What should I include in my professional summary in my resume ?
An effective summary statement will include a short title and just a few lines of text. Anything more than this and the statement looses it's ability to grab the readers attention and quickly communicate the desired message. The summary can be in paragraph form or consist of a few bullets. It should be positioned at the top of the first page of your resume just under the contact information.
The title of the summary statement is bolded and communicates your "professional identity". It catches the reader's attention and tells them in just a few words who you are--from a professional perspective. It should help position you as a good fit for the position you're apply for. Examples include Product Marketing Manager, Project Manager, Management Consultant, and Internet Marketing Strategist.
Again, the summary statement should be relatively short, approximately 3-4 lines of text. Overcome the temptation to make it any longer. You only have a couple seconds to communicate your message.
A resume summary statement should not be written using the first-person pronouns "I" or "me".
Example Resume Summary Statements
Below you'll find several examples of powerful resume summary statements and titles.
Top-performing, strategic-thinking professional with ten years experience in employment services in non-profit and higher education sectors. Highly skilled at needs assessment, generating options and implementing cost effective employee acquisition solutions. Experienced in all phases of recruitment and hiring, including skills assessment and candidate evaluation.
Self-motivated project manager with over 10 years of experience managing multiple projects simultaneously. Extensive expertise in managing multifaceted construction projects ranging from in- patient rehabilitation centers to large community living developments. Highly skilled in needs assessment, quality assurance, managing suppliers, communicating deadlines and completing projects under budget.
MARKETING ASSOCIATE (recent college grad)
Motivated marketing professional with experience in product development and marketing. Currently pursuing BS in Marketing. Proven ability to tackle difficult marketing projects and provide meaningful results. High level of expertise in SPSS market segmentation analysis and new product marketing.
Detail-oriented technical writer with over 15 years experience rendering technical details and specifications into readable/usable documentation. Strong background in technical support with exceptional written communication, editing and proofreading skills.
The following are more tips for developing your resume summary statement.
What defines you?. What is it that defines you professionally? What sets you apart from other professionals in your industry? This could be an exceptional record as a project manager, a strong sales record, expertise in CAD design, or the ability to negotiate large deals. If you're a recent college grad this could be as simple (or powerful) as the ability to perform market segmentation analysis using the latest SPSS software.
What drives you?. What is it that drives you to do well at what you do? What motivates you to go to work each day? Why are in your chosen career path? Your summary statment doesn't just tell prospective employers what you're good at, it communicates what you enjoy doing day to day. Don't write a summary statement that says you're really good at something that you don't want to do. You just might end up doing it.
Customize your summary statement for the job. Before developing your summary statement thoroughly familiarize yourself with the position you're apply for. Identify the skills you want to focus on and make sure they're in line with the skills required of the position. Try and align your skills with those required of the position for which you're applying.
Avoid irrelevant selling points. You may have been the fastest typist in your graduating class but if you're not applying to be a court reporter it probably isn't relevant. Don't include irrelevant information in your summary statement, even if it's impressive. The summary statement is for strengths and accomplishments that are directly related to your position, and that will help you stand out from other job candidates.
Avoid using first person pronouns. Write the resume summary statement in present tense, as if you're the subject of the resume. This pulls the focus away from you and places it on the employer. Use of the pronouns "I", "me" and "my" directs the focus on the applicant, not the employer.
Remember, the resume summary statement is the first thing on your resume that a hiring manager will read. It's also your best shot at making a good first impression before you meet anyone in person--so make it count.
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Agree with the other two posts on this. Summary statements are one of the most important aspects of the resume but they should be short and sweet. Often, hiring managers have hundreds of resumes to shift through. When looking at past statements, I expect them to tell me, who you are, what you want to be and a couple of sentences on your characteristics. Tell me why I want to interview you to fill the position I am hiring for. Tell me why you are a good fit. i.e. Seasoned Logistics Professional seeking a position in Operations/Strategy. Proven track record of cost savings and Program Management. Strong communicator, Organized and driven to results etc... Resume search engines will pick up key words. Tip is to pick your industry then look at the job descriptions for that industry and search for words repeat over an over. Those words are what you want in there so your resume gets picked up.
And to that I would add these tips:
Write the summary LAST. While it goes at the top of the page, you don't really know what you want to say there until you have done the self-thinking exercises of describing your work and educational history. The summary is the "best of the best." Assume that they read nothing else on your resume except that summary, what is it that they just HAVE to know about you? If you had only 15 seconds to say something impressive, what would it be? In fact, many resumes get glanced at for only 6 seconds. So it has to grab them. I've seen resumes with the strongest points on the bottom of the second page! "Repeatedly recognized for consistently exceeding sales goals" needs to be at the top (assuming you are applying for sales) rather than the bottom.
Work on having one "master" resume, then change it up as you go to fit the job you are applying for.
And a bit of unsolicited advice. Don't get too much advice! Go with your gut feeling. Step outside of yourself, and look at the resume objectively. Would YOU want to interview you? It really is not rocket science. And besides, everyone who does hiring has a different approach. So mix it up a little, try a few different things, and keep copies of all versions of your resume, so you can track what works and what doesn't. But seriously, I've had many clients who got too overwhelmed with too many other peoples' opinions. You want the resume to be a reflection of who you are and what you bring to the table, and the only person who truly knows that is you!!! :-)
Oh yeah, and, sometimes, it is easier to think with paper and pen rather than an electronic device. Go sit under a tree, take a walk in the park, etc. Do something to clear your mind, and it will come to you!