With all the resumes recruiters receive for every job, they only skim yours for about 7.4 seconds before deciding to move you to the next round or rule you out. This is why your resume summary is a game-changer. It is prime real estate that needs to hook the recruiters’ attention and convince them that you are the right person for the job – all within that 7-second window.

In this article, we’ll walk you through:

  1. What a resume summary statement is 
  2. When to use a resume summary
  3. Difference between resume summary and resume objective
  4. Benefits of a resume summary
  5. How to write a professional resume summary section
  6. How to use keywords in a resume summary
  7. How long a resume summary should be
  8. Resume examples (Bad and good professional summary examples)
  9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about resume summaries
  10. Key Takeaways

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What is a resume summary?

A resume summary (also called a professional summary or summary statement) is a preview of who you are, what you bring to the table, and how you can help the company solve its problems through your experiences, skills, expertise, and accomplishments. 

It is an elevator pitch (composed of 1-4 sentences) that sits right below your name and contact information. It proves why you are the one for the job and makes recruiters want to read your resume and know more about you.

When to use a resume summary

List of when to use resume summary

There is no hard and fast rule on when to include a resume summary. But a summary is most helpful if:

  • You have at least 3 years of work experience in the same field (and will be continuing in that field), since the resume summary helps organize and focus your years of relevant job experience.
  • You have held a number of jobs and want to connect those to a larger career path.
  • You are switching industries and careers. The resume summary statement will tie your experiences and skills together.
  • You just graduated and are starting out.
  • You are considering moving into a similar role but in a different company or sector.

However, if you have limited work experience, you can consider using a resume objective instead, but that might not be the best option. Here’s why.

Resume Summary vs Resume Objective

A resume summary and a resume objective are two different things. 

The resume objective statement tells the recruiter what you want and focuses on your professional goals.

Example: 

To obtain a job as a Search Engine Optimization Specialist at a reputable tech company.

The resume summary statement, on the other hand, shows the unique value you bring to the company and why you are the right fit for the job. It is geared toward the employer’s needs and highlights your accomplishments and notable skills related to the job. When possible, it uses quantifiable metrics to add supporting facts.

Example:

Driven Search Engine Optimization Manager with 10+ years of work experience managing different teams in established companies, engaging users, and growing brands through effective SEO strategies and innovative marketing campaigns.

After reading the professional summary above, the hiring manager has a better understanding of the job seeker’s impressive abilities. The resume objective statement, on the other hand, leaves the hiring manager with more questions than answers.

The traditional objective statement has become outdated because it takes up space without offering anything truly valuable to the resume.

Read more: Resume Objective vs Summary

Example resume summary statement
Example resume summary section.

Benefits of a resume summary statement

Here are three reasons why you should craft a high-impact, keyword-rich, and strong resume summary. 

1. You get noticed more quickly

Because the resume summary sits at the top of your resume right below your contact information, the recruiter can easily spot and read it. Having a strong resume summary gives you a better chance of standing out and landing an interview since the hiring manager can see upfront what you bring to the table.

2. You sell your strongest attributes and top achievements

A resume summary section showcases your top accomplishments, key skills, and experience. This helps recruiters quickly size you up and find key attributes they are looking for in your resume. It leverages the 7-second window by showing the recruiter why you are the best person for the job in just a few sentences.

3. You can include high-impact keywords and get past the ATS

99% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen candidates and narrow the list down to the top job applicants. This means that recruiters and hiring managers are not the only ones you need to impress. The resume summary is a great place to capture relevant keywords that help you get past the ATS, outsmart the bots, and get your resume in front of a recruiter.

How to write a summary on your resume

Steps on how to write a great resume

So, how do you craft a winning professional resume summary statement? Here’s how.

An effective resume summary follows this formula:

Professional Title (if relevant) + Key Experiences (with the total number of years worked) + Top Achievements (preferably measurable results) + Top Skills/Expertise/Unique Values (relevant to the job and industry).

1. Research the company you want to work for

First things first. You need to decide which company you want to work for and research it. Analyze the job description for the position and write down the job requirements, industry-specific keywords and phrases, and key skills required for the job.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What kind of person is the company looking for?
  • What key skills and expertise do they require?
  • What problems do they want to solve by hiring for this position?

2. See how you fit into the job

Write down your key achievements, work experiences, and skills that tie into the specific job you are applying for. Determine how you can add value to the company and how you can help the company solve its problems.

3. Highlight your top selling points in 1-4 sentences

Narrow down your top selling points into 1-4 sentences. Include your top achievements, unique skills and expertise, and relevant work experience. Include data and numbers in your resume summary to back your achievements up. Mention how your previous employers’ operations improved because of your contributions.

Some powerful numbers that can be included in a resume summary are: 

  • Years of experience
  • Number of people managed
  • Number of customers acquired or served 
  • Size of the team worked on 

Other important notes to nail your resume summary

  1. Start your resume summary with your professional title, if relevant. (Recent graduates can mention their degree.)
  2. Be specific about your top achievements and major contributions to your previous employers.
  3. Write in the past tense and in the third person.
  4. This is very important: make sure your resume summary points are relevant to the job!
  5. Don’t lie. Be truthful about what you put into your resume summary and your entire resume.
  6. Tailor your resume summary to every job application you are interested in.
  7. You may use bullet points in your resume summary.
  8. Look into different professional summary examples and see how you can improve yours.
  9. Make sure you include high-impact and relevant keywords in your resume summary.

How to use keywords in a resume summary

Due to the number of resumes companies receive for every job post, recruiters and hiring managers use Applicant Tracking Systems to make their lives easier and more efficient. The ATS sifts through applications for specific keywords and skills and chooses the top candidates for the job from the information parsed.

Keywords used by recruiters are usually skills and qualifications from the job description.

Here’s how you make a keyword-rich resume summary that gets past the ATS:

  1. Read the job description and write down keywords and phrases that are important for the job, the company, or the industry. Write down keywords, phrases, or skills that you think a recruiter might search for.
  2. Incorporate these keywords and phrases into your resume summary (when relevant and applicable.)
  3. Don’t overdo it so as not to sound spammy and unnatural.

Here are nine examples of resume keywords:

  • Project Management
  • Accrual Basis Accounting
  • Budget Evaluation
  • Content Marketing
  • Sales Leadership
  • Financial Planning
  • Demographic Research
  • Legal Consulting
  • Human Resources

As a job seeker, you have a personal brand. Each company also has its own brand. In order to sell yourself, you must find a way to align your brand with the company brand. A well-written career summary, optimized with the right keywords, gives you that opportunity.

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How long is a summary?

There is no definitive rule for resume summary length, but most HR experts agree that it should be between one to four sentences.

Professional Resume Summary Examples

Here are some professional summary examples and pointers to guide you as you craft your own winning resume summary.

  1. Resume summary examples for students
  2. Resume summary examples for career-changers
  3. Resume summary examples for office/administrative jobs
  4. Resume summary examples for marketing jobs
  5. Resume summary examples for a management position
  6. Resume summary examples for customer service
  7. Resume summary examples for teachers
  8. Resume summary examples for finance and accounting jobs
  9. Resume summary examples for retail jobs
  10. Resume summary examples for technical jobs

Resume summary examples for students

Bad Example: 

Recent Marketing graduate. Passionate about optimizing product value and increasing brand awareness

Good Example:

Recent Marketing Graduate with two years of experience in creating marketing campaigns as a trainee in X Company. Adept in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. Eager to learn more about growing businesses and optimizing product value.

Why this works: Here, the hiring manager knows that the applicant recently graduated but already has relevant experience in marketing as a trainee at “X Company”. This resume summary highlights key skills in marketing: Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. Although the applicant is new to the job force, this summary shows his willingness to be trained and to grow more in this area.

Resume summary examples for career-changers

Bad Example: 

Registered nurse who has a huge passion for running and managing a business. Has strong leadership and managerial skills. Able to work with others and take charge of a diverse team.

Good Example:

Registered nurse with 10+ years of management experience, leading teams of medical and non-medical staff. Looking to leverage leadership skills as Operations Supervisor at Company XYZ. Has 3+ years of experience running a family business, helping manage operations, and growing the business. Has strong leadership and managerial skills and has a huge passion for building businesses. Able to learn fast and adapt to changing circumstances.

Why this works: Although being a nurse and applying for a business job is a huge career jump, this resume summary explains the relevant work experience of the candidate. With this, the recruiter has an idea that the candidate has been leading teams for 10+ years and has relevant work experience in running and managing a business.

Resume summary examples for office/administrative jobs

Bad example:

Office Assistant with strong organizational and administrative skills. Has worked with various agencies and has contributed greatly to every previous employer. Able to manage multiple tasks and create effective systems.

Good Example:

Office Assistant with 4+ years of experience doing administrative work and office support in 3 different agencies. Created a filing system that resulted in a 10% decrease in slack time within X Organization. Has strong organizational skills and a strong eye for detail. Able to create effective systems and documentation that are critical for the success of any organization or company.

Why this works: This resume summary states the specific number of years the assistant has worked and the number of previous employers. This resume summary also backs up the key skill of the candidate by highlighting the tangible result of creating an effective system (i.e. 10% decrease in slack time).

Resume summary examples for marketing jobs

Bad example:

Experienced marketing professional seeking an opportunity to share her expertise on growing brand and increasing social media presence at X Company. Passionate about driving innovation in every marketing campaign and engaging users to more effectively reach and engage with them.

Good Example:

Digital Marketing Director with over 20 years of experience. Spent 12+ years learning and focusing on Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, digital marketing, and Social Media Marketing. 

Why this works: This resume summary is very specific. It mentions the years of relevant experience and outlines the key skills that are relevant to the job and industry.

Resume summary examples for a management position

Bad Example:

Operations manager with proven leadership skills and strong communication skills. Has led various teams under different companies. Seeking to add value to X Company and help build the business from zero to one.

Good Example:

Results-driven Operations Manager with Lean Six Sigma Certification. 6+ years of experience leading teams, managing projects, and overseeing operations. In-depth knowledge of Supply Chain Management, Total Quality Management, and Project Management. Aim to share my knowledge base and skills with X Company and add value to the business.

Why this works: This resume summary statement mentions a certification that gives the operations manager an edge. It also states the years of experience and expertise of the candidate. The summary ends with the candidate’s goal of sharing his knowledge and positively contributing to the success of “X Company”.

Resume summary examples for customer service

Bad Example:

Motivated customer service professional with years of experience working in Customer Service across different MNCs. Has strong communication and interpersonal skills and is seeking to join X Company to grow more in CS.

Good Example:

Customer Service Representative with 10+ years of experience dealing with different customers and resolving different customer complaints, issues, and inquiries. Has strong knowledge and experience in driving customer loyalty and building strong linkages with existing and repeat customers and clients. Consistently awarded as Customer Service Representative of the Month at X Company.

Why this works: This professional resume summary is specific and on point. It lays out the candidate’s strong work experience in customer service. It also highlights the candidate’s award which increases his value and brand as an excellent customer service representative.

Resume summary examples for teachers

Bad Example:

A teacher who is very passionate about Physics and imparting knowledge to high school students. Physics coach for several years. Introduced Physics modules and reviewers that helped many students pass exams and win physics competitions within the country.

Good Example:

High school Physics teacher with more than ten years of experience teaching high school students. Coach of school’s Physics team for 8 consecutive years and has consistently won in national physics competitions. Very passionate about providing quality education to her students and pushing them past their limits so that they can maximize their potential.

Why this works: This career summary statement is oozing with passion, but it is also specific. It states the robust experience of the teacher and highlights how she coached the school’s physics team and won national competitions.

Resume summary examples for finance and accounting jobs

Bad example:

Certified Public Accountant for 15 years. Worked for big auditing firms within the country and has strong experience in Tax Accounting, Risk Analysis, and Fund Management.

Good Example:

Certified Public Accountant with 15 years of experience in Tax, Risk Analysis, and Fund Management working with Ernst and Young for 10 years and Deloitte for 5 years. Responsible for cutting overhead by 10% in EY in 2020. Has strong analytical skills and is an expert in different accounting software and systems.

Why this works: This professional summary states the years of experience as well as the companies the candidate has worked for. Since EY and Deloitte are two of the 4 Big Accounting firms, this gives the candidate a strong chance to be considered for the job. The resume summary also includes tangible results achieved by the job seeker.

Resume summary examples for retail jobs

Bad Example:

Enthusiastic cashier with years of relevant experience working in X company. Works well under pressure and is willing to learn new skills to better serve customers.

Good Example:

Customer-focused cashier with 5+ years of experience serving different customers and creating a warm and friendly store environment. Has raised sales by 5% through strong communication and interpersonal skills. Has strong knowledge of managing financial transactions and creating end-of-day cash position reports.

Why this works: This career statement states the years of experience and measurable achievements that give the job candidate a strong edge over competitors. It also states key skills that are critical for cashiers like financial management, analysis, and reporting.

Resume summary examples for technical jobs

Bad Example:

Experienced and knowledgeable IT professional seeking to contribute her skills and knowledge to X Company. 

Good Example:

Goal-oriented IT specialist working in the industry for more than 5 years creating databases, maintaining IT systems and infrastructures, and training others in IT. Automated a complex system and helped the company save 10% in overhead.

Why this works: This resume summary outlines the key experiences of the candidate as well as his years of experience and a major measurable accomplishment while working for his previous employer.

Now that you know how to write a summary, you also need to complete the other sections of your resume and make sure they are effective and optimized for ATS.

Here are references to help you build a strong resume:


Use Jobscan’s free ATS-friendly resume templates and start building your resume that gets noticed by recruiters!


Resume Summary Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a summary on a resume?

The resume summary is a brief paragraph that showcases who you are, how you are able to help the employer with your skills, experiences, and expertise, and why you are the best person for the job.

Should you include a resume objective?

You don’t need to include a resume objective in your resume. Most HR professionals think the resume objective is obsolete and outdated.

Should a resume summary be written in the first or third person?

Your entire resume, including the resume summary, should be written in the third person. You can also eliminate pronouns in the summary. 

For example:

“He is a licensed teacher with 10+ years of experience. He has strong communication skills.”

For this career statement, you simply say:

“Licensed teacher with 10+ years of experience. Has strong communication skills.”

Where does a resume summary go on a resume?

The resume summary comes directly after your name and contact information. 

Should you always use the same resume summary?

No. A resume summary should be tailored for each job application. If you want to apply to 5 different job applications, then you need to prepare 5 different resumes tailored to a specific job posting.

How long is a summary on a resume?

A resume summary can be one to four sentences long. It can be written as a short paragraph or listed in bullet points.

What is a summary of qualifications?

A summary of qualifications is the same as a resume summary. It emphasizes on key accomplishments and qualifications and presents why you are the best candidate for the job.

What are the other names for Resume Summary?

A resume summary statement is often referred to by other names, including

  • Career summary
  • Personal statement
  • Professional summary
  • Summary of experience
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Qualifications summary
  • Competencies
  • Executive resume summary

Key Takeaways

The Resume Summary is a critical part of your resume that highly impacts your chances of getting noticed by recruiters and landing interviews. So make the most out of this prime real estate by crafting a winning, keyword-rich, and compelling resume summary.

Here are important pointers:

  • Recruiters and hiring managers only spend about 7 seconds skimming your resume.
  • Neglecting the resume summary is a wasted opportunity.
  • Whether you are a recent graduate, a career-changer, or a job seeker with diverse experience, you can greatly benefit from having a strong and compelling resume summary.
  • A well-written resume summary can quickly grab the attention of recruiters and increase your chances of getting an interview. 
  • The professional summary focuses on your key skills, achievements, and experiences and convinces the employer why you are the best person for the job.
  • It is essential that you include relevant keywords in your resume to get it past the ATS.
  • Use Jobscan’s Resume Optimization Tool to make your resume ATS-friendly and optimized.

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