions during challenges. Adaptable and transformational leader with an ability to work independently, creating effective presentations, and developing opportunities that further establish organizational goals.
Why this is a good summary section:
This is a resume summary statement that was for a candidate returning to work after having her own business for 15+ years. Because of this, we needed to emphasize her soft skills and what she can bring to this potential position. In addition, we highlighted the skills she has honed as a business owner so that she can utilize these qualifications as a sales professional, account manager, and someone knowledgeable about nutrition, medicine, and the overall sales process.
By: Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish. MBA, Ph.D., CPRW, and Founder of Feather Communications
3. Human Resources Generalist Resume Summary Example:
Human Resources Generalist with progressive experience managing employee benefits & compliance, employee hiring & onboarding, performance management processes, licensure tracking and HR records. Dependable and organized team player with the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. Skilled at building relationships with employees across all levels of an organization. Proficient with HRIS, applicant tracking and benefits management.
Why this is a good resume summary:
The applicant highlights their experience across a wide range of HR functions from the very first sentence, and continues this pattern throughout the rest of the summary. They then use easily digestible langue to showcase their hard skills (in the first & fourth sentences) and soft skills (in the second & third sentences). They also integrate a variety of keywords to get past automated job application systems , without sounding spammy or without overdoing it.
By: Kyle Elliott, MPA/CHES, Career Coach and Consultant
4. Social Media Marketing CV Profile Example (UK):
Social media expert with successes in the creation and management of social media strategies and campaigns for global retail organisations. Extensive experience in the commercial utilisation of multiple social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; I build successful social strategies that increase brand awareness, promote customer engagement and ultimately drive web traffic and conversions.
Why this summary is good:
This summary is well-written, short, sharp, and gives recruiters a high-level explanation of the candidate’s core offerings in a persuasive and punchy style. A quick scan of this profile tells you the exact type of social media platforms the candidate is an expert in, as well as the campaigns they have experience running and types of organizations they have worked for. Most importantly, the summary is rounded off by showing the results that this person achieves for their employers, such as increased web traffic and conversions.
Editor’s note: This CV profile summary was written for the UK market… this is a great one to use/copy, but make sure you put it through a spell-checker if you’re applying for jobs in the US (utilisation vs. utilization, etc.)
By: Andrew Fennell, Director at StandOut CV , contributor for The Guardian and Business Insider
5. Marketing Manager Professional Summary Example:
Marketing Manager with over eight years of experience. Proven success in running email marketing campaigns and implementing marketing strategies that have pulled in a 20% increase in qualified leads. Proficient in content, social media and inbound marketing strategies. Skilled, creative and innovative.
This resume summary stands out because it gets straight to the point. By immediately introducing the number of years of experience the candidate has, the HR manager doesn’t need to spend time adding up years. The candidate also jumps right into his or her strongest skill, provides a statistic , then gives additional skills.
By: Sarah Landrum, career expert and contributor at Entrepreneur.com and Forbes
6. Warehouse Supervisor Resume Summary Example:
Warehouse Supervisor with Management, Customer Service, & Forklift Experience – Dependable manager with 15+ years of experience in warehouse management and employee supervision. – Skilled at managing inventory control, shipping & receiving, customer relations and safety & compliance. – Certified Power Equipment Trainer, Forklift Operator and Reach Operator skilled at coaching other staff. – Promoted to positions of increased responsibility given strong people and project management skills.
The applicant was applying for a warehouse supervisor position that required them to have demonstrated management, customer service and forklift experience. As such, the applicant showcased their experience in these areas with a few keywords in the title, followed by additional details in the accompanying bullet points. Their final bullet shows a record of promotions, while reinforcing the applicant’s customer service and project management skills.
7. IT Project Manager Resume Summary Example:
Experienced Project Manager with vast IT experience. Skills include computer networking, analytical thinking and creative problem solving. Able to apply customer service concepts to IT to improve user experience for clients, employees and administration.
Because this candidate is switching career paths, it’s important he or she take skills used for previous positions and apply those skills to the new job listing. This is a great example because the candidate makes it clear that his or her experience is not in the new field, but that they are still able to bring relevant experience to the table. When writing your resume summary, keep these tips in mind: Use writing that is straight to the point, clear and concise, you’ll have a higher chance of getting noticed by the hiring manager.
8. Career-Changer Resume Summary Example:
Earn trust, uncover key business drivers and find common ground as chief negotiator and identifier of revenue opportunities in sales, leadership and account management roles spanning e-Commerce, air travel and high-tech retail. Navigate cultural challenges while jumping time zones, lead international airline crews and manage corporate accounts to deliver an exceptional customer experience. A self-taught techie sought after as a go-to for complex billing systems and SaaS platforms alike—bridging the divide between technology and plain-speak. – Tenacious Quest for Success + Learning . Earned MBA and BS in just 3 years while working full-time – gaining hands-on experience in research- and data-driven product roadmap development, pricing and positioning. – Results-Driven Leadership. Whether leading Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials—figures out what makes teams tick, trains and transforms individuals into top-performers. – Challenger of Conventional Wisdom. Always ask the WHY. Improve the user experience through smart, strategic thinking that anticipates outcomes. Present cases that influence, and lead change that drives efficiency and profitability.
This client was eager for a career change and had moved from role to role and industry to industry. After completing her Master’s degree, she was eager to tie her skills together to land a role – which she did – as a Senior Technology Account Strategist for a global travel company. Although a bit longer than a traditional summary, its strength lies in the details. Without ever getting to the experience section, the reader gets a clear idea of the scope of responsibility, and hard and soft skills the candidate brings to the table.
By: Virginia Franco, Founder of Virginia Franco Resumes and Forbes contributor.
9. Project Management Executive Professional Summary Example:
15+ years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for Fortune 500 firms across a wide range of industries including enterprise software, digital marketing, advertising technology, e-commerce and government. Major experience lies in strategizing and leading cross-functional teams to bring about fundamental change and improvement in strategy, process, and profitability – both as a leader and expert consultant.
Why this resume summary is good:
“Project Manager” is one of those job titles that’s REALLY broad. You can find project managers earning $50K, and others earning $250K. The client I wrote this for was at the Director level, and had worked for some of the biggest and best tech companies in her city. So this resume profile section shows her level and experience, and the wide array of areas she has responsibility for in her current work. You can borrow or use some of the phrasing here to show that you’ve been responsible for many important areas in your past work.
By: Biron Clark, Founder of CareerSidekick.com.
10. Startup And Finance Management Consultant Career Summary Example:
Experienced strategist, entrepreneur and startup enthusiast with a passion for building businesses and challenging the status quo. 8+ year track record of defining new business strategies, launching new ventures, and delivering operational impact, both as a co-founder and management consultant.
Why this resume summary example is good:
This summary was for a highly-talented management consultant looking to break out of finance, and into trendier tech companies like Uber. His track record and educational background were great, so the goal of this summary section was to stand out and show he’s more than just the typical consultant with a finance background. So we emphasized his passion for startups, and his ability to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. That’s something that companies like Uber and other “disruptive” tech companies look for.
14 Resume Summary Examples for Various Industries
Compassionate and effective 5th-grade teacher with experience overseeing the classroom and preparing lessons. Extensive experience encouraging students through positive reinforcement and motivational techniques. Collaborate well with school administration and other members of the teaching team. Ensure all students meet learning requirements, including literacy, social, and arithmetic skills.
2. Teacher’s Assistant
Goal-oriented teacher’s assistant with ten years of experience working with elementary school children. Aid teachers with lesson planning, classroom settings, and group instruction. Model positive behavior and maintain order in the classroom. Willingness to take on additional responsibilities to meet learning objectives.
3. computer programmer.
4. Cybersecurity Analyst
Dedicated cybersecurity analyst with ten years of experience in online security research, execution, planning, and maintenance. Proven track record of identifying business risks and proactively resolving them. Experience designing and instituting layered network security for large-scale organizations. Train users and other staff members on IT safety procedures and preventive techniques.
Skilled healthcare professional with ten years of experience in patient care, diagnosis, and providing appropriate treatments and medical services. Manage medical staff and resolve complex medical cases with maximum efficiency. Communicate the patient’s condition and treatment plan in easily understood terminology. Remain current with the latest advancements in medicine and research to ensure patients receive proper care.
6. Registered Nurse
Seasoned registered nurse offering comprehensive patient care in emergency room settings. Experience handling diverse patient populations and caring for various conditions. Proven leadership managing nursing teams and other staff. Focus on enhancing patient care and satisfaction through empathetic communication and excellent customer service.
7. Digital Marketing Manager
Forward-thinking digital marketing manager experienced in all facets of digital marketing, including social media management, PPC advertising, SEO, and email marketing. Proven experience creating comprehensive marketing plans that improve lead prospecting and enhance brand awareness. Up to date with the newest tools available for digital marketing campaigns.
8. Marketing Analyst
Industrious marketing analyst well-versed in analyzing marketing campaign analytics and making recommendations to improve performance. Collaborate with account managers and use KPI metrics to explain the results of marketing initiatives. Meticulous with a strong work ethic and robust communication skills.
Food and Service Industry
Experienced wait staff member capable of managing orders, processing payments, and upselling menu items. Ensure restaurant guests feel welcome with attentive service catered to their needs. Remain current on updates to the menu and assist guests with selecting orders to meet their dietary requirements. Maintain a positive attitude and focus during busy restaurant periods.
10. Hotel Receptionist
Friendly hotel receptionist with extensive experience handling guest check-ins, check-out, and payments. Facilitate a positive guest experience with polished customer service skills and a readiness to address common inquiries and complaints. Collaborate well with other hotel team members, including executive administration and on-site restaurant staff.
11. financial analyst.
Highly motivated financial analyst with a proven track record of recommending appropriate financial plans based on financial monitoring, data collection, and business strategizing. Experienced in qualitative and quantitative analysis, forecasting, and financial modeling. Excellent communication skills for building and fostering long-term business relationships across the organization.
12. Tax Accountant
Experienced tax accountant with ten years of experience preparing federal and state tax returns for corporations and partnerships. Monitor changes in laws to ensure the organization properly complies with reporting requirements. Assist with tax audits, ensuring the team receives proper supporting evidence for tax positions. Analyze and resolve complex tax issues. Look for available tax savings opportunities for corporations with an aggregate savings of $500K last year. Excellent analytical skills and attention to detail.
Sales and Customer Service
13. sales representative.
Enthusiastic sales representative with expertise in identifying prospects and converting qualified leads to paying customers. Provide quality customer service and contribute to team sales success. Offer exceptional communication skills and seek to understand client needs before making the appropriate product recommendations. Continually meet and exceed sales goals. Leverage extensive knowledge of available products to provide appropriate client solutions and enhance customer loyalty and retention.
14. Customer Service Associate
Knowledgeable customer service professional with extensive experience in the insurance industry. Known as a team player with a friendly demeanor and proven ability to develop positive rapport with clients. Maintain ongoing customer satisfaction that contributes to overall company success. Highly articulate, with a results-oriented approach that addresses client inquiries and issues while maintaining strong partnerships. Collaborate well with the customer service team while also engaging independent decision-making skills.
Now you have 24 professional resume summary statements and some explanations of why they’re effective. Next, I’ll share tips for how to write your own in case you’re still unsure how to begin based on these examples above.
How to Write a Resume Summary: Steps and Hints
We’ve looked at 10 great resume summary examples above. As you begin writing a resume summary for yourself, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Read the employer’s job description. Your career summary shouldn’t be a long list of everything you’ve done; it should be a refined list of skills and experiences that demonstrate you’re a fit for their job.
- Mention your current job title if relevant. One common way to begin your resume summary is to state your current job title.
- Explain how you can help employers achieve their goals or solve their problems.
- Consider using bold text to emphasize one or two key phrases.
- Include any relevant metrics and data like dollar amounts, years of experience, size of teams led, etc. This helps your resume stand out.
- Focus on making the employer want to read more. The goal of your resume summary isn’t to show everything you can do, but to grab their attention and show enough that they continue reading.
Creating a Customized Resume Summary
While general summaries are appropriate when applying for jobs requiring similar skills and experience, a customized resume summary can enhance your chances of moving on to the next step in the hiring process.
That’s because most companies use automated tracking systems (ATS) to review submitted resumes for content directly related to the job posting. If you use keywords and natural language phrases in your summary that interlink to the job description, you’ll have a much higher chance of passing the ATS review.
Let’s look at an example of a resume summary that is customized for the specific job description below:
“Highly motivated social media specialist with strong project management skills. Creative marketer skilled in crafting innovative social media campaigns that resonate with a target audience. Regularly develop compelling copy and social media content to enhance lead generation and brand awareness. Detail-oriented with extensive project management skills that ensure proper prioritization of tasks and projects. Work with various social media management and analytics tools to examine results and make adjustments as necessary.”
This summary directly addresses the key points in the job description but rewrites them so the customization is natural and flows well. It’s personalized for the open role and uses similar terms with a few strategically placed keywords, such as “social media content” and “project management.”
How Long Should a Resume Summary Be?
As you read the resume summaries above, you probably noticed there are some short single-paragraph resume summary examples and much longer career summaries that are two to three paragraphs plus bullet points. So how long should YOUR professional summary be? If you have relevant work experience, keep your summary to one or two paragraphs. The piece you really want the hiring manager to read is your most recent work experience (and you should make sure you tailored that info to fit the job description). The resume summary is just a “bridge” to get the hiring manager into your experience.
If I were writing my own career summary right now, I’d likely use one single paragraph packed with skills, accomplishments, and exactly why I’m ready to step into the job I’ve applied for and be successful!
Even for a manager resume summary, I recommend a very short length. However, if you’re changing careers, or you’re looking for jobs without any work experience , the summary section needs to stand on its own, and should be longer. That’s why some examples above are a bit longer.
Formatting Your Resume/CV Career Summary
You may have noticed a variety of different formats in the career summary examples above. There isn’t one “right” way to format this section on your resume or CV. However, I recommend either using one or two brief paragraphs, or combining a short sentence or paragraph with bullets. Avoid writing three or four long paragraphs with no special formatting like bullet points. That’s simply too much text for your summary section and will cause recruiters and hiring managers to skip over it in some cases.
Should You Include a Resume Objective?
You do not need to include an objective on your resume, and doing so can make your resume appear outdated. Use a resume summary instead of an objective. Follow the resume summary examples above and focus on discussing your skills, qualifications, and achievements, rather than stating your objective. Employers know that your objective is to obtain the position you’ve applied for, and the resume objective has no place on a modern resume/CV in today’s job market.
Examples of Bad Resume Summaries
Now that we’ve seen a few exemplary resume summaries, let’s look at some that you should avoid at all cost.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
“Experienced cashier who knows how to run the register cash. Responsible with the money and can talk with the customer. Knows when to stoc up the invenory and checks it all the time. Can count change and run credit card tranactions. Get the customer happy by good service. I am always cheerful and organized.”
Why this resume summary is bad:
If you read the summary carefully, you’ll notice several spelling errors. The words “stock,” “inventory,” and “transactions” are all spelled wrong. Grammatical errors make the summary choppy and difficult to follow (“Get the customer happy by good service”). A summary like this probably won’t fly with a company looking for a detail-oriented cashier responsible for managing in-person sales.
2. Lacks Relevant Keywords
“Talented worker with experience managing a team of staff. Creative and responsible with knowledge of organizational processes. Can keep up with the busiest of environments. Stays focused when at work, ensuring prompt task completion. Dependable and willing to collaborate with a team to get things done.”
In this example, the chef doesn’t use keywords relevant to cooking, restaurants, or kitchens. The summary is very generic and can apply to nearly any job. A manager who receives the application isn’t likely to understand what value the candidate can bring to the restaurant. To fix the summary, the applicant must rewrite it to include relevant keywords and phrases.
3. No Numbers to Quantify Achievements
“An experienced and hardworking manager ready to align procedures for maximum revenue and profits. Proven track record of streamlining and strengthening processes, resulting in higher sales and better customer satisfaction. Collaborate well with sales team members, ensuring they have the resources and knowledge to support customer purchases and inquiries. Develop strong rapport with clients and maintain ongoing relationships.”
This isn’t a terrible summary for a sales manager, but it has room for improvement. For one, the first two sentences essentially duplicate each other, mentioning an aptitude for improving processes with the objective of higher sales. The other issue is a lack of quantifying achievements.
The applicant mentions they have a proven record of increasing sales, but they could strengthen the summary by quantifying their results. For example, they might say, “Proven track record of streamlining and strengthening processes, resulting in a 25% increase in sales over the past year.” The quantifier provides additional credibility.
4. Not Targeting the Specific Job
“Looking for work in a role that requires great customer service, project management, and communication skills. Able to collaborate with people from diverse and varying backgrounds. Highly organized and reliable worker with a strong work ethic. Responsible and reliable worker you can count on.”
While the candidate lists various skills they have, including customer service and project management, there’s no indication of prior roles held or what position they’re applying for. The summary could apply to numerous positions in a variety of industries. To improve the resume summary, the applicant must specify the job they’re applying for and indicate their prior experience in a similar role, if they have any.
After You Start Getting Interviews, Make Sure to Take Advantage…
If you follow the advice above, you’ll have a great professional resume summary to make your qualifications stand out to employers. But landing the interview is only half the battle… So make sure you go into every interview ready to convince employers that they should hire you, too! If you write a great resume summary example that gets employers excited to interview you, they’re going to ask you questions like, “tell me about yourself” early in the interview to learn more about your background. So make sure you’re prepared with an answer.
I also recommend you review the top 20 interview questions and answers here.
Your resume caught their interest, so naturally, they’re going to follow up with a variety of questions to learn more about your professional background.
The bottom line is: A strong professional resume summary, followed up by other well-written resume sections will get you the interview, but your interview performance is what determines whether you get the job offer!
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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I would recommend to customise the skills section of your resume, and ensure that it matches the job posting. The higher the number of phrases within the resume matching the job requirements the more are the chances that the recruiter will pick you for the job.
I just wanted to say, “thank you!”. This was very helpful. Instead of jumping from one website to the next there’s so much useful, relevant information right here.
Hi, I have been having trouble creating a resume as My old one is so long, I’ve worked for a government agency for the past 14 years and held multiple positions doing many different duties for each and now I have to relocate to another area where they do not have an agency like mine in my new area within a 3 hour drive, how can I squeeze all my experience and duties on one page and where do I even start, I’m so nervous, it’s been so long since I’ve attempted the job hunt. So I’m wondering, I do not want to cut anything out that may hurt my chances and I can’t afford to have my resume rewritten by a professional. Can you guide me as to where you think would be a good place to start, I’ve been staring at this laptop for weeks trying to decide on a resume template, there are so many. I thank you for your time and any input will help.
Hi, I am a new graduate and do not have any experience in my field which is Nursing. I want to apply for the jobs but I have no idea about what to mention in my resume.
Hi, this article should help with the resume summary, at least: https://careersidekick.com/summary-for-resume-no-experience/
Other than that, you need to put your academic experience. And internships/part-time jobs if you’ve had any.
Dear Biron,, Thanks for sharing the 10 examples of professional summaries in your article, and especially the reasons why they were considered to be good. However, as a HR professional, I would most likely skip over most of them and would not read much past the first or second sentence. The summaries were mostly too wordy and boring, and did not demonstrate ‘oomph’ at first cursory reading. Simply indicating certain skills or behaviors does not give an idea of the level of expertise, and could simply be wishful thinking on the part of the resume writer.
Just goes to show that there are many ways to see what makes a good summary.
I am a chemical engineer and project management professional with 15+years experience. My experience is between process engineering and project management . How can I marry the two in my profile summary?
It’s not about showing everything you’ve done. It’s about showing employers evidence you’ll succeed in their job. You can show a bit of both but focus heavily on what’s most relevant for the jobs you’re applying for right now. 80/20.
This was absolutely helpful and amazing! Thank you very much!
Hello, I am an active job seeker. I hold a law degree from a foreign country and currently in college for an associate degree. My question is, how do I blend both my foreign job experience with that of the United States in my resume. Thank you.
I’d put your work history in chronological order, starting with the most recent up top. That’s what I’d recommend for 95% of people actually. Then it doesn’t matter where you held each job.
And then in your Education section, I’d include your foreign degree and the current degree you’re pursuing in the US, too (for the US degree, you can say “in progress” or “graduating May 2019” for example).
I am 40 years old & B.A degree holder I have experience in many fields.I would like to join any one fields
I am a fresh graduate, who has five years teaching experience and some months customer service representative experience. Pls kindly assist me to put the resume summary together
I’m an active duty service member and finding in a little difficult creating a good transitional summary from 20 year profession in tactical communications to a drug and alcohol counselor. Do you have any recommendations how I should approach this? Any assistance would be helpful. Thanks
How to write the CAREER ABSTRACT in resume for ware super visor retail business?
Just wanted to say thank you.Your advise and information was clear and easy to understand , sometimes there is nothing pertaining to what im looking fot in particular, buy you have sermed to cover everything I n a short quick easy to understand method.It will help tremendously.
Thanks! Glad to hear it helped :)
What if you have work experience, but the job your going for(teachingeducation) has nothing to do with warehouse work? How should I build my resume?
In the summary, describe yourself and then say, “…looking to transition into ___” (the type of work you want to be doing now).
This is a bit like a resume “Objective”. I normally don’t recommend an Objective section (and I recommend a Summary section instead), however the one time an Objective does make sense is when you’re trying to change industries or make a big change in the type of role you have.
So that’s why my advice here might seem like I’m telling you to combine an Objective with your resume Summary.
Then “tailor” your previous work to be as relevant as possible. Even if you worked in a different industry you can still show things like leadership, accountability, progress/improvement, hard work, achieving goals, strong teamwork skills, etc. You can do all of that in your resume bullets and work history.
Don’t u have Resume Summary of legal secretary/legal assistant?
No, sorry about that. There are hundreds of different professions/job titles, and we aren’t able to include an example for every scenario out there. These resume summary examples are designed to give you a general idea of how to write yours.
The summaries listed are excellent example and have helped me develop a stand out summary for a new position.
Hello, I been trying to land the job of my dreams. I need help with my resume if i want the recruiters in airlines to notice me. I’ve applied before but haven’t had complete success to making it to a face-to Face Interview. It is a career change – yet i feel i am a great candidate bc i have had many customer service and I even attended an academy for that specific position. Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong on my resume ?
what if i never had a job experience?
Great question. If you don’t have any work experience, take one of the formats/examples above and put your accomplishments and qualifications from your academic studies.
Your headline could say: “Motivated Bio-Sciences Graduate With Expertise in ____”.
And then you might talk about accomplishments in school, group projects you worked on or led, etc.
Basically, when you have no work experience, your school/studies BECOMES your recent work. You should talk about that like it’s a job, because that’s the experience you do have.
really amazing article and too useful , thanks
Hi Mr. Clark, I have been out of the work force for about 18+years and I have been a small business owner for the same number of years. However, I want to go back to the work force. But my problem is that, I don’t know how to prepare my resume or resume summary statement. I had a degree in Communication,Arts and Sciences and a postgraduate degree in Public Administration. I’m a bit confused as to how to incorporate all these experiences into my resume. Please can you help?
Hi Dorothy, I can recommend a professional resume writer if you want. But they’re typically not cheap, so it’s something you’d have to be willing to invest in. If not, there’s a lot of free info online about how to “tailor” your resume for specific jobs. I can’t help one-on-one unfortunately, but I’d recommend thinking about which type of jobs you want, and think of what experience you have that is most relevant. that’s what to put on your resume. Your resume isn’t only about you, it’s about them – what do they want/need? (if you want to get a ton of interviews, that’s how to do it :) ).
Can I have a professional resume writer?
I use a similar format when writing my opening statement for my coverletter. How do you recommend differentiating the two? Or is it ok to use largely the same language?
I think it’s okay to use something similar. I might be more brief in the cover letter… it needs to be about them just as much as it’s about you. Whereas the resume is all about you, at least in the summary section. (The later sections should still be tailored to THEIR needs..)
Struggling to write a Summary Statement for a Secretary/Administrative Assistant position. I have 15 years government experience but have been away from the government since 9/1993 and have spent 15 years as a Substitute Teacher after taking off for 10 years to raise my children.
Hiya! I am a mother of three attempting to return to the workforce. I have been a stay at mom for about 13 years, so I have a (large) gap in my employment history; which doesn’t look great. I have a college education and have obtained a few certifications whilst not employed, plus many volunteer hours. I know that I should probably use a functional resume format. Would love some advice on what I should include in my summary statement.
I rarely like functional resumes, but it might be worth trying. I’d “split-test” it (a marketing term). Create two resume styles, send out 50% one way, 50% the other way, and track results for a week.
I’d treat the resume summary statement just like any other resume. Highlight your skills and past wins/accomplishments.
how do i explain long term gaps in employment? leave them out?
Don’t mention them on a resume summary. But do mention the gaps on a cover letter or lower down on the resume. Here’s an article on how to explain gaps in employment:
I am student in civil engineering field. Have 1.5 yrs of work ex. How should i structure my resume. Thanks.
Hello My name is Shataka and I’m a current job seeker trying to land my dream job as a Counselor. I have Master degree in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. My experience lies in many different fields. I’m currently a Substance Abuse Counselor, with a teaching background and over 5 years of social service experience. I guess my question is how would I sum up all my experience to help me find a job as a Counselor.
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