How to Write a Resume Summary

An applicant researching how to write a resume

Your resume will have seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention and maintain it. That’s why knowing how to write a resume summary is crucial. This statement is a four-to-five-sentence paragraph intended to describe your character and experience.  

This article will show you how to create a concise but powerful summary that sets you apart. Additionally, we will explain the difference between a summary and an objective statement to keep you on the right track. 

Keep reading to learn how to write the perfect narrative for your resume. 

 

Resume summary vs. objective

A resume summary and objective serve different purposes in your job application. The former is a snapshot of your skills, experience, and character. It works best for candidates with extensive work experience. 

The latter is a brief statement that communicates your career goals. It’s best suited for people with little work experience, such as recent graduates. 

In essence, a summary answers the question, “What can you do for an employer,” and an objective answers, “What are you looking for in a position?”

 

How to write a resume summary

The best summary statements follow the following guidelines.

  • Tailor your summary to a job.
  • Start with a powerful opening.
  • Highlight your achievements.
  • Express the value you’ll bring.
  • Include relevant keywords.
  • Mind your tone.

 

Tailor your summary to a job.

A general summary that applies to any job seems like a timesaver, but it will hurt your chances of an interview. Each role demands different skills and experiences. Read the job description to understand the relevant ones and create an aligned statement. 

 

Start with a powerful opening.

Your opening will set the tone for your summary and capture recruiters’ attention. That’s where power words come in. These are strong adjectives that highlight an attractive quality. Some examples include “Results-driven,” “Innovative,” “Strategic,” or “Dynamic.

 

Highlight essential achievements

Besides describing you, a summary should also communicate what value you’ll bring to a company. That’s why mentioning your achievements in previous roles is crucial. 

Given the limited summary space, you must choose one or two impactful achievements. An excellent way to communicate that impact is through metrics. Quantify your accomplishments to give them credibility. 

For example, “Led a cross-functional team in product launches, resulting in a 20% customer base expansion.”

 

Mention how you’ll help the company. 

Remember that employers also seek someone to contribute to their company’s success. In addition to expressing your competence, you must also sell the benefits you’ll bring to a company. 

Doing so will differentiate you from other applicants and express you understand the company’s needs. Additionally, it will show you can contribute meaningfully from day one.

Here’s an example: “Looking to use my full-stack development skills to help your company streamline workflows and enhance system performance.”

 

Include industry keywords

Many recruiters pass resumes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to shortlist candidates. These systems scan applications, looking for keywords relevant to the job description.

The best way to know which words to include is by reading the job description and finding industry-specific terms used throughout. 

Remember not to spam your summary with keywords. ATS systems consider that a manipulation tactic and will reject your resume. 

 

Mind your tone

Your summary should balance confidence and enthusiasm without seeming arrogant or overexcited. You should use vivid language such as “passionate” and “renowned.”

Not all job applications warrant a formal tone. A safe practice is to mirror the job description. Some descriptions may be casual, using informal language and slang. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep your tone in check. 

  • Avoid personal pronouns like “me,” “I,” or “you.” 
  • Avoid superlatives like “Best at” or “Highest achiever.” These adjectives come off as bragging. 
  • Use language emphasizing your ability to work in a team rather than claiming sole credit.

 

Conclusion

Your summary depends on your ability to prove your experience and show why you’re the best candidate for a role. You should tailor it to a specific job and begin with an opening that grabs and maintains attention. Additionally, quantify your previous achievements and explain the value you intend to bring. 

Follow these nifty steps to write a resume summary that leaves a lasting impression and gets you that coveted interview. 

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