Resume Writing: Learn How To Write A Killer Summary

by Erickson, Patricia Tuesday, June 22, 2010
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It is probably pretty obvious that in the current economic market employers don’t have lots of time to dedicate to reading resumes. Nowadays, they get high volume responses to even the lowest level jobs. It makes sense that employers will seek out only well written resumes. They will eliminate applicants based on substandard content and appearance.

Obviously, now is the time to have a standout resume. You can do that easily just by developing a killer summary. Your summary has to do a good job of convincing an employer that you are the one and only applicant. You set the gold standard and the rest of the applicants are invited in for an interview after you - this can be done with the right summary.

So how do you do it? You actually market yourself through your narrative. Your potential employers will learn about your unique qualities, your expertise as well as your credentials and they’ll get a good sense of how well you communicate. You will have to be a skilled writer and be able to “pitch” yourself in a matter of seconds.

You can write a great summary by getting a good idea of what information should not be communicated in your resume. While the summary gives employers insights into you, it is not a place for you to mention personal information unrelated to your career. Don’t be tempted to send out resumes with Information including age, marital status, health, height/weight or personal affiliations. Leave these items off of the resume because there are companies that will eliminate you from the applicant pool if included.

Keep anything that is not relevant to the position or your potential employer off of your resume. In general, you don’t need to add in previous professional experience within the summary unless you can clearly demonstrate how such a background can be of value. Be mindful of generic statements, such as “I am highly organized and detail oriented.” Stuff like this just looks like filler and it is not impressive enough to get you an interview.

Your summary should just be a short paragraph and only contain a few sentences – you don’t want to take up a quarter of the page. You can start with a headline that summarizes your professional title. You can emphasize your title by bolding and by using a larger font. This is important because it allows your potential employer to grasp who you are quickly. For example:

Experienced Financial Planner
Realized double-digit return through well-balanced financial portfolios

Be sure to craft a high impact statement as this is the first impression your potential employer will have of you. Here are three things that a well-written summary should address and include:

• Level of expertise
• Experience as it relates to your ideal job
• What you bring to the organization and to the position that no other candidate can

Write your summary in third person and in present tense. Sell only the experience and skills that align with your career objective. If you have several career objectives – meaning you want to get a position in either marketing or public relations, develop separate summaries for each of these objectives.

Your summary should be well-written and error-free. Be sure to review and proofread, and remember to customize as necessary for all opportunities of interest. A killer resume summary will leave a great first impression and will “hook” your prospective employer. It will set the gold standard and sell you as the top candidate for the job.