A summary statement is the new version of the resume objective customarily included at the top of a resume. Rather than stating the obvious fact that you are seeking employment, a summary statement covers what you bring to the table in terms of your experience and any credentials that could set you apart from other applicants applying for the same position.
Situate your summary at the top of a resume so a hiring manager can quickly determine whether you might be the right candidate for the job. This statement should sum up why you think you are a great fit for a position in order to persuade prospective employers. A poorly written summary can hurt your chances, but you can create an effective statement with the right resources. This guide includes basic instructions on how to write a summary for a resume and five tips for writing a strong summary.
How To Write a Summary for a Resume
Prepare to write a summary for a resume by reviewing your accomplishments and determining which aspects of your experience, education, or training are most relevant for the position you are seeking. You may find it helpful to prepare the other sections of your resume including skills, work experience, and education or training prior to writing your summary in order to be able to review all of your accomplishments.
Depending on the requirements for a job, you may want to bring up the length of your relevant experience and the types of jobs you have filled in the past. Determine what to include based on the description of the position you are seeking as well as the most impressive features of your resume. If you are applying for a position in sales, for instance, you might bring up the fact that you exceeded sales goals in a current or past position.
In general, your summary should make no more than three major points. Longer summaries can actually work against you. Rather than confronting hiring managers or recruiters with a dense block of text at the top of your resume, aim for a few brief phrases. These do not need to be complete sentences.
You do not need to address every aspect of your background in your summary statement. This approach is almost guaranteed to make your summary too long. Instead, choose the skills and accomplishments that you feel most qualify you for the position, including both technical abilities and soft skills. If possible, include keywords or phrases you found in the job description.
Here is a sample summary statement that demonstrates how much you can communicate in a few short phrases:
Office administrator with more than five years of experience. Worked in start-ups and established companies with a wide range of employees (15-250). Skilled at keeping detailed records and managing schedules.
5 Summary for Resume Must-Haves
1. Put your summary at the top of your resume
Your resume summary should be the first thing a prospective employer reads after your name and contact details at the top of the document. The point of a summary in a resume is to bring up all of the major points of your experience that align most with the requirements for the position you are seeking so that a hiring manager or recruiter will see this overview first.
2. Keep your summary short and sweet
Avoid going into too much detail in your summary statement. Stay focused on how your resume corresponds to the specifications for a given position. A long summary can cause a reader to lose interest or suggest that you do not grasp that the essence of a summary is to be concise.
3. Bring up three major points
Your summary should also not be so short that it resembles an objective statement or proves even less useful. Aim for three phrases, which do not need to be complete sentences. Each phrase should address a distinctive feature of your experience related to the position you are seeking. You might address your extent and type of experience, history of work environments, and any accomplishments or honors that are relevant to the job you want.
4. Use metrics where possible
One of the best ways to catch the eye of a prospective employer is to use metrics in your summary statement. Metrics are relevant numbers or statistics. These figures stand out and may encourage a hiring manager or recruiter to keep reading your resume. A salient statistic can evidence your ability to succeed, and any metric can be more powerful when it is directly applicable to the type of position you are seeking.
5. Get an employer’s attention
Use your resume summary as an opportunity to convince a hiring manager to devote time to reading your entire resume. Your summary should show that the contents of your resume correspond to the description of the job closely enough that it is well worth the effort on the part of the person reviewing applications to spend more time considering your document.
Top Summary for Resume Takeaways
A summary for resume can do more for you than an objective statement because it offers a potential employer more relevant information. Use this section to show why you are the right choice for an available position and that you have considered how your experience fits the requirements for the job.
Bring up three major points about the extent of your experience, the basis of your background, and how your experience, education, or training qualifies you for a role. Remember that your summary is just intended to get the attention of the person reviewing your resume and encourage him or her to keep reading, so there is no need to cover everything in this initial section.