These are the times we live in, where resumes are a commodity, and they’re no longer used to get your foot in the door. Nowadays, you’re judged on your resume within just a few seconds of scanning it. More recruiters than ever use software to scan thousands of resumes every day (in seconds). They’re looking for keywords, buzzwords, and skills that fit the specific job posting (and the specific position).
You know it’s true. You’ve heard those stories about interviews where they ask you a question that’s not even on your resume. It makes sense (at least for recruiters and hiring managers): why would they waste their time reviewing resumes that don’t relate to the job? If you’re going to be eliminated from the start, then there’s no need to waste time with you.
The good news is that a well-crafted professional summary section will make you an automatic shoo-in for the interview round.1.
1. Provide Relevant and Current Details
Briefly list your relevant experience and accomplishments, including the source of each and how your achievements will improve your ability to perform in the role that you applied for.
Also, mention the most current information first. Make sure you include enough details to give the reader a picture of your career path or journey. For example, you may highlight your experience at ABC Company while briefly explaining that you were promoted 3 times in 2 years. Or, you may mention that you completed an online training program with XYZ University and received a certificate from them in 2011.
2. Make Sure the Summary is Personable
According to resumewritingservices.org the best way to make sure this section is personable is to spend a little extra time proofreading it. Also, don’t be afraid to add a little personality. Hiring managers want to know that you are the right fit for their company, so don’t be afraid to mention if you’re an animal lover or have lots of kids. This allows the hiring manager to get a better sense of who you are and your interests (before they even meet you). Furthermore, it adds a personal touch that will set you apart from other candidates.
3. Be Honest and Don’t Exaggerate
You don’t want to list skills or experiences that you don’t have (and will be unable to back up if asked about them in an interview). This is not only unethical but can also lead to a failed background check. Also, it would help if you remembered that a recruiter is looking for someone who can do the job. If you don’t have all of the skills listed on your resume, they will assume it’s an exaggeration and cut you a lot of slack. Lastly, if some of your accomplishments are not listed on your resume, then list them as “Worked side-by-side with …” or “Under the supervision of …”
For example, I worked at XYZ Company for years before leaving and now have my CPA certification.
4. Keep the Summary Short and Concise
Most importantly, keep the summary to no more than two short paragraphs (and no more than 4-8 sentences). Your resume should be the place to give a detailed description of your work experience and accomplishments. The summary section is where you should list your key skills and achievements. This is the place where you can include personal information without diluting your professional attitude.
For example, I have over 10 years of consulting experience, including teaching one of Asia’s largest online training programs in 2011.
5. Highlight Your Key Skills
Highlight your key skills in bold (i.e., underlined), followed by a very brief statement on why those skills are important for the job (underlined). You should also use bullet points and have the bullet points numbered because recruiters will focus on your top keywords and skills. This also forces you to highlight only those critical skills that will help you get an interview at this specific company. Furthermore, the goal of this section is to convince the hiring manager to interview you. If they read your summary and aren’t convinced that you are a good fit for the role, you won’t get an interview.
6. Mention Prior Achievements, Awards, or Accomplishments
After listing your key skills, you should briefly mention your prior achievements (e.g., awards or accomplishments). Mentioning any achievements, awards, or accomplishments will help the hiring manager see that you have lots of experience and are very qualified. Also, it will show the hiring manager that you are capable of working under pressure and that they need not worry about your interviewing skills.
For example, I have won several awards for my work as a consultant, including the top award from XYZ University’s online training program.
7.Don’t List All Your Skills or Include Irrelevant Information
As stated, you want to make sure that your skills are relevant to the job. Also, remember that a hiring manager will not spend a lot of time reading your resume. If you list irrelevant skills or include too many skills, then the hiring manager will quickly look for an excuse to cut you from the candidate pool (and never call you for an interview).
8.Make Sure Your Summary Lives Up to Your Resume
Some candidates create their summary first and then try and find information that matches it. This leaves the summary too vague and unprofessional. It would help if you worked with your resume editor to ensure that your summary is as detailed as your resume.
Also, don’t write a summary without including at least one bullet point per section. This will keep the hiring manager focused on the relevant parts of your experience, rather than looking for the details that you have listed in a different section of your resume. In addition to proper formatting and content, use headings throughout your summary.
9. Keep the Tone of the Summary Professional
Remember that the summary is not a place to brag about your skills or achievements. Your summary should be short and to the point. No one reads your entire resume, so don’t leave out too much information. Also, try to keep the tone of the summary professional.
As an example:
As stated, your summary should make the hiring manager want to interview you. However, if the hiring manager reads your summary and still isn’t sold on you, it won’t matter what you wrote. You won’t get an interview.
10. Avoid Making Any Mistakes
As you know, most resumes are read by one person in the whole company. This means that you need to make sure your resume is error-free if you want to have a chance of getting an interview.
When creating your summary, look at how well your experience matches the job position requirements that you are applying for. If it does not match 100%, then you will have a better chance of getting rejected than interviewing for the position if the summary isn’t sufficient. Crafting a professional resume summary is a valuable skill. It is something that you can and should use for years to come.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a grading secret: only someone who received an “A” on a test gets to show off the grade to everyone else! So, before you take the time to craft your resume summary, consider how successful it will be for you. (And then decide if it’s worth it. Will it helps you or hurt you?)
Now that you have a good understanding of how to create a powerful resume summary, I encourage you to take the time to create one. The best way to make sure that your resume summary is effective is to have others review it.