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Table of Contents
- Resume Summary Basics
- Where Does the Summary Go
- Aim for 3 to 6 Sentences
- Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
- What is the Difference Between a Resume Objective and Summary
- Step by Step Guide to Creating a Killer Resume Summary
- Scan the job post carefully
- List Your Accomplishments
- Use Key Words
- Throw in Your Title
- Use Brand Name Association
Your resume summary can be the single reason you get the job or have your resume thrown in the shredder. Recruiters give your average resume only a glance of 6 seconds - and the first thing they see is your summary.
Think of a resume summary as that first impression. A great one can help you stand out from the competition. While it is no easy task to boil down your passion, dreams, and experiences to one short paragraph, there are ways to create a great resume summary.
Find out how to write a killer resume summary in just 5 steps. We'll have a look at the goal of the resume summary as well as what it is that recruiters specifically look for.
What is a resume summary? The resume summary is a short paragraph explaining your professional experience and goals. Your resume summary should answer two simple questions:
1. What is your experience?
2. What do you care about?
You have to clearly state what your experience is focused on. For example, if you’ve worked in hospitality for the past five years, this can be mentioned in your summary as “extensive experience in the hospitality industry.”
This is the place for you to showcase your best achievements and strongest interests. It is also a fantastic opportunity to mention your core values. Do your research on the company beforehand. Find out what their mission statement and values are. Make sure yours align with theirs and place them at the beginning of your resume summary.
- I have experience in hospitality which I’d like to advance and develop at your company.
- Concierge with 4+ years of experience in luxury hotels. Highly sociable, detail-oriented and patient, I am proficient at fostering lasting relationships with guests, working with Amadeus, and have a BA in Hospitality.
Now let’s break down what does and what doesn’t work. In the first example, there isn’t enough information. We don’t know how many years this person has been in the industry and whether they hold a degree in it. Moreover, it makes it seem like the applicant is saying...
The second example, on the other hand, is complete with detailed information. We know that this candidate is an established figure with 4+ years of experience in the field.
He tells us what his strongest suits are, which are specifically tailored to the job. We see that his values are to “foster lasting relationships with guests,” which again, is tailored to the hotel he is applying to. Finally, we see that this candidate holds a degree in the specific field.
Overall, the second summary tells us 90% of what we need to know about the applicant in just a few clear sentences. This is what our goal is.
In your resume summary, you may mention a quick detail about your hobbies and interests provided that it's relevant to the company mission and the job description. You may mention any noteworthy accomplishments as well.
The summary goes at the very top of the page. This makes perfect sense, as it is the first place the recruiter looks at. Having to search the entire document for this tiny fraction does not make sense.
It should be neatly formatted and easy to read. Remember, you are trying to sell your skills to the hiring manager.
As any good salesman would tell you, you have to show your value right away.
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You want to keep it short, yet mention all of the important information. The golden number of sentences is about three.
Anywhere from three to six is acceptable.
This, of course, will vary based on how many years of experience you have and whether you have some noteworthy accomplishments you need to mention.
If you use social media, think of your summary as a well-crafted Tweet. It has to:
- Peak interest quickly
- Include numerical values (e.g. years of experience, monetary goals fulfilled)
- Explain your values briefly
- Include a connection to the company (which can be your values)
- Mention your education (unless you’re an industry veteran with over 10 years of experience)
- Be clear - there is no room for ambiguous wording or spelling mistakes
Your resume summary is the first impression of you the hiring manager will get. Not having one or having it badly written can be a disaster.
A great one, on the other hand, will quickly let the recruiter know who you are and why you are a great fit for the job. For some extra inspiration, have a look at these resume templates.
While it is not obligatory to have a resume summary, it is necessary to include one if you really want the job. Not having a summary to the hiring manager means that they will have to go through your experiences one by one.
This takes time which they do not have. Make the recruiter’s life easier by explaining who you are.
Think of your introduction as an elevator pitch - short, simple and to the point. If you’ve got a great summary, your bullet points of experience will only solidify the recruiter’s good image of you.
Note: elevator pitch doesn’t literally mean pitching an elevator.
If you do not have a great summary, however, the extra work they will have to put in to review the resume will diminish your chances. The resume summary is not necessary for everyone. Those who can benefit the most are:
- Professionals with over a decade of experience
- Those looking to advance their career in the same sphere
- People without long gaps in their career history
What if you’ve had job history gaps or are changing industries? Not to worry. You will benefit from crafting a resume objective.
The resume objective aims to tell the recruiter two things:
- Who you are
- Why you want the job
It does not need to be as detailed as the summary, as it focuses on what you want to achieve as opposed to what you already have.
example of resume objective
Italian food lover, cheese whisperer, and pizza tossing champion. Dedicated, funny and perpetually hungry, James is seeking to leverage his 8+ years of cooking experience to bring you pasta so good, it will put Mario Batali to shame. Has an MA in wine tasting and has won the pesto-making contest for three years in a row.
In this case, the resume objective gives broader information and focuses heavily on what the candidate aims to accomplish. The resume objective is a good solution for those who:
- Are still in school
- Have work history gaps
- Are looking to change industries
- Have less than 2 years of work experience
Let’s think about this for a second: perhaps you know that you are the best fit for a social media company, but the hiring manager doesn’t yet. What do you do? You give them what they want.
Does this company need a results-oriented worker who pays a great deal of attention to detail and can work under pressure? Tailor your profile to the needs of the company.
The job post is hands-down the easiest way to see exactly what they need from you. Applying for jobs is no guessing game. This is why ads exist.
Let's look at this example.
Hotel Blossom is 5-star boutique hotel which strives to offer its guests a unique travel experience. We want to pamper our guests at our state of the art spa and healthy restaurant.
We are looking for a Front Desk Receptionist who represents these values. This is a Full-Time position beginning in May.
- Welcome guests and give tour of the hotel
- Give sightseeing recommendations
- Plan a trip route if desired
- Perform concierge duties - making restaurant reservations
- Offer Blossom's signature excursions to guests
- It is crucial to be on time and to be dressed elegantly
- BA in Hospitality or 3 years of related experience
- Extensive knowledge of boutique hotels
- Easy-going, friendly and with a great attention to detail
- Willing to make an extra effort and leave a great impression
- Previous concierge experience
- Sales experience is a plus
- Be able to lift 25lb boxes
- Have the stamina to stand up for eight hours a day when needed
As you can see, the Front Desk Receptionist needs to be able to plan trips, be on time and act as a concierge. Make sure to mention these aspects in your resume summary, along with your attention to detail and sales experience.
A great summary in this case will read:
Leverage your most relevant skills
Concierge with 3 years of experience in boutique hotels. Easy-going and detail oriented, I always do my best to leave a great impression with guests and help ensure that they have a unique experience. BA in Hospitality and prior sales experience.
They say that being humble makes life better, but your resume is not the place to be humble. If you have accomplishments, talk about them. After all, this is the best way to demonstrate confidence and value. Recruiters like those who go out there and get things done.
Being passionate and hard working is great, but not as great as having run 5K races for your company and won for years in a row, or managed to get promoted in a week. How do you know what your biggest accomplishments are.
Think back to the toughest problems you solved, how you got your promotions, why you were elected to lead and why your colleagues came to you for advice. These are all distinguished skills.
Sometimes it can be harder to see your own biggest achievements, so you can go ahead and ask your friends and family as well. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can bring a great new perspective. Include numerical values in this section. More often than not, great accomplishments can be quantified.
We know you're a rockstar. Now show it to the recruiter. Learn How to Mention Accomplishments on Your Resume (10+ Examples)
Successfully lead a team in order to achieve monthly quota
Is not the same as saying:
Successfully lead a team of five in order to reach a $200K sales quota
Numbers are your friends. Use them. Besides, imagine that you are the recruiter, staring at words all day. Processing numbers is quicker and easier. Do them a favor.
Scanning through the job description is a great way to pick out the keywords. After all, it's most likely that the recruiter wrote it.
Make sure to:
- Use strong verbs - spearheaded, executed, founded, resolved, etc.
- Choose descriptive adjectives - motivated, loyal, organized, patient, etc.
- Pay attention to the tasks they need you to perform
- See any additional requirements
Check out the tasks the job requires you to perform and explain why you are capable. For example, if they need you to manage a team, let them know that you did so with great success in the past.
If it comes to physical requirements (e.g. be at least 5’10” tall, lift 25+ lbs), mention that you are capable of performing the tasks without a problem.
Try to mirror the language of the job description. If it says that one of the requirements is to “provide personalized care and attention to guests,” you can directly borrow that line.
In your resume say: “Provided personalized attention to guests at Hotel X.” This will make the recruiter instantly relate to your profile because you are giving them what they need.
There is a reason we all have titles. Their aim is yes, to make us look important. This is why it’s imperative that you mention yours. While some successful people will simply say “I write” or “I’m a frequent traveler,” you have to actually explain what it is that you do.
Saying “I write” for someone like J.K. Rowling is perfectly nonchalant, but unless you are very well-known in your industry, you should say that you are the “Executive Writer for show X” and have been recognized by the TV Writers’ Guild. Make sure that your title on the resume grabs attention.
Make it bold and place it at the very beginning of your work experience section and in your summary. Your title will be the gateway into your professional chronology. The worst thing you can do is to leave the recruiter wondering what you do.
Your position has to be clear and straightforward. Including all of your titles from previous experiences. It will show the hiring manager your progression in the industry.
I bet you’ve heard the old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This applies in the professional sphere still as strongly today as it did in the past.
Having a big name on your resume can open doors. It’s not the same to say that you’ve worked at a luxury hotel and to mention that you’ve been a Housekeeping Manager for The Four Seasons.
Make your references more concrete. Recruiters like to see who you’ve worked with and if they recognize the name, this can tip the scale to your advantage. The truth is that recruiters aren’t always right about hires and they know that.
No one is infallible, so having the affirmation that a big brand has already trusted you makes hiring managers’ lives easier.
How do you mention brand names in the
Something to bear in mind here is to be casual about it. For example, you can say: "Manage outsourced sales teams for multinational companies including Nike, Asics, and Adidas."
Now let’s take a look at how to leverage your personal connections in the job hunting process.
THE TRUST FACTOR
People are more likely to favor those who have already been deemed appropriate by an acquaintance.
I’ll give you a basic example. If I went to the shoe store to get sneakers, I’d see 20 different pairs. Instead of having to choose, I’d rather ask a runner friend of mine which is best from his experiences and buy based on trust.
- Get you interviews
- Help you get ahead of the competition thanks to the “tried & true” element
- Give you an insight of what skills you should leverage
- Make you seem more important and valuable to the recruiter
How do you find connections?
Some people get intimidated by the idea of seeking connections. There’s nothing scary or awkward about it. You don’t have to sell your soul for a good word. Just go on LinkedIn.
Based on your industry and connections, you will see “suggested contacts.” You can add them, mentioning that you both know "John Smith" or that you both share an interest in virtual reality.
How to start a conversation
First off, choose to write a personalized message when you send a friend request. The sample LinkedIn invite message reads:
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
This gets 0/10 points for originality. If you’ve ever worked in cold calling or sales, you know that people get dozens of random invites like this daily. You have to peak their interest right off the bat.
Do a quick research on the person. The fastest ways to do that are through:
- LinkedIn history and shared content
- Their Tweets
- Their personal website/ blog
See what you have in common. Did you both read The 4 Hour Work Week? Do you both like to sail? Instead of the random invite say this:
I see that both you and I share an interest in photography. I’m a fan of Canon myself. I see from your blog that you just got the new Mark IV model. What are your thoughts on it so far? Would love to connect and get your insight.”
This message is highly personalized. It shows that you:
- Did your research
- Took the time to read their blog content
- Indeed share the same interest and know what you’re talking about
- Believe that their opinion is expert and want to hear more of it
This will make the person feel important and let’s be honest; everyone likes to feel important.
Another strategy you can utilize with LinkedIn is to ask your contacts to introduce you to the hiring manager. If you see that you went to college with someone who works at Lonely Planet, for example, drop them a message casually saying:
How’s everything going? I thought of you as I’m applying for a position at Lonely Planet’s sales division and was wondering whether you could introduce me to John Smith at HR. It would be much appreciated.”
The trick here is not to seem too selfish. Ask your friend how things are going so that it’s not all about you and the favor you want. Use your Emotional Intelligence.
Don't skip the resume summary. It is a vital element of your profile and having one can increase your chances of landing the job.
Make sure to be specific about your past experience. Use strong verbs and elements from the job description. List any brand names that could add value to your candidacy.
Ease the recruiter's job by clearly defining your title and industry. They have to be able to tell what you do within a second of seeing your resume.
Remember that it's not about you, it's all about the business, so demonstrate clearly the value that you will bring to them. Show that you care and do your research.
When you think about it, businesses want to invest in employees who care. Would you want to train someone and pay them so that they can use you to advance their skills only for their own benefit and not the company's? That's right; you wouldn't.
Your resume summary should explain why and how you want to help the company advance.
Finally, don't be shy when it comes to using contacts. Reaching out to a common connection and asking for an introduction can be a great way to establish a conversation with the hiring manager.
Be genuine in your outreach and don't hold back on bragging about your past accomplishments. Incorporate this advice into your resume summary and be confident that you will do well.