How to Write a Resume Summary

how to write a resume summary

Once you understand what skills to put on a resume and how to list certifications on your resume, the next aspect to understand is a resume summary. Some people may choose to write a resume summary and a skills section–but these are essentially the same thing. 

A resume summary should be a short summary of your career and the relevant skills you possess. You can also include this in your cover letter, but as many companies don’t bother reading a cover letter, it’s probably best to keep it right at the top of your resume. For those of us blessed with resume-writing skills, this is a snap–but those without eloquent prose may have to do some research on choosing the right resume writing service.

Below, we’ll discuss how to write a resume summary, whether it’s necessary, and how to use keywords to help your resume rise to the top of the stack. 

How Is a Summary Different Than a Skills Section?

Where a skills section may have a list of bullet points that includes relevant experience, a resume summary has the same information in written paragraph form. If you have a skills section you’re proud of, there’s no need to change it, but for those in certain job fields, a summary might be better.

Which Is Best?

It depends on personal preference and what job you’re pursuing—either a summary or skills section can work. For those working in fields where we have to sell ourselves as a person rather than with our software skills, a resume summary can be a great way to do that. Mentioning how your customer service skills are tied in with your optimistic attitude and eight years of experience in a short paragraph makes you a force to be reckoned with. 

Resume summaries aren’t rocket science—just take those skill bullet points and connect them together into sentences. Aim for three or four sentences here.

For those applying for a role that requires them to promote their software skills, a skills section is a fantastic and easy-to-read way to convey these details and specific kinds of software.

Is a Summary Necessary?

Ask a recruiter at a high-volume corporation, and they’ll tell you a summary is not vital–a hiring manager will likely just read your job history for keywords and pull your resume out of the stack if it meets their requirements. After that, they’ll look at your skills section to find the relevant keywords.

However, if you ask a manager who is looking to hire a new lawyer for their law firm, they may read each and every resume summary they see. In this case, a resume summary might be your ticket to talking your way into a job interview. 

Remember Keywords

Scanning for keywords is how most hiring managers look for an applicant that fits their needs. These look like: 

  • “Phone experience”
  • “Microsoft Excel”
  • “Customer Service”

These are keywords that a hiring manager—and more importantly, a resume search engine—are going to be looking for. Having five years of experience in a customer service role means nothing if the words “customer” and “service” aren’t in your resume at least three to five times. 

Whether you choose to write a summary or a skills section, be sure to list important keywords and do the same in your job history section. This maximizes your chances of hitting the keyword jackpot in your next job search.

Author: Becky is a contributor for theJub. She’s a writing and talent acquisition specialist who loves to apply her skills through creative writing and editing.

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