Writing a great resume summary statement is probably one of the toughest, but most important, parts of the entire process. A summary statement is the first thing potential employers see, and it can determine whether they decide to read any further.
But, what does a summary statement mean? It doesn’t mean the same thing as a Resume Objective. A resume summary statement is a more effective substitute because it paints a picture of who you are, what you can offer (skills- and experience-wise), and what makes you qualified for a position.
What Is the Summary of a Resume?
A summary statement is the top-most section of your resume, second only to your contact information, and the first real point of substance potential employers see.
Unlike the old-fashioned resume objective, which tells an employer what you hope to gain from a job, a summary statement emphasizes your unique value and what you can offer a company. Think of it as your sales pitch. This statement should be approximately four to six lines, and it should highlight the experience, achievements, and characteristics that make you uniquely qualified for a position.
How to Make Your Summary Statement Stand Out
Speaking of unique, it’s absolutely imperative that you write each summary statement for the particular job for which you’re applying. Every position has its own set of requirements, and every company its own culture. Therefore, it just makes sense that the summary of your qualifications should speak to each one individually.
What Needs to be Included in a Summary Statement?
- Info on who you are and what you do, plus how many years of experience you have
- Specifics about your unique achievements, including stats and data whenever possible
- Characteristics you possess that differentiate you from the competition
- A mention of impressive awards you’ve won or areas of expertise you possess
How Do You Write a Summary?
It’s important to brush up on what should be in a summary statement. As you get used to writing resume summary statements, follow these five steps:
- Tailor your resume summary to the job you’re applying for.
- Highlight the skills, experience, and education that are most relevant to the position, and include your years of experience.
- Mention at least one relevant achievement. This tells employers what you’ll bring to the role.
- Briefly describe yourself. This allows you to add some critical soft skills to your summary.
- Use interesting adjectives to describe yourself.
Who Should Use a Resume Summary Statement
While it's true that summary statements are an eye-catching selling point for any resume, there are particular groups of job seekers for whom this kind of tool is particularly useful. People who are looking to change careers should definitely write a summary that showcases their transferable skills. These are the kinds of things you may have used on your last job that will benefit employers in your new career field. By showing potential employers what you've learned in past professions, you can avoid having your resume tossed in the slush pile due to apparent lack of industry experience.
New grads should also be sure to craft a detailed resume summary statement. By doing so, you'll be sure to show hiring agents the kinds of characteristics you possess that will benefit them, despite possible limited experience. Finally, those with a vast array of job experience will want to be certain to include a targeted summary for each position they apply. Include only your most relevant qualities in order to demonstrate how you can help this particular company with your past knowledge and experience.
As you can see, a great resume summary statement is a useful and essential tool for helping you to land the job of your dreams, no matter what your stage in life. LiveCareer.com has several resume examples to help you visualize what an effective statement can be, based on your intended career field, and our Resume Builder is available to assist you with crafting an effective and professional resume that's sure to get noticed.