How will you ever set yourself apart from so many excellent candidates? What do you have that they don’t? The answer lays at the top of your resume — your career summary.
Now you only have to convince the hiring manager you are the best choice out of — let’s say — five thousand applicants. It’s finally happened: After scanning hundreds of job listings in the help wanted ads, you’ve found your dream job.
What is a career summary?
Hiring managers are busy people, which means they don’t want to read about how much the candidate wants the job. It serves as the introductory paragraph to the resume, gives a basic outline for the hiring manager to follow, and explains what the candidate has to offer to the position.
Career summaries, on the other hand, subtly reveal the desire for a job while showcasing the best hard and soft skill sets a candidate has to offer. Also called a career objective or professional summary, a career summary replaced the outdated objective statement.
Step 1: Research, research, research
Compare the descriptions and write a list of common job requirements and preferred qualifications that can be used to inform your summary. The closer your summary matches the job description, the better chance you have at winning the job.
Remember those questions that tickled the back of your brain growing up? They were immediately followed by “Look it up” from your mother or teacher. Conduct research on your ideal job.
Step 2: What do you have to offer?
Don’t be shy — it’s time to sell yourself. Compare that list to the research from step one. Try to shoot for at least three attributes, but no more than five. Look closely at all abilities, skills, specialized training, etc, and write out a list. Your list may look similar to this one:
- Lead a team in Mexico last year
- Good communicator
- Crossed trained in medical sales and accounting
- Graduated lean training
- Able to balance budgets and slash workforce costs
Do they match? Do you have something to offer? If so, move forward with the career summary steps; if not, take another look at your abilities. After deciding your five best qualities, compare them to the job description and special skills desired.
Step 3: Translate those skills
Skilled leader credited for a collaborative communication process. Keep in mind that the summary helps the hiring manager determine if you should be called for an interview so include your achievements and abilities.
The next step is to weave your top credentials into your summary for a resume. Sigma Six lean specialist skilled at balancing budgets, improving efficiency, and decreasing workforce costs, without the need for job cuts.
Step 4: Give it a polished look
Like your resume, the summary for the resume should follow a standard format and design. This process is a very subjective process based on personal preference, type of job and industry, and whether the resume will be read by an ATS.
Easy-to-navigate styling should be the primary focus, but adding a little professional flare is also welcome. These 5 rules will help guide the design process and make it a little easier to organize:
- Stay away from colors and images.
- Don’t use gaudy fonts or designs.
- Be consistent; use the same format and design throughout the resume.
- Always use bulleted lists and columns for the “Areas of Expertise”.
- Use either a bulleted list or justified alignment for the main paragraph text.
Step 5: Proofread, proofread, and proofread some more
After all is said and done, the most important aspect of writing a career summary is accuracy. Look for any spelling, grammatical, or stylistic mistakes in the career summary. Don’t trust Word’s proofreader; the program works well, but it often misses crucial words.
Hiring managers, and human resources professionals, spelling and grammatical errors are the number one worst mistake a candidate can make. That means hiring managers will toss any resume with spelling or grammatical errors into the trash because not only is this unprofessional, but it makes you look incompetent and lazy.