I think writing a good Summary is one of the hardest parts of putting together a resume. I figure I'm not alone, so I want to share some examples of good resume Summary statements, along with a few of my writing tricks. I just finished working on these and I think you might find them helpful.
Show Us Your Best Stuff!
Let's start with my six brainstorming ideas about what to write in your Summary section. You don't have to cover all of them — you can just pick the ones that show off your very best stuff. Or, you might be able to combine some. (For example, the first and second points often work well together.) Here you go...
- Indicate your career objective.
- State how much relevant experience you have.
- Summarize your qualifications for your job objective.
- Talk about a highly relevant or an overall career achievement you're proud of.
- Give a brief sense of your work or management style.
- Refer to a personal trait that supports your job objective.
Try to limit your Summary section to three or four statements, and keep each statement to no more than three lines. That way the whole section won't look too long and time-consuming to read. (Think "summary," not "War and Peace.")
Examples of Good Resume Summary Statements
When I'm working with folks on the Summary parts of their resumes, I use a bunch of questions to help them write good statements. Here's what I ask and some examples of the results:
What is your career objective?
Making your career objective clear to an employer is key to your resume's success. The quicker your reader can figure out what job you want, the faster he can start picturing you working for him in that role.
Here are a few Summary statements (from various resumes) that suggest the job seeker's career objective.
- Experience in executive-level administrative support and customer relations.
- Experienced writer and editor of journals, newsletters, books, speeches, marketing materials, press releases, and book and DVD reviews.
Want to see some sample resumes that use this first-line technique? Here are a few:
Sample resume: Program Director, Business Management in an Adult Education Environment
How much relevant experience do you have?
This is the first question most employers want answered, so it's a good idea to address it in the first bullet of your Summary section. Here are some examples of good resume Summary statements that answer the "experience" question.
- Dedicated administrative support professional with 10+ years providing outstanding support to senior executives.
- Over 15 years of business and sales management experience.
Like to see some full resume samples that start with the amount of experience the job seekers have? Take a peek:
What are the qualifications for the job and how do you measure up?
Having the required skills and knowledge for the job is essential. An employer will want to know this upfront, so use your Summary section to tell him you have what it takes to do the job well.
Here's how some job seekers did just that:
- Familiar with MS Word, Excel, InDesign, and Internet applications; able to learn new programs.
- Skilled in research, analyzing data, writing, and editing.
And now for some full resume samples that used this method.
What is an overall career achievement that shows you'd be good at this job?
It's one thing to claim that you're good at something. But you make a much stronger case when you give a clear example of how you've already succeeded in your career. And if you can quantify your success, all the better.
Here are examples of resume Summary statements, each showing an overall career achievement.
- 6 years as the Health Care Administrator of a major hospital system, ranked 4th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
- Consistently recognized for sales growth.
Let's see how two job seekers wrote about their career achievements in the Summary sections of these resume samples.
What's your management or work style?
An employer wants someone who fits into the company culture. By saying something about your work style or management approach, you can set yourself ahead of your competition for the job.
See what Summary statements others wrote to give a sense of their style on the job.
- Careful and thorough proofreader who ensures that a consistent message is maintained and the smallest details are not overlooked.
- Adept at managing multiple projects simultaneously while maintaining composure and a sense of humor.
I have a few sample resumes that refer to long-term achievements in there resume Summary sections. Take a look...
What personal attributes do you have that your next employer will value?
I'm talking about your soft skills, your personality, those things that people like about working with or for you. Can you put a finger on them and make a good resume Summary statement about one or more of them?
Here's what others have written:
- Detail-oriented, accurate, and dependable, with an uncompromising work ethic.
- An active listener with strong interpersonal skills. Strive to understand client needs and provide exceptional results.
Here are some resume examples that show passion or personal traits that are well-suited for their job objectives:
More Help With Summary Statements
If you want to see more questions that draw out good Summary statements and more examples, see Write a Summary of Qualifications.
Note: All the the resume Summary statements in this post are from members of my Ready-Made Resumes online resume builder. After I reviewed their resumes, these members kindly gave me permission to show their resumes to help others. Pretty nice, huh?
What works for you?
You probably have a few techniques for writing your resume Summary. Please tell us about them. We're always looking for new ideas.