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How to craft an eye-catching resume summary statement

Ready for a challenge? Summarize your entire professional history in a few concise and impactful sentences.

Make sure to touch on everything that makes you a qualified candidate — your experiences, skills, education and all of those other qualities that should earn you a spot at the top of the resume pile.

This is your task every time you apply for a new job.

It’s called your summary statement (sometimes also referred to as a career summary, a summary of qualifications or a professional summary), the block of text that appears at the top of your resume document, right underneath your header that includes your name and contact information.

You might be wondering how this differs from an objective statement, which shares your goals in a new position. In today’s job search landscape, a formal objective statement is considered outdated. In most cases, hiring managers and employers prefer to see a more detailed and informative summary section instead.

How to write a summary statement

• Analyze the job description: Your goal is to present yourself as a no-brainer candidate for that particular job, meaning your summary statement will need to be tailored for each role you apply for. Your first step should be combing through that job description to pull out the key skills and competencies that position is seeking, so you can include them within your own summary (as long as you’re honest, of course!).

• Keep it short: Under four sentences, to be exact.

• Skip buzzwords: Instead emphasize results you’ve achieved, highlight your accomplishments and draw attention to the things that make you unique.

• Write it last: When you’ve already tweaked your entire resume for that specific job posting and have become intimately familiar with what that employer is looking for, it’ll be much easier to author a few relevant sentences that properly introduce you as a suitable candidate.

Writing a summary statement with little to no experience

Whether you’re new to the working world or are making a career change, it’s tough to know what to highlight when you feel like you’re short on qualifications. So focus on what you do bring to the table, even if it’s a little less traditional.

For example, your experience coordinating and hosting various events on your college campus lays a great foundation for that event marketing role. Or, your previous roles in medical transcription armed you with plenty of skills — from speedy typing to attention to detail — that would make you qualified for a legal assistant position.

Examples

“Self-motivated sales professional with three years of experience closing sales in a B2B software environment. Skilled relationship builder with the ability to foster and retain existing client relationships while forging new ones. Consistently ranked a top salesperson within the department by exceeding sales quotas each and every quarter.”

“Customer service representative with strengths in phone and chat support, as well as conflict resolution. Over 10 years of experience interfacing directly with customers to answer questions, address issues and elevate the reputation of the company. Three-time recipient of the Blue Ribbon Award for Customer Service Excellence.”

“Experienced Content Manager with skills in planning out editorial calendars, editing content submissions and using data trends to inform smart content decisions. Proven experience managing a team of writers and freelancers to produce high-quality content on a consistent schedule. Leveraged content to increase website traffic by 34 percent in previous role.”