What’s a summary statement and when should you include one on your resume? A resume summary statement is a brief list or a few sentences at the top of your resume (after your contact information) that highlights your qualifications for a job. Also known as a summary of qualifications or a resume profile, a summary statement gives the hiring manager, at a glance, a synopsis of your professional qualifications.
When writing a resume summary statement, be sure to include concrete information on how you have added value to companies and helped to transform departments or organizations. This will show the hiring manager that you would be an asset at the company.
Benefits of a Resume Summary Statement
There are a number of benefits to including a summary statement in your resume. The main benefit is that it helps your resume stand out. When hiring managers are reading through dozens, even hundreds, of resumes, they often skim through each and miss information. By beginning with a statement that concisely describes why you are qualified, you are more likely to get a closer look.
However, just writing a resume summary statement does not guarantee that employers will be interested in your resume.
You need to make sure your resume summary statement concisely demonstrates why you are an ideal candidate for the specific job and company.
What’s an Executive Summary?
A resume summary is sometimes referred to as an executive summary, especially for upper-level positions. An executive resume summary statement is even more critical for advanced positions since prospective employers will be primarily focusing on and comparing the track record of success that candidates have developed in similar roles.
Resume Summary Statement vs. Resume Objective
A resume summary statement is not the same as a resume objective. Both are a few sentences long, and are located at the top of one’s resume. However, a resume objective statement tends to focus more on your own interests as the job seeker — it emphasizes what you are looking for in a job or company.
A resume summary statement, on the other hand, communicates what you can bring to the table in the targeted role. It is a way to “sell yourself” to the employer.
What to Include in a Resume Summary Statement
Your summary statement is often the first item read on a resume, so you want to get to the point: why should a company hire you? In about one to four sentences, highlight your most relevant strengths, skillset, and core competencies that are unique to you as a candidate. In particular, demonstrate how you would add value to the company. Have you saved money for a company in the past? Did you streamline an administrative process? Include skills and experiences that will impress the employer, using specific percentages, numbers, or dollar amounts to quantify your achievements.
Be sure to tailor your resume summary to the specific job listing.
Look at the listing, and try to incorporate keywords from the listing in your resume summary. This will help the employer see how you are a good fit for the job.
In a resume summary statement, avoid skills that are commonplace (for example, avoid mentioning Microsoft Office), or overused words (such as “multitasker” or “team player”). Try to use action words to demonstrate your achievements.
The summary statement should be approximately two to four lines and speak to your professional background only. Do not address any outstanding circumstances (employment gaps, change of career, personal experiences, etc.). A cover letter is an expanded version of the statement that will allow your personality to shine through.
To recap, you want to include the following elements in your statement:
- Core strengths and skill sets most relevant to the role
- Past relevant experience with key functions
- Notable accomplishments that you intend to repeat in the next role
How to Make Your Summary Statement Stand Out
- SHOWCASE YOUR STRENGTHS:Use your resume summary statement to highlight the strengths that set you apart from your competition, demonstrating how you would bring value to an employer’s organization by listing specific contributions.
- PROVIDE QUANTIFIABLE ACHIEVEMENTS:Increase the persuasive force of your resume summary statement by using percentages, impressive sales figures, or numbers to quantify specific professional achievements.
- USE A RESUME SUMMARY STATEMENT INSTEAD OF AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT:Resume summary statements are more effective than objective statements because they focus on an employer’s needs rather than upon what you, as a job candidate, want for yourself.