How to Write a Professional Summary on a Resume?

I don’t know if you are like me but, I like reading. In the good old days, pre-eBooks, I would mooch around old paper-pungent book stores (that inspirational smell), picking up books often based on their cover picture, then glancing at the summary inside the cover. Scanning quickly, literally in a matter of seconds, I would know if I would purchase it or place it back on the shelf. Seconds! It takes literally just a few seconds to make my ‘informed’ decision. Resume readers are often the same (minus the pungent smell). With piles of resumes to wade through, the summary will be the first thing to be noticed (or not noticed). So, you see, the Summary is Key to catching the readers eye, drawing them in and making her/him want to know more about you. And you are the best thing since sliced bread!! Aren’t you? Simply the best, better than all the rest!!

 Marketing Executive

The summary isn’t just a place to say ‘hi’ and ‘hello’, it is THE place to shout Hi I am exactly what you need? But how do we shout loud enough. Well there are a number of things that can turn up the volume on your summary so let’s take a look:

Shout! Shout! Let it all out!

Well maybe not all of it, but the best bits definitely! The summary works best as a snapshot of you – Who you are, what you do, and how good you are at doing it. So, who are you?

Marketing Specialist? Accountant? Teacher? Nurse? IT Professional? Sales Associate?

But not just any Teacher or associate. You are good at what you do – You know but let them know it too!

Bullets or Short paragraph.

Regardless of your personal feelings regarding the right to bear arms, about 5 bullets work well at clearly drawing attention to you and your abilities. If you choose a paragraph format, then keep it to about 5 sentences.

Who You Are

Describes your professional title, position and amount of experience, and may even indicate your professional character. Job ads often very clearly state what kind of person is needed. Take for example this snippet from a job posting for a Marketing Manager:

‘Innovative, self-motivated and a team-member who can be a key player in our growing organization…..’

Key words to focus on could be innovative, self-motivated, team-member/player

So, you could describe yourself as an Innovative Marketing Strategist, offering 3 years playing a key role within dynamic marketing teams.’

Power it up with adjectives or phrases such as those provided in job ads that take you from the ordinary to the special and align you with the person a company is seeking. So ‘Marketing Manager’ becomes ‘Results-driven Marketing Manager’ or Dynamic Marketing Strategist. So, your first bullet (or sentence) might look something like this:

Dynamic, Innovative Marketing Executive with more than 8 years of experience delivering strategic leadership driving market expansion.’

What makes you standout

The next 3-4 bullets work well if they highlight the most impressive parts of your resume. Try and select 3 or 4 achievements from your resume and reword them into snappy bullet points. Include measurable results if possible, awards or major projects. Try to link each one to job requirement presented in the job offer. These could be sales growth figures, size of budgets managed, performance transformations, or leadership

  • Managed project planning and implementation for a $15M Healthcare facility modernization project.
  • Delivered double-digit revenue growth for XYX enterprise software products and services.
  • Reengineered operations, and renegotiated external vendor contracts to secure $1M in cost savings annually.

In Summary

  1. This is a summary. Keep it short. Aim for 4-5 bullets or sentences
  2. Write your professional summary last. It’s surprisingly easy if you’ve already finished other sections of your resume.
  3. Sum up what you have to offer in alignment with what they want. Identify and use the key words and phrases from the job ad and description.
  4. Emphasize proven experience – try to illustrate your skills by sharing your actual accomplishments.
  5. These are guidelines not hard and fast rules, and every job, position and personal experience influences what will work best.

Here are some examples to inspire:

  • Warehouse Supervisor with Management, Customer Service, and Forklift Experience.
  • Dependable manager with 15+ years of experience in warehouse management and employee supervision.
  • Skilled at managing inventory control, shipping & receiving, customer relations and safety & compliance.
  • Certified Power Equipment Trainer, Forklift Operator and Reach Operator skilled at coaching.
  • Proven record of achievement driving continuous process improvement, cost efficiency and service quality.

Certified Project Management Professional offering 15 + years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for Fortune 500 firms across a wide range of industries including enterprise software, digital marketing, advertising technology, e-commerce and government. Major experience lies in strategizing and leading cross-functional teams to bring about fundamental changes and improvement strategy, process and profitability.

  • Communications & Media graduate with 5+ years of Sales Experience.
  • AT&T Customer Service Excellence award winner for the California market.
  • Hit 95% of sales targets for 5 consecutive years.
  • Achieved most sales in region during 2015 & 2016 iPhone 6 launch
  • Possess 5 years of B2B sales and Top 5 ranking Sales Rep in the region.