How to start a resume with a summary statement
A resume summary statement is a short paragraph at the beginning of a resume that highlights a job seeker’s professional skills and experience. It gives hiring managers a glimpse into the job seeker’s expertise before diving into their resume. The goal of a summary statement is to demonstrate the job seeker’s unique value through their skills and accomplishments.
The summary statement typically sits right below the job seeker’s contact information and right above the body of the resume. 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
- Executive resume summary
As hiring managers may read through hundreds of resumes in a week, a strong summary statement can be just what a resume needs to stand out from the pack.
When to use a resume summary section
Resume summaries are ideal for job seekers who have many years of work experience in the same field (and will be continuing in that field), as they help organize and focus years of relevant job experience.
On the other hand, resume summary statements are not always ideal for job seekers with little experience or notable gaps in their resume.
If you have been working in the same field for less than 10 years, it might serve your resume best to forego the summary statement and use the extra space to expand your work experience. Since a resume summary section takes up space that could be used in the body of your resume, it’s not recommended for everyone.
Many of Jobscan’s ATS-friendly resume templates have space for a resume summary.
Resume summary vs. objective statement
The resume objective statement is likely the introductory statement you remember using in decades past. It focuses on the job seeker’s needs and future goals, with no mention of the those of the company. Here’s an example of a traditional objective statement:
“Resume Objective: To obtain a job as a Search Engine Optimization Manager at a reputable tech company.”
The traditional objective statement has become obsolete because it takes up space without offering anything valuable to the resume.
Alternatively, a career summary is geared toward the employer’s needs and highlights accomplishments and notable skills related to the job. When possible, it uses quantifiable metrics to add hard proof. For example:
“Accomplished search engine optimization specialist with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing. Have increased organic search traffic by an average of 26% (YoY) over the past 5 years.”
After reading the career summary above, the hiring manager has a better understanding of the job seeker’s impressive abilities. The resume objective statement, on the other hand, left the hiring manager with more questions than answers.
Read more: Resume Objective vs Summary
How to write a summary statement for a resume
When writing a summary statement, think about your “elevator pitch.” For example, if you stepped into an elevator and saw the hiring manager who holds the keys to your dream job, how would you sell yourself during that 30-second elevator ride?
Consider the strengths, experiences, and accomplishments that are unique to you and write each of them down as you brainstorm. Using the job posting, determine what value can you bring to the company.
Examining patterns in the following resume sections can help zero in on your unique value points:
- Work History: What are some common threads in your work history? Look for patterns in company culture, size of the company and your role.
- Skills: In which skills are you proficient? Which of these skills apply most to the job?
- Accomplishments: What were some of your most impressive achievements in past jobs? If you can, find ways to quantify those achievements using metrics like years, percentages and dollar amounts. For example, “Exceeded my sales goals in 2017 by $50k.”
After compiling information from the job posting and your resume, you can begin putting together your resume summary statement. Remember to use active voice, action words, and utilize relevant keywords. Save space by keeping your summary statement below five lines.
When you’re finished, read through your summary statement from the perspective of a tough hiring manager, asking, “why should we hire you?”
Resume real estate is valuable and job seekers should make the most of their summary statements by including keywords. Resume keywords are job titles and noteworthy hard skills found in the job posting.
Here are a few examples of resume keywords:
- Project management
- 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.
Jobscan automates the process of identifying the top keywords from each job posting. Paste in your resume text and the job description below:
Resume summary statement examples
- Experienced and driven Advertising Manager with international experience in Digital Display, Programmatic, VOD, and Social Media Planning. From 2012-2017, my direct efforts expanded the company’s active customer base by more than 15%.
- Industry recognized executive in General Management (P&L) with over 20 years of experience working for leading technology companies in core networking, security and wireless infrastructure space.
- Senior Account Executive with experience helping companies clean and enrich their data with sales intelligence tools in Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, and Eloqua. Managing big data effectively, I have helped over 200 clients reduce IT infrastructure overhead by up to 40%.
- Graphic designer, problem solver, and adventurer with over 11 years of experience creating and crafting digital experiences, services, and utilities for more than 100 brands. I’m skilled in both design and production and I thrive in startup environments where I can take control of what needs to be done.
- Sales and marketing professional with 12 years of experience in digital and print marketing, project management, account management, and relationship development. Experienced in project selection, planning, promoting, and execution.
- Education Social Worker with 18 years of experience. I primarily work with students in 6th-8th grade with social, emotional, adaptive, and other difficulties that may impact one’s ability to succeed personally and academically. Proficient in DBT, crisis management, RtI/MTSS.
- Senior Consultant focused on operational efficiency, cost reduction, and leveraging large data to help guide better business decisions. Proven success in Non-Labor Cost Reduction, Healthcare Consulting, Payer and Provider Payment Configurations, Big Data Analysis, Financial Reporting, and Strategic Sourcing.
- Digital Marketing Director with over 20 years of experience. Having moved on from traditional marketing strategies, I’ve spent the last 10 years focused on Search Engine Marketing, digital ads and project management. I improve traffic channels such as PPC advertising, SEO, and social media.
A version of this article was first published on April 12, 2017. It was rewritten with updated information and republished on June 4, 2018.
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