A career summary introduces your resume, highlighting your most notable achievements and qualifications. It typically replaces the traditional objective statement, focusing on what you’ve accomplished, what unique skills you can offer employers and how you’ve contributed at your previous jobs. An engaging summary can quickly distinguish you from other applicants, pique an employer’s interest and encourage him to invite you in for an interview.
This section should draw attention to your most noteworthy and relevant qualifications, not repeat the rest of your resume. Select three or four qualifications to highlight, limiting your summary to between one and three paragraphs. Devote no more than three lines to each. Grab the employer’s attention with a headline. For example, for a real estate position you might lead with “Real Estate professional specializing in luxury and high-end residential properties.”
Customized to the Job
Tailor your summary for each position, incorporating keywords and job titles used in the job posting. In some cases, this might require creating several versions of your resume. If you’re applying for a position as a magazine copy editor, for example, you might include terms such as line editing, proofreading and AP style. However, if you’re seeking a position as a technical editor for a medical journal, you might focus on qualifications such as in-depth knowledge of health care terminology and concepts.
Your resume should convey what you can offer employers, focusing on concrete, measurable contributions and accomplishments. If you’re applying for a sales position, point out that you made 15 percent more sales than your colleagues or that your company honored you as the top sales person for your region. For an executive position, note how many employees you supervised or how large a budget you managed. Also point out any programs or initiatives you developed at previous jobs and describe the impact on the company. For example, perhaps your efforts increased employee retention by 20 percent or boosted profits by 35 percent.
Your career summary should present an overall picture of what sets you apart from other applicants. You’re not limited to discussing your technical skills or knowledge or focusing on your past job titles. You can also highlight personality traits and soft skills that make you an ideal match for the position and the company. If you’re applying for a job that requires a great deal of interaction with clients, for example, note that you have excellent written and verbal communication skills, are an excellent listener and know how to put people at ease.