How To Write An Amazing Resume Summary Statement (Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

What is the best way to start my resume?

How do I get the attention of the hiring manager?

These are questions we have all asked ourselves at one point or another.

And to muddy the waters a little bit, we have the ongoing “battle” between “Team Resume Objective” and and “Team Resume Summary Statement”.

What, you’ve never heard of this age-old war over the real estate at the very beginning of your resume?

Don’t worry, it’s a relatively new struggle brought about by our constant desire for finding an advantage over the other candidates vying for the same jobs we are. And we’ve made all of this much easier by giving you our free Resume Summary Cheat Sheet.

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our resume summary PDF Cheat Sheet that hands you word-for-word resume summary samples you can use today.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RESUME SUMMARY CHEAT SHEET

 

“But what’s the difference, and which one is right for me?”

In a previous article we tackled Resume Objectives and what they are and who should use them (head over to take a look and see if this is the best choice for you).

Generally speaking, people who were just entering the work force, perhaps lacked experience in their fields, or were in the middle of a massive career change benefited most by using an objective statement.

But what about someone with experience or someone who isn’t changing their field?

Well, that’s where the summary statement comes into play!

If you just want to jump straight to the resume summary statement examples further along in this article then CLICK HERE

Understanding the Resume Summary Statement

So what exactly is a resume summary statement?

A resume summary statement is similar to an objective statement in that it is a quick way for a job seeker to catch a hiring manager’s attention by summarizing critical information at the top of your resume in an easy to read format.

Before we go any further, I want to stop you right now. A “Resume Objective” and “Resume Summary Statement” are NOT interchangeable. They are, in fact, two very different things and should not be confused.

Resume statements essentially are just a few short, well worded, well targeted sentences that summarize your skills and experiences.

Sometimes called “Qualification Summaries” or even just “Competencies,” these two or three sentences can, when done right, give you a real advantage in the hiring game.

I don’t get it. I’m already qualified to do the job. What’s the point? Can’t they just read my resume and get that information themselves?

Absolutely.But remember, hiring managers are often going through dozens, if not hundreds of resumes per available job, so anything that can make their job easier is a good thing.

Imagine this…you’re the perfect candidate and you just know you’re the one the company should hire but the manager has been going through mountains of resumes. By the time they get to yours, they’re just skimming…trying to make it through.

They glance at your resume but, in their tired overwhelmed rush to get done, miss a few key sentences. Your resume, and your prospects at the company, are accidentally ignored.

noooCue long drawn out overly dramatic cry of despair:

Noooooooooooooo!

Now imagine if that SAME resume had had a summary statement at the top clearly outlining why you’re the perfect candidate.

Instead of skimming, the hiring manager read that, nodded in satisfaction, and dropped your resume on the top of the “To Interview” pile.

Cue victory dance!

Think of a resume summary statement as a good friend at a party. They want to introduce you to the hiring manager in such a way that the manager wants to talk to you!

A great resume statement is your job seeking wingman!

Okay, let’s go to our make believe place and pretend we’re outside the gates to a huge party. There are hundreds of guests (job seekers) waiting along with us but only one bouncer (hiring manager). Everyone wants to get into the party (job) and meet the host (your new boss).

Problem is, this bouncer is VERY picky and is only letting in a very small group of people.

Everyone lines up and gets just ONE SHOT to impress the bouncer. You can see people in line ahead of you eagerly walking up to the bouncer and having varying degrees of luck. Most get pointed towards the exit before they even open their mouths.

A few manage to get in a word or two before they too are pointed towards the door. You watch in slack jawed amazement as just three people out of the hundred ahead of you actually make it past the velvet ropes.

Then suddenly it’s your turn. You stand in front of the bouncer, your heart in your throat, your mouth dry. You start to extend your hand for a hearty handshake but before you can get it up, you catch a blur out of the corner of your eye.

A man swoops in, standing next to you with a huge grin on his face. He reaches out, grabs the bouncer’s hand and shakes it for you.

Hey! I have got to introduce you to this guy!” the stranger tells the bouncer, looking over his shoulder at you with a smile. “Seriously, this guy worked miracles at his last job.

Not only is he an expert communicator with over 10 years of experience but he has the proven ability to manage multiple projects while meeting challenging deadlines…and didn’t our host specifically state those were the kinds of people he was looking to meet tonight?

The bouncer looks at you. Gone is the squinty eyed glare replaced with a look of contemplation and…dare we say…interest?

He grunts and nods, reaches for the ropes…and you’re in!

But just who was that mysterious man?

That, my friend, was your resume statement…summing up your qualifications into a neat and tidy power packed punch of awesome directly targeting what the hiring managers are looking for.

Okay, so you’ve hooked me. Now, how do I write a good summary statement?

Well, read on to the next section to find out! But first, take the time to download our free Resume Summary Cheat Sheet, which hands you word-for-word-resume summaries you can use on your resume right now. Click here to get the Resume Summary Cheat Sheet.

How To Write A Great Resume Summary Statement

First off you need to do you research. Just like everything else you’ve done up to this point in your job search quest, you need to make sure that you’re maximizing your potential.

You have a very limited space to use on your resume and the last thing you want to do is waste any of it.

The goal is to get your statement down to four to six bullets (give or take a couple) distilled down into two or three laser focused sentences.

The first thing you want to do is go back and look at the job you’re applying for and determine your target audience. Re-read the job posting, keeping your eyes open for key phrases and words.

  • Who are they looking for?
  • What do they want that person to bring to the table? What value can they provide?
  • What would l look for in a hire if I were the one posting this job?

Once you identify those things, it’s time to figure out how you fit into them.

  • What are your top selling points? Find three or four things that define you as a professional and are unique to you. Are you a God among men when it comes to sales or customer service? Are you a DaVinci of schematics and CAD drawings? Make sure these are things you ENJOY doing…don’t list things you’re good at but that you hate doing…or you’ll get stuck doing them again.
  • What critical problems did you identify in the job posting and how are you positioned to solve them? How does your summary align with the company job requirements?
  • What are your career highlights and key strengths? How much experience do you have in doing what you’re doing? Do you have additional certifications or achievements that set you apart?
  • Where does what you want and bring intersect with what the company wants and needs?

Now, keep in mind that the above things are things you WANT to put in your statement…and also remember there are things NOT to put in your statement. Things like:

  • Microsoft Office. We get it. Everyone should be proficient with this suite of programs and if you’re not, then hurry up and get proficient. Even if you’re a technological wizard your hardware and software skills should go in their own separate section…not your summary statement.
  • Things you’re good at but that you hate doing. We touched on this briefly above but it’s something that bears repeating. If you don’t like doing it in your job now, don’t list it in your summary statement or you’ll have to keep doing it.
  • Tired, old adjectives. These are words like ‘results-oriented,’ and ‘hardworking,’ ‘innovative’ and ‘motivated.’ Use action verbs instead (we’ve written another blog post about action verbs that you need to read.. click here to read now).

MIKE'S TIP

If you know anything about the Interview Guys, you know that we value "tailoring" over almost anything else when it comes to virtually anything job interview-related. Hence our creation of the Tailoring Method (head over to the article to learn the basics of tailoring). Your resume summary statement is no different. During your research, you need to identify the Qualities (knowledge, skills and abilities) that your company values for your position and infuse them into your summary. See examples below for how to do this.

Now that we’ve looked at what to include and what NOT to include, it’s time to start writing your own resume statements.

Start out your statement by being specific! Make sure it’s tailored to not only the position, but the company as well. Are you applying to five jobs? You should have five objective statements. Ten jobs? Ten statements. Two hundred jobs? Two hundred statements. Get the idea?

Focus on how you’re a benefit to the company…not how the company can benefit you.

Keep it valuable…that is…make sure you point out what you bring to the table.

Keep it short and sweet.

Always open your statement with your title. Why? Because you want to communicate your professional identity immediately! You want whoever is reading the resume to know AT A GLANCE exactly who they’re dealing with.

Remember, there are lots of people applying for these jobs and the last thing you want to do is get lost in the shuffle.

Plus, if the job is specifically looking for someone to fill a role and you’re already doing that role at another job, you’ve just ensured that the hiring mangers take a second look at your resume!

Next, take all the things we discussed above and pull it all together into your summary statement.

Resume Summary Statement Examples

Here are a few resume summary statement examples for professionals who would be considered experts in their fields.

As mentioned above, you want to tailor these statements to the needs of the company you are interviewing with. For example, let’s say in this first example that the applicant researched the company and discovered that nearly all of their employees shared a common Quality… “management experience”. So this needs to be highlighted in the summary statement. The Quality is highlighted in orange (Be sure to support the fact that you have that quality with supporting statements:

Architectural Project Coordinator with over fifteen years of experience. Versatile, bilingual professional with management experience ranging in size from small private projects to full scale multi-million dollar high profile corporate construction projects. Ability to oversee and manage hundreds of individuals while ensuring timely completion of project deadlines all while remaining on or under budget.

This resume summary example is well done for a number of reasons.

First off, it’s short and sweet. Secondly, whoever is reading it knows exactly who they’re dealing with. It opens with the job seeker’s title, Architectural Project Coordinator.

You also know they’re a professional with 15 years of experience and then it quickly and cleanly goes into details about what they’ve accomplished in those 15 years.

Most importantly though is the fact that they have identified the Quality (or qualities) the company values and infused it into the statement along with some proof. Be sure to include a supporting line that proves you have the quality!

Let’s look at another. We assume that the applicant has done his/her research and is now tailoring the summary:

Current Administrative Office Manager. Versatile, reliable and efficient with 8+ years experience supporting managers and executives in high paced environments. Diversified skills include client relations, human resources, recruiting, project management, and administrative support. Excellent phone and digital communication skills.

Another solid summary!

Project Manager with 10+ years experience specializing in web production, education publications, public outreach and consumer packaging. Professional, creative, flexible with proven analytical skills. Adept at researching and crafting award winning marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients and products.

Are you getting the hang of these?

Okay, here’s another one:

Experienced sales manager in retail industry with strengths in customer service, sales and negotiations. Proven skills in marketing, advertising, product integration, and promotions. Successful in developing strategies that have resulted in an over 20% increase in new customers. Instrumental in developing an incentives rewards program with a repeat customer success rate of over 45%.

Now, if I were a hiring manager, I’d want to know more about each of the individuals with the summaries we’ve looked at above.

But what if you don’t have any experience? Or if your experiences aren’t directly related to what you’re applying for?

Again, think long and hard before putting a summary statement on your resume if this is you. You might want to consider a qualifications summary which we outlined in last week’s post…but if you just have to have a summary…here are a few examples to help you get started.

For someone with no experience or a recent graduate:

Engineering Graduate with leadership training and experience with academic training at the University of Montana. Proven skills in project management, organization and research with a background in office administration and organization. Able to provide employers with administrative support and professional communication skills.

Okay, not bad. Certainly better than nothing…but again, make sure to seriously consider the objective statement first.

For someone who is changing careers:

Proven IT Specialist with experience in start-ups as well as established operations leveraging expertise in organization, computer networking, and problem solving to provide exceptional user support and assistance in resolving conflict. Experience includes managing sensitive materials and providing after-hours support for clients.

This one is good. It lets the person know that is reading the resume that the applicant is coming from a different field but that the skills they bring can translate to the job they’re applying for.

So there you have it. Resume Summary Statements. Your perfect resume wingman!

Remember that the most important thing for you to do is spend the time researching the company you are interviewing with and tailor your summary to the company you are interviewing with.

Thanks for reading!

FREE: Resume Summary PDF Cheat Sheet

Get our handy Resume Summary Cheat Sheet PDF.

In it you'll get word-for-word sample resume summaries covering a variety of positions you can use right away.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RESUME SUMMARY CHEAT SHEET

 

 

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36 Comments

  • Ruth

    Reply Reply September 29, 2015

    The information provided was very helpful. I was not sure about the difference between the objective and the summary and you have adequately clarified that. Thank you!

  • Isaiah

    Reply Reply October 7, 2015

    very helpful, on my way to getting a job through this forum. Thanks alot.

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply October 20, 2015

    Very useful information, thanks! I think you’ve summarised the difference between objective and summary perfectly. That segment I feel is the most crucial element to any resume as it defines the overall intention of a candidate’s goal.

    As a recruiter myself, I like to think its similar to search engine optimisation – has the client got the keywords that I’m looking for? ie: the right capabilities and qualifications), if yes then they appear in the search results and are assessed to the next level.

  • ameo.link

    Reply Reply October 21, 2015

    Howdy excellent website! Does running a blog like this take a
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  • Angela

    Reply Reply October 21, 2015

    Hello,

    If your resume is set up in bullet points, should your summary be bulleted as well or is it appropriate to keep in paragraph form?

    Thanks.

    • Mike Simpson

      Reply Reply October 21, 2015

      Angela,

      You would generally want your summary to be in paragraph form, however, I would argue that you should use the method that is standard for your industry. You should be able to find some examples by doing a quick google search.

  • Angela

    Reply Reply October 21, 2015

    Also, I am creating a resume for multiple jobs after graduation, do you recommend just using the objective statement vs summary when the business is currently unknown? (i.e. distributing at career fairs)

    • Mike Simpson

      Reply Reply October 21, 2015

      If you cannot tailor the objective/statement to a certain company or position, then it should reflect your goals and the value you will add to the company you are applying to.

  • Deja

    Reply Reply December 16, 2015

    Thank you for clarifying the summary. I was becoming very frustrated, being told I should have one on my resume, yet, no one to guide me in getting it done! Now that I have read your article, I can regroup and get it done! Thank you!!

  • Kristen

    Reply Reply January 2, 2016

    I have lots of experience that is easily marketable to any industry, but I have earned it by working in many industries. For example, I have the ability to communicate (written and verbal), organize and plan, make decisions and solve problems, analyze data, supervise, market and sell, and research. I’ve learned all this by working in security, retail, sales, administrative, and consulting positions.

    Do I address the multiple sources of my skills in the summary? If so, how would you suggest I present it?

    • Mike Simpson

      Reply Reply January 7, 2016

      Kristen,

      These are a lot of great qualities to have! Here’s the thing. You don’t want to list them all though, you want to “tailor” the statement to the job and company you are interviewing with. Focus on the qualities that are important to the company and for the position.

      Start by looking in the job description, and then do some more research on the companies web properties (ex. their website, Facebook page, etc.)

      Hope this helps.

      Mike

  • TMC

    Reply Reply February 25, 2016

    Easy and clear to understand, sets the right tips to apply for best recruiters. chao

  • Lawale Fawale

    Reply Reply February 29, 2016

    Splendid! Simplified summary. Keep the good work.

  • Rich McMullen

    Reply Reply April 7, 2016

    I can’t tell if you highlighted the quality for our benefit or because you suggest actually highlighting it on the resume.

    • Mike Simpson

      Reply Reply April 7, 2016

      Rich,

      Good question! It is for your benefit.

      You don’t want to physically highlight the quality on your resume, rather, you want to “highlight” it by featuring it (or focusing on it) in your summary statement.

      Mike

  • Tom

    Reply Reply April 20, 2016

    You guys give AWESOME advice. It’s simple to understand with examples and a short read. Who could ask for more!

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply April 24, 2016

      Thanks Tom, good luck!

  • muni

    Reply Reply May 19, 2016

    Very useful information

    thank u soo much

  • Jess

    Reply Reply May 24, 2016

    Thank you so much for the advice! I am currently looking to switch careers and I have been out of the “normal” work force for a couple years (quit social services to take a break, ended up nannying for the last 2 years) and I’m ready to get back out there. I have a varied work history but a lot of transferable skills, so this helped a lot with figuring out what to focus on and the difference between objective and summary. Thanks again! I’ve been reading through a lot of the other articles on the site as well. Lots of very valuable information!

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply May 25, 2016

      Great to hear Jess!

  • Carole

    Reply Reply July 29, 2016

    Guys, this is so helpful! For years I have struggled to write a resume summary, and this actually made it a little bit…fun! I know, crazy, right? Thanks for all of the work you put into this post 🙂

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply August 2, 2016

      Great to hear! Thanks Carole!

  • JB

    Reply Reply August 10, 2016

    Summarized perfectly for the population I work with!

  • Lorena Herrera-Castro

    Reply Reply August 25, 2016

    I really enjoy reading your work, all the references to make it enjoyable but still relaying the message. Well done! Also Thank you for helping my out and expanding my knowledge.

  • mariana

    Reply Reply September 16, 2016

    VERY HELPFUL!!! THANKS FOR GREAT, USEFUL AND VERY SPECIFIC INFORMATION.

  • Cindi

    Reply Reply September 18, 2016

    Hello. I am switching careers (back to areas of previous experience) AND moving back to my hometown. Do I need to put this information into my objective statement?

    • Mike Simpson

      Reply Reply September 20, 2016

      Cindi,

      This information is not essential for your objective or summary statements. However, you may want to mention it in your cover letter so that the hiring manager is aware of your situation.

      Mike

  • Esther

    Reply Reply November 9, 2016

    Quite helpful. Learned alot. Thanks

  • Ayush Gupta

    Reply Reply December 4, 2016

    Hi, I have one year of experience, which will work out for me Objective or Summary or something mix of both mentioning some key skills and experience …

  • hezz

    Reply Reply March 16, 2017

    thanks this a great article. now I can tackle the negatives and improve on my attitude.
    thanks again

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply March 16, 2017

      You’re welcome Hezz!

  • goutham

    Reply Reply July 10, 2017

    Your the boss sir.
    The best blog for resume I ever read.
    Thanks so much. Pretty helpful.
    With lots of love and respect.
    Peace

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