How To Write a Resume Summary
If used correctly, a resume summary is a type of resume introduction that can improve your chances of landing an interview and winning your dream job.
Its place at the top of your resume means that hiring managers will read it before deciding whether to give the rest of your application a chance. That means creating an excellent resume summary maximizes your chances of being invited in to a job interview.
How Do You Write a Resume Summary?
A good resume summary explains why you’re the best candidate for the job, so learning how to write one will help your job search efforts.
Unlike the traditional resume objective which focuses on your career goals, a resume summary instead showcases your professional strengths.
Use Bullet Points or a Paragraph
Writing a resume summary is simple. It’s usually formatted as a three to four sentence paragraph, but I’ve found that bullets work even better.
Each sentence or bullet point should describe a different one of your career-related successes. These can be skills you’ve mastered, certifications you’ve earned, or the traits that have earned you recognition in the workplace.
Numbers Add Context
You can also add numbers to give the hiring manager context about each of those successes. Try to include at least one number in each sentence of your resume summary.
Summary Example & Why It’s Effective
Here’s an example of an effective summary:
- Caregiving: Provide exemplary health care on a 25-person intensive care ward
- Communication skills: Interface daily with 14 colleagues on patient treatments
- Empathetic: Commended 5 times for bedside manner
- Knowledgeable: Graduated Rhode Island College nursing program with 3.9 GPA
Bullet Points with Subheadings
I prefer bullet points because they’re more effective at catching the hiring manager’s eye. For competitive fields like nursing, having subheadings formatted in bold gives them extra visibility.
Each subheading is explained with a relevant accomplishment, and numbers provide context for that accomplishment.
For example, because the candidate clarified that they worked on a 25-patient ward, a hospital’s hiring committee would see the applicant would also cope on a 20-patient ward.
Strong Action Verbs
Additionally, each sentence of a resume summary should start with a compelling action verb. Good action verbs are more descriptive and make you sound proactive.
For example, take the sentence “Went to daily meetings with 7 team members.” “Went” is a weak verb, and suggests that the candidate only did the minimum expected of them. It also doesn’t clarify whether they took a leading role in these meetings or were passive listeners.
In our nursing example, the candidate instead uses the word “interface,” which indicates they took an active role in discussions, and highlights their communication skills.
Using action verbs is an excellent way to make your bullet points more convincing. You should use them in your work history section for the same reason.
Who Should Use a Resume Summary?
A resume summary is ideal if you have relevant experience in the field you’re seeking work in. If this is the case, a resume summary is the most effective way of convincing a hiring manager to hire you.
If you’re a recent graduate or have no experience in your field, you should consider writing a resume objective instead. A resume objective focuses on your ambitions, so it’s perfect if you lack relevant work experience.
Whether you use a resume objective or resume summary, the key to writing an effective resume introduction is packing it full of your work-related skills, accomplishments, and qualifications. Then, quantify your successes and add compelling action verbs to make it more likely the hiring manager will read your resume instead of someone else’s.