Four Tips About How to Write a Career Summary

John Krautzel
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If you're looking for a job, it's important that you stand out with an effective resume. One of the best ways to grab a hiring manager's attention is by writing a career summary, a brief introduction that lists your skills and qualifications. An attention-grabbing summary at the top of your resume can be the difference between getting called back for an interview and being ignored. The following tips will help you craft a career summary.

1. Make a List of Your Qualifications

Begin by making a list of your most impressive skills, achievements and qualifications. Don't include something if you can't succinctly explain why it's important and transferable to the position you're seeking. Your goal should be to show the employer why you would be a valuable addition to the company. The first sentence is the most important and should include a clear statement of your most impressive qualification. Follow with a few more sentences describing the rest of the qualifications you've chosen. Because it can be difficult to judge your own expertise, ask a friend or coworker to help pick your best qualifications.

2. Research Your Target

You may find that your summary will have to be retooled depending on the position you're seeking. Do research on companies receiving your resume by looking over their job listings. If you notice certain keywords used often, choose skills and qualifications from the list you made that show the employer that you demonstrate expertise in those areas.

3. Be Specific

An effective career summary should avoid vague, overused phrases and instead focus on precise career achievements and skills. Instead of saying you possess "excellent attention to detail," list specific skills or achievements that demonstrate this to prospective employers. Remember that this is your chance to make a great first impression and stand out.

4. Don't Forget to Proofread

Even if you write an excellent summary of your skills and qualifications, spelling and grammatical errors will reflect poorly on your attention to detail. This is the easiest way to ruin a first impression and get your resume ignored. Proofread your summary multiple times to check for errors and readability. If you have long, awkward sentences, rewrite them until they're clear and succinct. Don't rely on your eyes alone. Get a trusted acquaintance to check your summary for errors.

A career summary should grab a hiring manager's attention and explain why you're the best candidate for the job. As one of the first things a hiring manager will read about you, it's worth focusing on writing a clear and persuasive career summary. An effective resume that begins with a strong career summary is your best chance of getting noticed and called back for an interview.


(Photo: "Careers - Newspaper" by Flazingo on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)


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  • Sandy S.
    Sandy S.

    I paid for my resume; when read to have first impression :(

  • Izora Kelsey
    Izora Kelsey
    I retired three years ago, and want to return to work.  This technique means a lot to me.
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