Your resume’s purpose is to make a great first impression and open the door to further discussion with employers. The career summary is a key component to opening this door because it’s the first bit of information the employer reads about you. Therefore, it’s important to write a career summary that’s persuasive and easy to read. These 5 tips will help you write a powerful and concise summary for your resume to increase your market value and impress employers.
RESUME CAREER SUMMARY TIP #1: IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO
It’s easy to write about what you can do. Telling the employer what you can do is not nearly as impressive as selling them on what you have already done.
Are you skilled in, familiar with, or knowledgeable in a certain area? That’s nice, but what’s more persuasive—instead of talking about what you can do, what you’re skilled in, or familiar with—is sharing what you’ve already accomplished.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Skilled in managing capital expansions. (can do)
Managed $45M in capital expansions, raising Amelia Urgent Care from a level 2 to a level 3 trauma center. (has done)
The second example communicates value and accomplishment.
RESUME CAREER SUMMARY TIP #2: USE ADJECTIVES SPARINGLY
Adjectives are subjective. What you think success is and what the employer envisions as success can be two completely different scenarios. Refrain from using adjectives such as successful, solid, strong, major, or significant. They don’t communicate value to the employer, and they weaken your writing.
Here’s an example:
Successfully pioneered and directed the effort to transform Amelia Urgent Care … increased billable trauma.
Transformed Amelia Urgent Care into Level 2 trauma center. Increased billable trauma 125%.
If you really liked pioneered and it was important to keep, then you could even go with:
Pioneered transformation of Amelia Urgent Care into Level 2 trauma center, increasing billable trauma 125%.
Successfully isn’t needed, nor does it help quantify or add value. It simply takes up space.
RESUME CAREER SUMMARY TIP #3: GET RID OF WHAT’S SLOWING YOU DOWN
This is my favorite tip! One of my biggest pet peeves in resume writing is a slow wind-up. Phrases such as duties included, expert in, responsible for, drove, history of, proven ability to, ensured, or accountable for.
These terms slow the reader down, are meaningless, and fail to add value to your resume and your accomplishments.
As I mentioned above you want to communicate what you have done and add value—not what you “can do”.
Dive right in to what you want to say.
Responsible for recruiting, talent acquisition, staffing and orientation.
You could say:
Organized district-wide recruitment fair, attracting top talent.
Or, you could also say:
Attracted top talent and reduced time-to-fill 30% by organizing five district-wide recruitment events.
Communicate how you added value and what you’ve already done while also eliminating those slow wind-ups that don’t tell the employer much.
RESUME CAREER SUMMARY TIP #4: ENGAGE THE READER—SHOW VALUE
Once you’ve removed the adjectives and slow wind-ups, and written about what you’ve already done versus what you can do, it’s time to show value and engage the reader. Don’t discuss abilities. Instead engage the employer using language full of value.
Examples of phrases that do not add value:
ability to, extensive career in, history of, demonstrated success in, proven track record of, served as, strength in, or verifiable results.
I would venture so far as to add results-driven to the list too. It’s more impactful to share the specific metrics of the result than it is to state you’re driven by results.
I would also note that years of experience does not differentiate you as a candidate or add value to your personal brand. Most professionals and executives will have 10+ years of experience.
Engage with value—not abilities.
Here are some alternatives:
Market Expansion: Enlarged market share 200% for more than 75 services in 15 states in competitor-dominated markets by building strategic relationships based on trust and credibility with A-list clients.
Increased year-over-year revenues 22% and reduced staff turnover rates 34%, creating a culture change that redeemed Victor Finance’s reputation as a fun place to work.
New Product Development: Advanced 4 promotional levels, directing and overseeing new product development lifecycles for medical device categories valued at $125M.
RESUME CAREER SUMMARY TIP #5: BE BOLD; MODERNIZE YOUR SUMMARY
This tip is for the bold and brave out there. Consider condensing the summary altogether and instead offer a career snapshot. It’s a very modern approach that drills down content to the most impactful information and key takeaways only.
Here’s an example of a traditional career summary:
Increases brand awareness and global recognition for international luxury brands. Recruits and develops high-performing and international marketing teams. Leads marketing and branding strategy, implements effective marketing operations, and manages external agencies to develop world-class creative and design.
Here’s a bold, modern approach written as a snapshot:
Armed with these 5 strategies you can now set out to write a persuasive career summary to increase your market value in the eyes of employers. A well-written resume career summary is the first step to opening those doors.
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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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