What’s in a summary?

Everything and nothing and a lot.

Not having a summary isn’t going to make or break you. But having a good summary can be a distinguishing factor.

A summary is not the same as an objective statement.

Remember in school we had to write essays? We have to come up with an introduction to grab the reader’s attention? A summary is the same. A way to grab your reader’s attention.

What are the components of a good summary?

A summary provides a good baseline for what’s further down on your resume. It tells the reader what you have accomplished. Key things about your career. Below are some of the components of a summary

  1. No Buzzwords/fluff words: Hard-worker, dependable, organized, detail-oriented, responsible, expert, motivated, etc. Any word that’s not quantifiable. Your summary doesn’t need these

  2. Key accomplishments. Did you save your company money? Did you improve a process? What was your role in that key project in your last job? Did you recruit 50 people in highly technical jobs within a year? These are quantifiable items you can prove

  3. It doesn’t talk in third person. I know a lot of people say not to write in first person, but writing in third person is arguably worse. You can sound full of yourself without meaning to.

  4. It talks about your overall experience within your industry. This is also the place you can talk about your career change and how your background translates to this new industry.

A summary is a lot like a thank you note. It doesn’t necessarily exclude you out of contention if you don’t have it, but if it’s not the right one, it can do more harm than good.

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