Does Your Resume Really Need a Summary?

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

There are a lot of conflicting opinions about resume summaries. Some resume experts say they are outdated, whereas others insist they are essential. In fact, there are several good reasons to include a resume summary.

Time Savings

With many jobs attracting a surplus of applicants, recruiters are short on time. As a result, it is unlikely that they spend time carefully reading every part of your resume. A resume summary presents the recruiter with the key points immediately, which hopefully can convince them to invest time in reading the rest of your application.

First Impression

A resume summary is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates. If you have a rare and sought-after qualification or you have unusual experience that makes you stand out from the usual pool of applicants, then mentioning it in your resume summary could be the perfect way to grab a recruiter's attention and make them want to find out more about you.

Highlight Key Points

Make the most of your resume summary by using it to tell the employer exactly why you are a good fit for the advertised role. It's a good idea to read over the job posting when crafting the summary so you can include any key terms, such as "strong sales skills" or "social media management experience," that appear in the posting.

Some employers use software to scan resumes for these key terms, so it is vital to include them if you can. Even if it's a human reading your resume rather than a machine, key terms that are relevant to the job are likely to jump out of the page and grab the recruiter's attention. Of course, you should always tailor your resume so that it presents you as the perfect candidate for the particular role for which you are applying. Don't simply use the same resume for every job application.

Tell Your Story

Think of a resume summary as the written version of an elevator pitch. It is your opportunity to tell a recruiter exactly what you do and what you have to offer to their organization. Just as when you're riding an elevator between floors, you don't have much time to make your point, so keep your resume summary short and to the point. It should be a single paragraph made up of between three and five short, snappy sentences. Alternatively, you can use bullet points to craft your resume summary.

Including a resume summary is a good way to quickly introduce yourself to a potential employer and explain why you would be a good fit for the advertised role. Remember to keep your resume summary as concise as possible, and choose the words you use carefully so they closely match the job posting.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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