A career summary shouldn’t actually be a summary in the traditional sense of the word at all. You want to get attention with quantifiable accomplishments and relevant hard skills—not bore a hiring manager with the exact same information about years of experience they’re about to see on your resume.
Hiring managers and recruiters want to immediately see your value. They want to see quantifiable information and actual accomplishments. Put the most impressive of this in your career summary! And, make sure that what is in your summary is relevant to the job you’re applying to.
Did you surpass sales expectations year after year? Did you win a prestigious industry award or recognition? Did you earn a certification or license directly related to the job you are applying to? Put that kind of information in your career summary—not the ‘excellent communicator with xx years of experience’ information that everyone else will have in their summary.
If you’re changing career tracks, the summary at the top of your resume can be an effective place to highlight the transferable skills you have. Look for the common link in the industries or job positions and focus your career summary around those.
Your career summary is a way to grab attention, but also to utilize keywords in a prominent place. When you write your summary, be sure to include industry- and job-specific keywords as part of the descriptions of your accomplishments.
When a hiring manager or recruiter is impressed by your career summary, they’re more likely to pay closer attention to your entire resume.
While you want your career summary to be impactful and impressive, you also need to keep it brief. You have your cover letter to delve into details, and the rest of your resume to expand on individual job skills and responsibilities. Keep your summary to two or three sentences highlighting the most relevant and important points of your career.
For more about how to effectively use the career summary section of your resume, as well as other job search and resume writing tips, watch my recent LinkedIn Live discussion with Andrew Seaman of LinkedIn here.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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