How To Write A Resume Summary Statement With Examples

by David Luther
Get The Job, Resume - 4 years ago

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What is a resume summary statement?

A resume summary statement is a quick way for you to catch a hiring manager’s eye by briefly listing key information at the top of your resume. It’s a summary who you are professionally – not a synopsis of your resume – and lets them know what to expect from you.

It’s become a standard and, if done well, can give you an edge in the hiring process. You might also see it called competencies or a qualifications summary on some of those resume templates you’ve been Googling.

Don’t confuse it with a resume objective, which is kind of an outdated version that usually has something like “I hope to secure a position…”

Take a look at these resume summary statement examples:

English Languages student with leadership and academic training at the [Your University]. Expertise in social media platforms and Microsoft Office. Proven experience in research projects, time management, and organizational skills with a background in office administration. Able to provide employers with administrative support and professional communication skills.

It essentially says that the resume belongs to a person who went to college and has the necessary skills to graduate, in about fifty words.

Now, this one:

Biology Major with demonstrated skills in research activities and clinical experiments. Blends academic training with lab management experience from the [Your University]. Incorporates administrative experience in an office setting to provide employers with proven scheduling, communications, and organizational expertise.

It’s brief and to the point. It seamlessly moves into what the writer actually did while a student, and it asserts that the writer actually has experience performing the administrative tasks. The second one adds value to the resume – the best part about reading the first one is that you get to stop reading it when you’re done.

A resume summary statement makes the hiring manager swipe right

This is your foot in the door. Think about it in terms of Tinder.

Say you’re a hiring manager out on the prowl, and it’s hard to find the right one. You’ve got a pretty long list of criteria and some high standards – your work friends say they’re too high and you should just settle.

So, then on Taco Tuesday you have five tacos and like seventeen strawberry margaritas. Whatever, they were on special. Inhibitions are lowered, and you give the online thing a shot.

Now, you’ve got a lot to offer people, and all sorts of folks want your attention. You’re slammed with potential – lucky you – and as important as matching with the right one is, you just don’t have time to really look at each one.

There’s a whole lot of swiping left going on.

Face tattoo. Swipe left.

Grammatical errors. Swipe left.

Then, suddenly, you see someone with a cute, genuine smile. Intrigued, you look closer. A hiking selfie Picture holding a puppy dog and a child – the caption says “the dog is mine, the kid is my sister’s lol”. Swipe right.

The smile is a decent-looking resume format. The outdoorsy selfie is a college degree. The cute dog picture is your resume summary statement.

The tattoo and errors are tattoos and errors. Sorry, not sorry.

The Five W’s Of A Resume Summary Statement

1. What it is

A resume statement summary is more or less just a few well-worded, targeted sentences that sum up your skills and experiences. Think of it as a shortened cover letter or a written elevator speech.

2. Where it goes

At the top of your resume, just under your contact information. The purpose is to quickly grab the hiring manager’s notice as soon as they begin reading ­– which is, you know, usually at the beginning.

3. Why you need a statement summary

To make sure the reader gets the gist of who you are as soon as possible. Imagine you’re a hiring manager skimming dozens of resumes – kind of like a jobseeker skimming dozens of resume templates.

Some employers run resumes through screening software, so this is an opportunity to stick some keywords in that don’t mesh with you job description bullet points.

4. Who needs one

If you can write a good one ­– more on that below – pretty much everyone benefits:

  • If you’ve got a lot of experience in your field, it summarizes your achievements.
  • If you’re making a change in industries, it ties together your experiences.
  • If you’re just starting out, it explains how your academic experience is relevant.

But if you want to indicate that your resume is either outdated or a template from Microsoft Word, use an objective statement.

5. When you don’t need one

Remember how I said you should write a good one? If you don’t have much to summarize because of limited work experience or academic experience that’s not relevant to this role, omit it altogether. Save the precious page-one space – expand your job role sections instead.

How To Write A Resume Summary Statement

Like your cover letter and resume itself, you’ve got to tailor your summary statement to each position. If you’re submitting it to a job search website and can’t really customize it, then decide upon a target industry and do the best you can for that field.

1. Decide upon a title

This is the headline that sums you up. It’s pretty much the only part of your summary that is just about you. You should begin with a title that explains your professional identity, such as:

Capitalize each word. It’s a bonus if your title genuinely matches with the position. Be precise and be honest – if you just graduated with a degree in business, you’re not a business analyst yet.

2. Do your research into the company and position

It should go without saying, but you need to know as much about this position as possible.

  • Read the job posting again. What words do they use to describe the company, the position, and the right applicant? Try to include any prominent keywords and qualities.
  • Read the company’s website. Match any characteristics that repeat across their pages. If you found the job posted on a third-party site, is the job listing any different on their careers section?
  • Read other companies’ listings for similar positions to borrow some of their language.

3. Keep the summary brief — you need to make a point quickly

The average hiring manager will spend a matter of seconds glancing at a resume before they decide how to act.

You want to make sure that it’s not a large block of text they’ll be tempted to skip over for an easier-to-digest snippet. We’re talking:

  • Four to six points
  • Two to four sentences
  • Bullet points are fine

There’s no need to write filler if it feels short. It’s about economy of words – each one has to earn its place.

4. Tell them what you offer them

The job market is a seller’s market these days, so you need to make a quick, convincing case for why they should choose you. Do not turn it into an objective statement by ending with something like “I hope to secure a ______ position with your company”.

  • List certifications, skills, and experience you can bring. For the love of all things holy, don’t say Microsoft Office.
  • Include duties you’re particularly good at that are relevant to this position.
  • Be able to back your claims up with examples in your resume.

Don’t steal your job descriptions’ thunder or be redundant, but think about anything you may have left over that didn’t make its way into the rest of your resume.

  • Have you streamlined a process and saved money? How much?
  • Do you have any achievements of note that you intend to repeat in this new position? Which?
  • Did you take any projects from inception to fruition? Did they add any value?

5. Some things to avoid

As with all things resume, don’t lie. Also:

  • Don’t list things that you’re good at but hate doing unless you want a job that you hate doing.
  • It’s called a resume summary statement, but it’s a statement summarizing you – not your resume. Keep it short.
  • Don’t mention your proficiency with Microsoft Office – I hope I’m making that clear ­– unless you’re a wizard with Excel.
  • Avoid hackneyed words like “results-oriented”, “data-driven”, and “team-player” is a waste of space. It’s the cereal in Lucky Charms. We want the marshmallows.

A note for recent college grads

There’s a school of thought that says that young people don’t need summary statements – if I agreed, I wouldn’t have bothered with the Tinder analogy. It’s ok to rely on academics to strengthen your qualifications, just make sure that you describe what you actually did. If you acquired some skills that are relevant to the work place, make them work for you here.

If you find yourself trying to bullshit your way through it, then just leave it out entirely.

More Resume Summary Examples

Marketing Writer

A creative and experienced writer combines a background in technical writing and journalism with expertise in medical writing to deliver quality, customized content in diverse content media – public relations, content marketing, web content, and software manuals. Reliably meets deadlines and thrives in an agile, quick turnaround environment while providing sales support and client-oriented projects.

Administrative Office Coordinator

Adaptable, reliable and expedient with more than three years of experience supporting managers and leadership in fast-paced workplaces. Versatile skills include human resources, recruiting, customer relations, project management, and administrative support. Expertise with managing online communications platforms and multiple phone lines.

Mergers and Acquisitions Executive

A tested leader of international holding companies offers 10 years of expertise in developing proven growth strategies, mentoring both individual representative and team leaders in product benefits and client service techniques. Also known for creating engaging marketing campaigns that capture markets in a variety of verticals. Effectively improves profits and losses reports through innovative M&A operations.

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