Mastering the Art of Resume Summary Statements: 5 Essential Tips for Success

Posted by in Career Advice

Are you looking to stand out to hiring managers?

Writing a compelling resume summary statement is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Your summary statement—otherwise known as a summary of qualifications, career profile, or professional summary— is a clear and concise description of your professional background, skills, and accomplishments. Located at the top of your resume, this section gives hiring managers an at-a-glance overview of who you are and what you have to offer. 

Summary statements are important because they:

  • Highlight your best qualifications
  • Catch the attention of busy hiring managers
  • Entice hiring managers to read the rest of your resume

Use these 5 essential tips to craft a successful summary statement in no time. 

1. Keep It Short

Your summary statement should not exceed 3-5 lines in length, so no more than a few sentences. 

A resume summary statement is a thumbnail snapshot of your qualifications and is meant to be read quickly. You can elaborate on your qualifications and cover additional information in other parts of your resume. 

If your resume summary statement surpasses the recommended length, pare it down to only the most essential and compelling details of your professional identity. You can easily determine the most important points by focusing on what skills and accomplishments would serve you in the specific role you’re applying for. 

2. Highlight Your Value

Your resume serves one main purpose: To convince hiring managers to interview you. Your summary statement is not the time to gush about your passion for the industry or talk about how badly you want the job. 

A successful summary statement puts 100% emphasis on how the employer will benefit from choosing to hire you. 

To communicate your value: Describe the specific skills and expertise you will bring to the company. Prove that you’re an effective worker by highlighting past accomplishments, valuable capabilities, and relevant experience or education. 

3. Be Specific:

When discussing your value, use specific numbers to quantify your accomplishments. Do not include buzzwords like “team player.” These terms may seem common enough, but they are cliché and vague. 

For example, to be more specific, don’t write you “significantly increased sales” when you can write that you “increased sales by 5%.”

Not only does this make your value crystal clear, but it proves your claims, shows hiring managers exactly what you’ve accomplished, and looks more impressive.

4. Include Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases taken directly from the job listing. Including keywords serves two purposes: Demonstrating you are fit for the position and passing applicant tracking software.  

Many companies (including almost 99% of Fortune 500 companies) use applicant tracking software (ATS) to filter job applications. This means, when you apply to a job, ATS scans your resume for words from the job listing to determine if you meet the qualifications or not. If it doesn’t find enough words in common, your resume may get rejected before anyone even lays eyes on it.

To pass ATS filters, you must include keywords in your resume, and your summary statement is no exception.

So, for example, if a job listing is looking for a “hard-working, highly creative individual,” then you may identify yourself as a “hard-working, highly creative art director” (or whatever you are) in your resume summary statement. 

5. Tailor Your Summary to Each Job Listing

As you likely know, you should tailor your resume to every job you apply to, as opposed to sending the same resume to everybody. Your resume summary statement is no different.

By tailoring your resume summary statement to the individual job descriptions, you show the hiring teams that you are interested in and qualified for their specific opening. Customization also helps you integrate keywords into your summary statement for an ATS-optimized resume. 

To properly and easily customize your summary statement, include keywords, skills, experiences, and accomplishments that relate directly to the requirements and role description included in the job listing.

Customizing your resume summary statement may seem tiring and tedious. Creating a template can cut down on the time and energy of each re-write. 

Just write your summary statement and remove the parts you want to customize (like adjectives, some parts of your experience). When you’re ready to apply, just add in the missing pieces to suit the job you are applying for. 

The impact of a well-written resume summary statement is well worth the effort. Next time you score an interview, you’ll thank yourself for following these 5 essential tips for summary statement success. 


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