The job market is increasingly competitive these days. In some cases, a job posting might attracts a few hundred resumes. So how can you improve your chances of getting an interview? By tailoring your resume to each job and having a strong summary section.
If your resume is your marketing tool, then your summary section is the headline that quickly conveys your track record of success. A well-written summary gives specific examples of how you’ve added value in your current or previous positions. It should make the hiring manager think: “I need to speak with this candidate.”
When you consider what to include in your resume summary, think of it as a hard-hitting, concise declaration of your abilities. It should include your most sought-after skills, achievements, and attributes.
A strong resume summary statement will catch the reader’s attention immediately and ensure that they understand your key strengths and how they’re relevant to the position at hand.
There are some candidates, in particular, for whom having a summary statement can make a really big difference, including:
Candidates who are changing careers: If you don’t emphasize that you have transferable skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for in your summary statement, a recruiter or a hiring manager might quickly look at your most recent experience and assume you’re not suitable for the role.
Candidates who’ve recently graduated: A strong summary statement will help you tailor your resume to different jobs. In this case, what to include in your resume summary are the skills and experience you have that match those listed in the job description.
Experienced candidates who have varied backgrounds: What to put in your resume summary for this type of candidate are the skills and achievements you’ve amassed that are particularly relevant to the position you’re targeting.
Tips on What to Include in Your Resume Summary
1. Think About What You Are Known For
Perhaps you’ve got a strong track record of over-achieving your sales targets, or the ability to manage multi-million dollar projects? Maybe you can speak five languages fluently? If you’re a senior professional, focus on your business skills and technical expertise as well. If you’re a recent graduate, what to include in your resume summary could be your academic training, or experience you gained during internships.
2. Make Each Word Count
Avoid overused words like “team player,” “multi-tasker,” or “successful” when thinking about what to include in your resume summary. Instead, opt for action words that stand out and really show the reader what you’ve accomplished. Words like, “chaired,” “coordinated,” “executed,” and “oversaw” are good for conveying the fact that you led or managed a team. For large achievements, consider using words like “advanced,” “amplified,” “gained,” “maximized,” or “stimulated.”
3. Don’t Be Generic
When thinking about what to include in your resume summary, keep this in mind: always tailor each statement to the job for which you are applying. Writing one generic summary for every job will defeat the purpose – this section of your resume should always be personalized.
The goal in using a stellar summary statement is to make your resume stand out by showing potential employers what you can do for them and why you are the best candidate for their particular job. Also, personalize each resume to make sure you match the terminology used in the posting. Look at the job ad and try to incorporate keywords from that ad in your summary to help the employer see you are a good fit for the job.
A well-written summary gives specific examples of how you’ve added value in your current or previous positions. It should make the hiring manager think: “I need to speak with this candidate.”
4. Sell Yourself!
Don’t hesitate to sell yourself when writing your summary statement. Remember that your objective is to show the employer what you can do for them. To accomplish that, you must be able to pitch yourself and your skills. Use your action words to list your achievements and skills in a way that demonstrates confidence and competence, but not cockiness.
When writing your summary ask yourself, why should an employer hire you? Then, in a few sentences, highlight your most relevant experience and core competencies, and briefly explain how you’ll add value to the company.
5. Stand Out and Get Noticed
Finally, paying particular attention to small details can really go a long way towards making sure your resume stands out from the rest of the pack. Pay close attention to the job ad and do some research on the company. Then, use the words and ideas gleaned from your research to show recruiters you are aware of their needs and can accommodate them. Another way to ensure that you are giving hiring pros what they’re looking for is to be specific. Don’t just say that you have supervisory experience, for example. Be sure to include the number of people you supervised and any accolades you may have received as a manager.
What to Include in Your Resume Summary: Examples of Statements
Here are two resume summary statement examples. Use them verbatim, or as inspiration as you create your own. If you need more assistance, take a look at some resume examples, or use a free resume builder, which will help you craft a terrific resume summary statement.
Personal Assistant/Office Manager
Efficient and reliable administrative professional with 8+ years of experience supporting executives and managers. Proficient in all Microsoft Office packages and design programs. Diversified skill set covers administrative support, client relations, writing reports, presentation and project management. Excellent interpersonal, phone, and digital communication skills.
Seasoned project manager with 10+ years of digital project management experience gained working for global e-commerce brands. Proven track record of successfully completing multi-million budget projects on time and within budget. Improved quality by 31%, cut lead times 19%, cut costs 42%.
These examples will hopefully serve as an inspiration of what to include in your resume summary.