For many of us, writing a resume is a tedious—and sometimes painful—process. We’ve all spent long hours trying to recall and articulate what we’ve accomplished with the hopes of scoring a coveted interview with an organization that’s not soul-crushing. The unfortunate reality is that, without an engaging, impressive career overview or summary section on your resume, the rest of the document will likely go unnoticed.
Why Your Professional Summary Matters
You’ve likely heard the statistic that hirers spend less than six seconds looking at each resume. The truth is that you only have an initial 2-3 seconds to convince employers to keep reading. This time is critical to show the reader that 1) you actually spent time and energy on your resume, 2) that you’re qualified for the position and 3) that you’ve been involved in similar roles/projects. The profile section is the most important place to quickly and clearly communicate your highest-level capabilities to employers. A well-written summary section gives an overview your relevant experience, professional qualifications and most impressive accomplishments. Take the time to write an engaging profile section to make sure that your resume doesn’t land in the discard pile on the first review.
What Should I Include in My Summary?
It’s important to include both qualitative and quantitative details that show the reader what the scope and impact was of the work that you performed. Make sure to include details such as:
Qualitative data can be a great way to demonstrate your professional value, such as:
What Should I Leave Out?
Your professional summary is not a career objective. Avoid stating what you want, focusing instead on what you provide. Keep this section as clear and impactful as possible, leaving out filler words like “strongly motivated,” “hardworking” and “a team player.”
Where Does the Profile Section Go? How Should I Format it?
Your professional summary is your introduction to potential employers, so make sure to feature it prominently at the top of your resume. There are different ways to format this section, including a bulleted list or as a paragraph. In most cases, bullets are easier for a reader to scan, especially if your sentences are densely-pack with numerical data and categorical lists.
Sample Career Profile Template
If your resume isn’t getting callbacks, try re-evaluating your summary with the above information in mind. A punchy and effective career summary can set you apart from the crowd, engage your audience, and land you job interviews.