A resume summary is a concise summary of who you are and the value that you can bring to an organization. Today (2018), all strong resumes are expected to have resume summaries in place of the antiquated “Objective.” The resume summary is essentially your elevator speech, which is a very brief “commercial” of who you are and how you can benefit an organization.
What To Include
First, be certain to include a resume summary right after your contact information. Excluding a summary or just listing a few bullets about your qualifications (or worse listing an Objective) will nearly guarantee your resume gets passed unless you personally know the hiring manager. The resume summary is essentially a condensed version of the “Tell Me About Yourself Question.” When writing a summary, you want to ensure that you include relevant and specific information that showcases who you are without being too generic. A great summary will include who you are, what you’ve done, what value you bring, and what your strengths are. Also, you should always include your resume title above the resume summary to make it clear who you are (i.e. Sales Professional, IT Executive, Project Manager, etc.)
Keep It Short
You may have been in an industry for 20+ years and have done enough to fill 100+ pages of text; however, your summary shouldn’t be longer than five or six sentences. TheLadders (2017) conducted a study and showed that the average recruiter spends 6-seconds reviewing a resume, so your resume summary should be concise and compelling. You need to quickly capture the hiring managers attention and highlight your top-selling points or unique value proposition. Avoid being redundant and including too many generic sentences that can apply to anyone.
Three Great Resume Summary Examples:
Example #1 – Global Vice Chairman
Results-driven global executive with a proven track record of successfully building and leading communications businesses in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. Expertise in corporate trust and reputation, operational leadership, business development, strategic planning, and streamlining operations to significantly increase revenue and profitability. Highly regarded commentator on issues of corporate trust, crisis, and corporate reputation for CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, the BBC, and Channel News Asia in addition to delivering insights for print, trade, and other broadcast media on five continents. Presenter at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, The World Economic Forum’s Anti-Corruption Conference, FSG’s Shared Value Conference, and countless industry and client events.
Example #2 – Senior Sales Executive
Award-winning sales executive with vast experience in global sales/marketing and financial management. Expertise in sourcing and retaining new business as the deal lead and providing the framework for completing KYC due diligence for specialized clients. Demonstrated history of generating more than $100+ million in wins and bookings. Successful client-relations manager who understands client needs, manages expectations, builds lasting relationships, instills trust, and ensures the delivery of integrated solutions. Highly adept working in the FinTech industry.
Example #3 – Technical Director
Highly talented IT executive with a demonstrated track record of designing, building, and rolling out multi-million-dollar strategic, tactical IT, and operational solutions that significantly contributes to organizational performance. Oversaw the build-out of 450+ retail stores from a technology perspective including hardware, software, LAN/WAN, and telephony along with managing 350+ projects’ lifecycles from inception to rollout. Expertise in effectively leading teams, instilling passion, and developing people to achieve excellence. Strong ability to communicate with both technical and non-technical audiences.
All three of these examples clearly exemplify who the candidate is, what the candidate has done, what value the candidate brings, and what the candidates strengths are in a concise and compelling manner without unnecessary fluff. Fluff is a resume summary that’s filled with generic sentences like the example below:
Example #4 – Generic Fluff Summary
Energetic and creative professional with a cross-functional background in operations. History of working well with all levels of leadership and developing effective relationships. Strong ability to make immediate and valuable contributions to an organization. Flexible and open-minded with an outstanding ability to adapt to any situation. Excellent research, strategic thinking, communication, and presentation skills.
Think of your resume summary as the only thing a hiring manager will read, because in many cases it just may be. Your resume summary is your elevator pitch and should include who you are, what you’ve done, what value you bring, and what your strengths are in a concise and compelling manner. Remember to include your title above your summary to immediately identify who you are. You can use a generic “Professional Summary” or “Qualifications” if you have a very diverse background and it’s difficult to define who you are in a single title. Always remember to include a resume summary as candidates without one will surely be passed.