The most critical portion of your résumé is the summary/overview of your skills. It should be the first item on your resume right under you name and contact information. Often a hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t get past a summary, so make it count!
Imagine being bombarded by many hundreds of résumés coming in a few days. Would you take the time to read each and every document? Not likely. Recruiters often have multiple positions to fill simultaneously, so you need to get to the point quickly as to who you are and what value you offer a potential employer.
Creating an accurate and effective summary is key to getting a job interview, yet it is the most difficult for most of us to compose. You may be losing opportunities because your summary falls flat and doesn’t invoke interest.
Here are some tips for writing an effective summary:
- Your summary is an overview of your career as it applies to the job you are going after. So keep your summary focused on the skills and experience you have that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Don’t fall into the trap of listing everything you have done in your career. Recruiters only care about information that is relevant to the open position.
- Study the job description and customize your career summary for the open position. Extract out of your résumé the skills and experience needed for the open position.
- List additional skills you may have that a company may find as a value. For example, if you are fluent in Spanish or have a certification in your vocation, make sure to add this to your summary.
- If you have advanced degrees make sure to list it in your summary. If you graduated from an Ivy League school also make sure to include this information.
- A summary should tell a story. It is your “elevator pitch.” Be concise in your delivery of your talents and experience. Make it interesting and innovative.
- A summary should be no more than 5-6 sentences. Don’t get caught up in detail, just list your pertinent skills for the position.
- Consider having a professional writer or career coach write your summary.
- Make sure that what you say in your summary corresponds with the rest of your résumé.
- Use key search words that correspond with the job description. Many companies use a computer program to do an initial scan of résumés.
Having a compelling summary is essential to getting an interview. It is the most important part of your resume. Spend time on perfecting your message and the number of interviews will increase. I guarantee.