The summary or profile section is arguably the most powerful section of your resume. And, I would certainly argue (all day long) that IT IS the most important part of your resume. It’s a prime opportunity to sell your uniqueness, value, passion, and strengths.
The profile section is the best-foot-forward moment of your resume.
If done right, your brand will shine, your prowess will impress, and your name will shoot to the top of the shortlist – and that’s before a recruiter steals a glance at your job-specific skills and results in the Career History section.
However, with this awesome power – the summary section is mighty intimidating to write. I nearly always save the summary for last when writing resumes for my clients. I like to develop the rest of the resume first, because as it takes shape, I will notice underlining themes, recurring results, and patterns – the perfect raw ingredients for a compelling summary.
However, if you’re not a professional resume writer, it can be difficult to translate resume bullets into an attention-grabbing summary.
I’ve seen a lot of summaries that could use some help.
Some are full of meaningless clichés, designed simply to fill-up space (the “I know I need one, but not sure why” summary). Or, equally ineffective, summary sections that reference superior skills/abilities that can’t be backed-up by anything in the rest of the resume (the “is this where embellishments go?” summary). And lastly – no summary at all…which always breaks my heart a little.
So, If you know your summary needs work, but have no idea how to write a new one, here is a simple fill-in-the-blank version that will get you started:
[Your Title/Position] with X years’ experience in the [blank] industry and a reputation for [top strength(s)/accomplishments]. Demonstrated success [solving a business pain point]. Practical experience complemented by [relevant education, training, language skills, or industry contributions].
Senior Manager with 10 years’ experience in the call center industry and a reputation for motivating staff, achieving key performance metrics, and optimizing staff schedules to meet volume demands. Demonstrated success minimizing Average Handle Time (AHT) by 30 seconds and boosting Net Promoter Scores (NPS) by 25%. Practical experience complemented by multiple presentations at the Annual World Call Center Conference; fluency in English and French.
Social Media specialist with 5 years’ experience supporting small businesses and a reputation for maximizing limited marketing budgets, establishing consistent brand messaging, and developing/executing media calendars. Demonstrated success increasing both followers and engagement (by as much as 125%) through low-cost contests and promotions. Practical experience complemented by a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Adobe suite certifications.
Account executive with nearly 10 years’ experience in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Reputation for landing elusive, high-profile accounts, including Universities, major hospitals, and large clinic networks. Demonstrated success growing territory by up to 87%, connecting with key influencers/key opinion leaders, and closing lucrative sales contracts. Experience complemented by multiple President’s Circle awards, a MBA, and a B.Com.
If you’re going to expand on the above template – or color outside the lines completely – just make sure to include the key elements: position/title, years’ experience, industry expertise, strengths, accomplishments (quantifiable if possible), and unique value-adds (like education or language skills).
Tammy Banfield is a professional resume writer and certified career coach who specializes in helping talented and ambitious women advance their careers and find rewarding, fulfilling jobs.