A resume summary statement is the MOST IMPORTANT section in your resume.
The average recruiter will spend 7 seconds reading your resume before deciding if you are suitable for the role. 7 seconds is about 30 words. Those 30 words need to convey the value you can bring to a prospective employer so the recruiter will continue to read your resume.
If you don’t have a resume summary statement, or if you need to re-vamp your current statement then this article will take you through the ins and outs of resume summary statements.
What Is A Resume Summary Statement?
In simple terms, your resume summary statement is an elevator pitch on paper. It is designed to gain a recruiter’s interest and compel them to want to know more about you.
By succinctly outlining your value proposition, the resume summary statement shows you are qualified for the job and are a top candidate.
Characteristics of a resume summary statement are:
- It is at the top of your resume after your personal details,
- It has a title that communicates your identity as a professional,
- It is 3 to 4 lines of text (recruiters who skim read will ignore large chunks of text),
- It can be sentences or bullet points,
- It is written in the third person, present tense,
- It articulates the value you can bring to the employer,
- It contains key words relevant to the job, company, and industry.
How To Write A Compelling Resume Summary Statement
Even though the resume statement summary is at the top of your resume, it is best to write it last so that your background, experiences, qualifications, skills and achievements are front of mind.
Think of your summary statement as a sales pitch. It needs to grab attention, be short and snappy and compel the recruiter to keep reading your application.
Create a title that represents who you are as a professional. The title can be two to three words that capture the essence of what you do.
Examples include, Project Manager, Web Developer, Sales Professional, Human Resources Generalist, Manufacturing Engineer, Paediatric Nurse, Financial Analyst, Retail Manager or PR Specialist.
Brainstorm the information to include in your resume summary statement. To do this, answer these questions:
What are your career highlights?
What are your core strengths?
What has defined your career to date?
What skills experiences and attributes are unique to you and help you stand out?
What are the job requirements?
What are the key words in the job description or job advertisement?
What value does the company want you to bring?
What critical problems will this position be solving – how will you solve them?
If you were the recruiter, what would you be looking for if you were recruiting for this role?
Now is the time to pull the information from the questions you answered and condense it into three succinct but interesting sentences.
Each sentence serves a purpose.
The first sentence is your ‘sales pitch statement’. This summarises your professional identity and value proposition.
“Senior retail professional with 18 years’ experience obtained from managing FMCG stores.”
The second sentence is the ‘skills statement’ which highlights your top achievements and attributes that are unique to you.
“Creative problem solver who increased local market share by 5% despite the arrival of a direct competitor in the market.”
The final sentence is the ‘job fit statement’. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the strengths you can bring to the role.
“Expert in creating result focused teams, maximising profitability by reducing loss, and creating customer loyalty by developing strong local relationships.”
The final product looks like this:
This summary statement grabs attention by neatly packaging the candidates experience and achievements in three punchy sentences. It achieves its purpose by creating interest and an urge for the reader to find out more.
Some Final Tips On Resume Summary Statements
The resume summary statement needs to be re-written or tweaked for each job application to make sure it addresses the key attributes of the job you are applying for.
Make sure you avoid commonplace skills and overused adjectives at all costs. These generic ‘resume fillers’ add no value to your resume and will not drive a recruiter to explore your resume further. Examples of these ‘resume fillers’ are:
- Proficient in Microsoft office
- Team player
- Excellent communicator
- Detail orientated
- Strong work ethic
- Results driven
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