The Resume Summary: Why it’s Important and How to Do It Right

The Prepped Team

September 15, 2020

4 minutes

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We don’t have to stress how important resumes are. They’re your profile to inform future employers what you’re capable of. But even if you’re fresh out of university or still finishing up, you’ve likely accomplished a lot. Deciding on what to feature in your resume can be a difficult decision, but understanding the do's and don'ts of writing a resume can help. It's your attempt at a first impression, and you want to put your best foot forward, but what does that look like? A resume summary might be the answer. It’s a way to highlight some of your strengths before getting to your full list of skills and accomplishments. If you’ve never utilized a resume summary before, you should seriously consider it. We discuss some of the reasons why it’s important and how to put a summary together. Hint: it’s not as easy as it sounds – but we're here to help you out!

What is a resume summary?

In theory, a resume summary (or professional statement as it’s sometimes called) is simple. It’s a sentence or two at the top of your resume that highlights your strongest assets. It can describe something personal about you, define your key skills and point to the specific experience that would be valuable to potential employers.

Why is a resume summary important?

Many employers go through dozens of resumes a day and possibly hundreds a week. Looking at that many potential employees, they need to find an efficient and effective way of determining whether or not a candidate would be a successful fit. A good summary is like a headline in an article. It lets the employer know that it’s worth paying attention to the rest of your resume. A good summary also adds some flair to your resume. You want to be as professional as possible, but including a personal touch to your summary reminds the employer that they’re considering a real person and not just resume number 55. When thinking about cultural fit, employers can use your summary as a precursor to what they can expect if they bring you in for an interview.

What to include in a resume summary

There’s actually no set piece of content that should go in your resume summary. You should take the time to make it unique to each employer. Consider who the employer is and highlight the skills and attributes you possess that matches what you think would be most appealing to that employer. With that said, here are a few points that can be included in your resume summary to make it stand out:

  • Years of experience
  • Any specific skill you have that fits the job description
  • A word that describes who you are personally
  • Type of work environment you prefer or fit well into
  • Notable certifications, achievements or awards
  • A brief overview of your work history
  • Anything that makes you and your experience unique

Examples of a resume summary

As we mentioned, a resume summary should be particular to the employer, but impactful summaries typically follow a pattern. Here are some examples that capture the key points you should consider including:

  • Accomplished search engine optimization specialist with over 10 years of experience in digital marketing. Increased organic search traffic by an average of 24% (YoY) over the past 3 years.
  • Professional marketer with 3+ years of experience in digital marketing. Social media marketing experience, including Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn advertising. Experience in managing an account with a monthly budget of $35,000.
  • HR professional with 2+ years of experience in recruitment. Experiencing coordinating various parts of the recruitment process sourcing, vetting, and onboarding of candidates. Passionate about s thriving company culture and helping others find their dream job.
  • Certified medical assistant with 5 years of experience working in a fast-paced environment, handling confidential paperwork, administering medication and providing quality patient care. Completed and submitted clinical documentation in accordance with hospital regulations and experience in supporting diagnostic and technical treatment procedures.

Showcase your authentic self with an impactful resume summary

As you can see, there’s more than one way to go about putting together your resume summary. What’s important is that your summary reflects who you are and what you’ve accomplished that would be useful to the employer you’re trying to impress. Don’t rush this. Writing short, punchy sentences is difficult to get right. Plus, you want to find the right balance between showing off your accomplishments and showcasing your personality. Prepped can help you get it right. Sign up for Prepped and get access to a variety of training and tools created by HR professionals.