Summaries Made Simple

How to Write a Resume Summary in 5 Simple Steps

 

In a recent post, “Are Objectives Outdated“, I suggest that yes, having an objective on your resume may make you look like a dinosaur.

The more modern approach is to begin your resume with a Summary, or Overview section. What should be included in a resume summary, or not?

>>> Here’s how to write one in 5 simple steps:

 

1. Review:

Remember English class in high school? And how your essays had to have an introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion? I always wrote my introduction AFTER I’d written the body (the main content of the essay) because then I could go back and pick out the main points.

Similarly, many people write their Summary after they have finished the other sections of their resume – work history, including accomplishment statements, and Education sections. Go back over it all and look for the overriding themes and construct short, concise statements that express the essence of your primary experiences that qualify you for the positions you now seek.

2.  Focus  on what’s relevant NOW

The skills and experiences in your Summary need to be the ones that are most relevant to your *current* career goals (not JUST a snap shot of you *history* – which may, or may not be, entirely relevant to the work you are targeting *now) and 2) include both unique traits of yours and key word list, or incorporated key skills into the summary text.

3. Key words are KEY! Choose them wisely.

Resume Writer’s Pro Tip: refer to the job ad to which you are applying – notice the required skills and experience, as well as the language that company is using. Match these if you can! You’ll be “speaking their language” and make it easy for them to see how you can fit the role!

The cool thing is that tweaking your Summary section is a quick and easy way to customize your resume to each application – a highly recommended job search strategy!

EX: You have a teaching, training, instructing, group facilitation, class /workshop presenter background

EX:  The job ad is for a “Customer Service Trainer” – though your past jobs were “Guest Satisfaction Coach”.

You will want to choose the key words THIS JOB AD is using at least in your Summary, and possibly also tweak your resume, so this employer recognizes you have the same experience they want – though it was called something else in your past employment – it’s all the same thing.

Resume scanners (ATS = applicant tracking systems), often used to sort through online applications, are programmed for various key words, though, so it IS good to not JUST use those in the ad (plus you don’t want to repeatedly use the same words, that’s just a standard of good writing!). But DO make sure you include the key words you notice in the job ad in your Summary and other resume content!

4. Be Brief: 

Summaries give a quick picture of  your key skills & experiences (don’t rewrite your entire resume).  

Think of the Summary this way: After the Bulls play the Lakers, the 11 o’clock news shows the game highlights in a 2-3 minute clip. Your resume is the whole game— so for the Summary, decide what should be on your skills/accomplishments highlights clip? A simple way to do this is to list 3-5 of your core competencies. Often a cumulative experience statement such as “10 years experience in (name your field)” is included. 

Don’t just copy/paste phrases from parts of your resume, though. Rewrite those core themes in new ways.

5. Pick your style:  Classic or Branded format

 

 

SUMMARY EXAMPLES

Style #1: Classic format

SUMMARY

Conscientious, resourceful Executive Administrative Assistant with 10 + years developing expertise in: Human Resources, Customer Service and Public Relations for a Fortune 500 company. Noted efficiency in sharing key data to employees, customers, and suppliers.

• Health Benefit Administration      • 401K Plan Administration
• Retirement Administration             • Improving Employee Retention
• Building Employee Morale              • Increasing Customer Satisfaction

Style #2: “Branding” format

EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Human Resources, Customer Service, and Public Relations

10 + years with a Fortune 500 company. Noted efficiency in sharing key data to employees, customers, and suppliers. Known as conscientious, resourceful, and reliable.

• Health Benefit Administration      • 401K Plan Administration
• Retirement Administration             • Improving Employee Retention
• Building Employee Morale              • Increasing Customer Satisfaction

 

>>>>Need help writing YOUR Summary section?  (and/or the rest of your resume?) Contact me here!

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