Hiring managers judge your resume in 6 seconds.
In that time, they scan to see if your experience, skills, and qualifications match the job. With a resume full of information, how do you make sure they notice your strengths?
The answer is to write a resume summary.
Read on to discover what makes a good resume summary statement, learn how to write one, and check out our resume summary examples to get an idea of how to make the best first impression with your resume.
1. What is a Resume Summary?
A resume summary is a short section at the top of your resume that highlights your professional strengths. It allows hiring managers to quickly see if you’re right for the job before they read your entire resume.
Think of it as your elevator speech — the sales pitch that concisely explains why you’re the most qualified person for the job. Get it right, and your summary will make your application stand out.
Here’s an example resume summary for customer service, taken from our list of resume summary samples below.
As you can see, it summarizes the candidate’s key selling points — their work history, impressive achievements, and most relevant skills.
A resume summary is also called a resume summary statement, an executive summary, a personal summary, and a career summary — they’re just different words for the same thing.
Resume Summary vs Resume Objective
Resume summaries and resume objectives are both short resume introductions that explain why you’re the best candidate for the job. However, a resume objective focuses more on your goals than your skills and abilities.
Here’s a customer service resume objective to compare with our resume summary above:
A resume summary shows the candidate’s overall achievements, but a resume objective emphasizes the candidate’s motivation.
Deciding whether to use a resume objective or summary depends on your level of experience, and the impression you want to make. For example, objectives are better for enthusiastic entry-level candidates who want to get their foot in the door at a particular company.
When to Use a Resume Summary
You should use a resume summary if you already have experience in your industry. The more abilities you showcase, the more persuasive your summary will be.
For most job seekers, writing a strong summary for their resume will increase their chances of getting hired. However, candidates with specific goals or experience should consider different resume introductions.
For instance, you should use a qualifications summary instead of a general resume summary if you want a career change or have high-level experience in your industry.
2. How to Write a Resume Summary Statement
Writing a professional resume summary can be achieved in three easy steps:
1. Write your job title, years of experience, and main responsibilities
The first sentence states your current job title, how many total years of experience you have, and the main work-related duties you’re skilled at handling. If you want, you can use resume adjectives here to give more insight into your personality and working style.
2. Describe your professional accomplishments using numbers
Use action verbs and numbers to describe one or two of the main achievements in your resume. Percentages, timeframes, and dollars are all ways to show you can improve your target company’s bottom line.
3. Include your most valuable skills or qualifications
Let’s see how these steps come together by looking at a good example of what to put in a resume summary for an administrative assistant.
Writing a paragraph of up to four sentences creates an easily-readable summary for your resume that helps a hiring manager understand what you offer their company.
Writing a Skills-focused Resume Summary
If you have the space available on your resume and really want to stand out, you can also create a skills-focused resume summary using bullet points.
Here’s an example of a nursing resume summary in this format from our nursing resume example:
As you can see, the candidate included their four key job skills as bolded subheadings, and then added a corresponding resume summary sentence to each one.
A resume summary like this is less common, but in a skills-driven job market, it may give you the competitive edge you’re looking for.
3. Resume Summary Examples [For Different Jobs]
To help you write your own resume summary, let’s look at some resume summary examples from various industries — from candidates with no work experience to those applying for executive roles.
If your target job is not included here, check out our full list of resume examples.
Entry Level Resume Summary Examples for Students
Sales and Customer Service Resume Summary Examples
Food and Service Industry Resume Summary Examples
Office and Admin Resume Summary Examples
Business and Management Resume Summary Examples
Education and Teaching Resume Summary Examples
Medical Resume Summary Examples
Finance Resume Summary Examples
Technical and IT Resume Summary Examples
Other Resume Summary Examples
View our warehouse worker resume.
4. Key Takeaways for a Professional Resume Summary
Let’s recap the main points so you can write the best possible summary for your resume:
- A resume summary is a short section at the top of your resume that showcases why you’re the right person for the job
- They’re a great resume introduction for all job seekers, especially those with work experience
- Resume summaries focus on achievements, resume objectives highlight your motivation to work for a specific company
- You can write a resume summary as a basic paragraph up to 4 sentences, or use bullet points and subheadings to stand out
Ready to write your resume summary? Feel free to use one of the sample resume summaries above for inspiration, and customize one of our HR-approved resume templates.
Or, if you want to nail your resume summary first time, let our free resume builder do the work for you.
Good luck on your job hunt!