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How to Write a Resume Summary

Over the years, resumes have significantly diversified in terms of content and especially with format and design. That being said, some components continue to be relevant and should never be overlooked or omitted. One of these components is the resume statement, which could either be a resume objective or a resume summary. 

Gone are the days of traditional, mere black and white resumes that were virtually identical to one another; when resumes had to be written based only on a handful of preferred typefaces and formats. Although traditional resumes continue to be strong contenders to this day, there have since been numerous resumes that branched out from their standard prototype. 

If you’re looking to present a targeted statement, choose a resume summary rather than a resume objective. For starters, there are, in fact, a few significant differences between the two, as will be elaborated below. 

Mainly if you’re a fresh graduate, learning how to write a resume summary would prove invaluable for years to come. If you already have some experience with writing a resume summary, the tips and examples will help you stay updated.

What Is a Resume Summary?

resume with a summary

Just like a resume objective, a resume summary is that brief, concise statement at the beginning of your resume. It is often situated right below the resume header. The purpose of a resume summary is to pitch your skills and experiences that target the job listing description. Not only does it sufficiently apprise hiring managers of how your application fits the job description, but it also serves as the selling point of your resume. A lot of thought goes into how to write a good resume summary, and the tips and examples below will give you great insight on what to write in your resume summary.

Resume Summary vs. Resume Objective

Before you go over how to write a resume summary, it is imperative to distinguish a resume summary from a resume objective. Especially when you are a newbie when it comes to submitting a resume and filing an application, the whole concept of a resume summary, when weighed next to a resume objective, can be cause for confusion. After all, both are essentially resume statements in that they summarize every section and detail you have included in your resume. They are also usually placed after the header making it even harder to distinguish the two when you haven’t had any experience yet. 

Resume Summary

To start with, the other one is not necessarily more effective than the other. Both are equally useful for the respective purposes that they serve. In this line, a resume objective tries to elucidate on what your aims and objectives are as an applicant and why you are applying for the position. On the other hand, a resume summary explains why your professional skills, educational background, and work experience are perfect for the job you are applying for. It seeks to inform hiring managers why you are best suited for the position based on past performances and proven results throughout your career so far.

Resume Objective

As to content and tone, a resume objective is more aspirational. A resume summary is straightforward, professional, and distinctly results-oriented, which is why learning how to write a professional summary is of utmost importance. 

Because of their respective purposes and their difference in content and tone, a resume objective might be the best choice for applicants who are eyeing a career change (here are some resume objective examples). This way, they can justify a move to an industry that somewhat unrelated to their current skills and work experience. By contrast, a resume summary is generally more preferable for most applicants, including fresh graduates who may not have any actual work experience yet save for their internships.  

Main Features of a Resume Summary

person typing a resume summary

Now onto the next consideration: what to put in summary of resume. In order to figure out how to write a professional summary, you need to take note of these main features:

Content

Ideally, a resume summary should not exceed a couple of direct, straight to the point sentences. This is in keeping with the purpose that a resume summary should serve. See how to write resume summary examples below to see how a resume summary operates within only two sentences.

Tone 

As already mentioned and distinguished from a resume objective, a resume summary should be straightforward and professional. It veers away from the aspirational tone of a resume objective and leans toward a writing sensibility that is mostly brief and results-oriented. The resume summary examples below will show you the right style for writing a good resume summary.

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How to Write a Resume Summary

With the primary considerations covered, you might already be wondering exactly how do you write a summary for a resume. The following tips will be a step-by-step tip on how to summarize your resume.

First Sentence

The opening line of your resume summary should describe your recently held position as well as a significant achievement or another such factor. If you are a fresh graduate, you can mention your degree and any relevant awards you may have accumulated.  

Second Sentence 

The first sentence should follow a line that mentions your proven skills and work experience. This is where the results-oriented nature of a resume summary comes into play. Mention achievements from past positions that have benefitted previous employers. This tip is very much applicable to the job you are applying for. If you are a fresh graduate, you can describe any internships you have undertaken or any certifications, training, or seminars that are relevant to the job.

Other Considerations

1. Include Relevant Numerical Data

Don’t be afraid to sound too boring by including numerical data. A resume summary should help your work experience and previous professional performance make a great impression on hiring managers. As such, your resume summary should not shy away from any relevant numerical data that could support or quantify the proven experience or track record that you have chosen to highlight.

2. Use Keywords or Key Phrases

Since it is for the purpose of connecting your professional skills and work experience to the position you are applying for, you might want to keep some keywords or key phrases from the job description in mind. Incorporate these keywords and key phrases into your resume summary to target the skills and qualifications required by the job. Do make sure, however, that these keywords and key phrases are genuinely applicable to your actual capabilities. Otherwise, you might run into some trouble during the hiring process when recruiters would eventually figure out that you included specific keywords and key phrases to ensure you get picked when you actually have no relevant experience.

3. Keep the Tone Professional

Although characteristically brief and concise, there is a line to draw between being straightforward and being curt or too blunt. The former makes your resume summary professional, while the latter may come off as rude or obnoxious. Always remember to stick to your proven track record and your array of professional skills and work experience. 

Resume Summary Examples

woman in a job interview

The following examples should help you see how the tips should be applied to answer to the question of “how do you write a summary for a resume?”

Digital Marketing Manager Resume Summary

A digital marketing associate for over five years who spearheaded an award-winning social media campaign. Conceptualized several digital marketing strategies over the course of five years that increased brand awareness by over 60%.

Interior Decorator Resume Summary

Served three years as an in-house interior decorator for a renowned luxury furniture company. Regularly oversaw the interior design of all furniture for sale and provided art direction to said furniture company’s monthly magazine.

Medical Technologist Resume Summary

Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology with a state-issued license to practice effective July 31, 2003. Published two articles with the National Medical Technology Journal and interned for one year at the Main City State Hospital.

Financial Advisor Resume Summary

Worked as an assistant financial advisor for two years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Financial Management. Helped increase my branch’s overall client satisfaction rating by 40% and new engagement rating by 32%.

Public Relations Associate Resume Summary

A magna cum laude graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Communications. A current external relations officer of the Youth of Main City Organization. Interned for one year with the public relations team of Senator Gemma Wilson and was responsible for all her social media press releases and engagements, which were met with an 80% approval rating.

With all these tips and examples, you are sure to write the most effective resume summary for the job you’ve been eyeing.

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