How to ensure your resume summary is strong and stands out.

We’ve all been there, stuck between words which we think exemplify our skills well and words that actually demonstrate our winning capabilities, and spending what might seem like tireless hours trying to put together a winning CV in the hopes of landing an interview!

If you aren’t a writer by nature, its likely you too experience the challenges of writing a winning CV! This isn’t the first time we have talked about what makes a good CV, and it won’t be the last! As recruiters, we see a multitude of CV’s and more recently, I have seen a decline of candidates including resume summaries in job applications so in this article I wanted to offer tips to writing a strong resume summary and a reminder of the importance of them!

We often get so bogged down in perfecting our formatting and areas of experience that when it comes to having to write a resume summary we think ‘well, I’ve already explained my skills and experience, so this can’t be that important’. Unfortunately, the resume summary is the one aspect of a CV that most job seekers tend to omit.

What is a resume summary? A short paragraph which often sits at the top of your resume with your contact details and gives your perspective employer a glimpse into your professional experience and skills. It wasn’t until I began my role in recruitment that I realized just how many applications recruitment consultants or hiring managers have to sift through for one job. When there are hundreds of applications, it is no wonder that resume summaries play such an integral role – they are the section which will stand out and have the potential to be the deciding factor to your resume continuing to be read!

The good thing about resume summaries is that once you have perfected your summary, it can be useful in more ways than one. Your resume summary will likely include all of the details you’d use to craft an elevator pitch. Not only is an elevator pitch used to introduce yourself to someone in an unlikely or unplanned situation, but can be used in your interview’s to answer that tricky question of ‘tell us a bit about yourself’. So, spend time perfecting your resume summary and you’ll save time needing to craft your pitch!

Here are 5 tips to writing a strong resume summary:

1.      Make sure your summary is top of page on your resume – it should be the first thing your reader sees.

2.      Write your resume summary last. The thing about summaries…is they summarize! Make sure you have perfected the body of your resume first before reading over it and picking up the key, stand-out pieces to include in your summary.

3.      Keep it short, sharp and concise! Your summary should not be more than 1 paragraph (3-4 sentences). Cut out unnecessary words and focus on what captures your relevant skills, experience & qualifications.

4.      Keywords! Ensure you are using the keywords relevant to the role. Read the job application and pick out words which speaks to what the hirer is looking for.

5.      Always review. Just like you would re-read your entire CV. Make sure you take a separate moment just to review your resume summary. The last thing you want is an out of place fullstop or misspelt word. Remember, the resume summary is the first thing which is read so make sure you go in with a strong, error free statement!

The last piece of advice I have is to remember to continuously ask yourself ‘why would I hire me’. Put yourself in the shoes of a tough hirer and prepare to sell yourself!

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