Creating a resume as a student can be a daunting task. To make the process easier, consider including a resume summary statement at the beginning of your resume instead of an outdated resume objective. Coursework, extra-curricular activities and even part-time employment can help a student develop valuable skill sets, but the connections between what you have done and what you want to do might not be clear to an employer. That’s why writing a resume summary statement is so important.
What to Include in a Student Resume Summary Statement
Since you may not have relevant experience within your chosen field, it's important to focus on the assets you do have, such as education and soft skills. Although an education section is usually included at the end of a resume, academic awards and achievements are a great way for students to demonstrate their hard work. Soft skills are valuable abilities that are transferable from one job to another. Skills like planning, organizing and prioritizing work are all soft skills that successful students develop during their academic careers. These skills are transferable to new jobs and should be mentioned when writing a resume summary statement. Feel free to mention any personality traits you have that are desirable for the job you're applying for.
How to Format a Student Resume Summary Statement
While you should use first person point of view when writing a resume summary statement, do not use any personal pronouns, and always write a resume summary statement in the present tense. A summary statement should not be more than four to six lines long. It should give the potential employer an overview of the applicant’s potential and soft skills, but it should also resemble a brief sales pitch.
Tips for Writing a Student Resume Summary Statement
When writing a resume summary statement, avoid slang, euphemisms and clichés. Instead, use Standard American English. Students should also avoid vague language like "a real people person," and replace it with concrete and specific descriptions of skills like "active listener" and "facilitates discussion of opposing viewpoints." Another way students can paint a vivid picture of their abilities is by removing passive "be" verbs and replacing them with active verbs. Instead of writing "is responsible," give the employer an image of responsible behavior with phrasing such as, "Maintained a 4.0 grade point average while working part-time as the editor-in-chief of the school paper."
Examples of a Student Resume Summary Statement
Here is an example of what a polished student resume summary may look like:
Courteous and disciplined young person who can plan and organize work while managing competing priorities. Earned the President's Award for academic achievement while serving as the captain of the debate team and the Treasurer of the Student Government Association. Able to resolve conflicts with active listening skills and compromising solutions. Major in computer technology and a minor in Spanish.
A resume summary does not focus on what the applicant wants but rather what the applicant has to offer. Unlike a resume objective, the summary statement does not express your desire for the position to which you’re applying. An effective summary statement will demonstrate what makes the applicant unique.
Writing a resume summary statement does take some practice. Searching job listings and job descriptions can help students recognize the soft skills they may already have.
LiveCareer has a number of resources that can help first-time resume writers improve the quality of their resumes.