What is a Summary of Qualifications on a Resume?
A qualifications summary section of a resume (also known as a “Qualifications Profile”) is an optional customized section at the beginning of the resume that lists key achievements, skills, experience, and your qualifications that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying.
The typical hiring manager or recruiter, tasked with reviewing dozens – if not hundreds – of job applications, typically spends no more than six minutes reading submitted resumes.
One of the advantages of including a summary of qualifications on your resume is that this is a great tool to catch the reviewer’s eye within that critical six-second purvey.
If you decide to incorporate a summary statement, it should include a brief list of the highlights of your candidacy. This summary should be placed at the top of your resume, right under your name and contact information.
What is a Resume Summary of Qualifications?
A resume summary is a statement that encompasses your skills, abilities, professional expertise, and what makes you most suitable for the position.
It's important to take the time to write a career summary that is a strong match with your jobs of interest. Much like a cover letter, it is beneficial to modify and tailor your summary to target the specific needs of each employer. You do this by closely reading the qualifications requested on a specific job advertisement and then designing your summary to echo these desired skill sets.
The Benefits of Including a Summary on Your Resume
Completing your resume with a summary of qualifications, or career summary, will personalize your resume. Reviewing resumes can become tedious, so beginning yours with a description of your unique career path and the skills you have attained is a great way to spark the reader’s interest and encourage them to consider you for the interview process.
Job Seekers With Experience
A summary statement works especially well for people with a significant amount of experience. It is an effective way to showcase the experiences that best speak to the qualifications an employer is seeking.
Resume summary statements are also an effective tool for recent college graduates.
New graduates should tailor the statement to highlight relevant skills and experience for each opportunity they apply for.
Career changers can show transferable skills on the qualifications profile and prevent their most recent and possibly unrelated experience from throwing off the hiring manager.
What to Include in a Summary Statement
Some of the key elements of a summary statement can include indicating your career direction (as opposed to “objective”), highlighting the amount of relevant experience you have, and mentioning the qualifications that will separate you from other candidates.
Note: Although at one time it was popular for job candidates to include their personal “career objective” at the beginning of a resume, this is now generally discouraged because it places a subtle emphasis upon the candidate’s desires as opposed to the employer’s needs.
Rather than writing a “career objective” (“This is the job I want”), it is more effective to use a qualifications summary (“These are the skills and talents I can bring to your organization”).
You can also include career and personal achievements, work styles, and personality traits (also called “soft skills”) that are consistent with the position for which you are applying.
Your summary can be short and catchy or longer with more information. Here are examples of both.
Resume Summary Statement Examples
- Production assistant for nationally broadcast television series
- Five years of case management experience
- Initiated a 50% increase in SEO
- Experienced marketing executive
- Certified workforce development professional
- Seasoned sales professional
- Award winning sports writer
Sample Expanded Career Summaries
“Dynamic entrepreneur who utilizes creativity, leadership and teamwork to design and execute solutions that create customer value.
Effective communicator with ability to create marketing materials that convey value for both clients and end users.”
“Experienced professional with planning and organizational skills that balance work, team support and ad-hoc responsibilities in a timely and professional manner.”
“Business development executive with years of experience in technical sales, sales management, team leadership, and business growth and expansion. Proven ability to generate sales and revenue.”
“Experienced professional with a unique combination of technical expertise, managerial experience, business leadership, and design and production support to lead the delivery and implementation of mission-critical software systems.”
“Significant experience with AIX, HP/UX, Windows, VB.NET, C#, .NET Framework, C, C++, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and business systems.”
Review Resume Examples: Professional Level Resume With a Summary Statement | College Student Resume With a Summary
More About Resume Summaries: How to Write a Resume Summary | How to Format a Resume
How to write a resume career summary
Here's how to create a resume introduction that's packed with your most sought-after skills, abilities, accomplishments, and attributes.
A career summary can help make your resume stand out.
Hiring managers are busy people. A single job posting might attract thousands of resumes. To get your resume noticed, create a career summary statement. The goal of this section is to develop a hard-hitting introductory declaration packed with your most sought-after skills, abilities, accomplishments and attributes.
Take these six steps to create a winning career summary:
Conduct research on your ideal job
The more closely you can target your profile to the employer's needs, the better your results will be. Start by searching jobs for your ideal position. Compare the ads and write a list of common job requirements and preferred qualifications.
Assess your credentials
Based on your research, how do you measure up? How would you help potential employers meet their goals? Besides the qualifications described, do you offer any added bonus? If you are lacking in one area, do you make up for it with other credentials?
If you are having a hard time assessing your skills, get help. Ask your colleagues, instructors, and supervisors what they see as your key qualifications. Review your performance evaluations. What do others say about the quality of your work? Then write a list of your top marketable credentials.
Relay the value you bring to the table
The next step is to weave your top credentials into your summary. Keep in mind that the summary helps the hiring manager determine if you should be called for an interview. Include a synopsis of your career achievements to show that your dedication to results is transferable to your next employer. Explain how you would help solve their problems. Ask yourself, "How will the employer benefit from hiring me?"
Add a headline
A headline, or resume title, hooks your readers and compels them to continue reading. A headline should include your job target as well as the main benefit of hiring you.
Focus on your goal
The most effective summaries target one career goal. If you have more than one possible objective, consider drafting different versions. Your profile can also include a bulleted "Key Skills" section, which provides an easy-to-read listing of your core capabilities.
Proofread, refine and perfect
First impressions are lasting impressions. Is your summary persuasive and free of errors? Is your tone appropriate for your career field? Avoid empty, generalized statements such as "excellent communication skills." If you're having trouble figuring out the best language to use or how to convey your past experience in a concise way, you can turn to the experts at the Monster Resume Writing Service for advice. They'll give you a free resume evaluation so that you'll be sure to stand out from the competition.
The finished product
Here is an example of an effective career summary:
Corporate Real Estate Executive
Increasing Bottom-Line Profitability Through Real Estate Strategies
Accomplished executive with a proven ability to develop and implement real estate strategies that support business and financial objectives. Have led key initiatives that reduced operating budget by $32 million and contributed to 550 percent stock increase. Recognized as an expert in applying financial concepts to asset management decisions.
Respected leader, able to build highly motivated management teams focused on achieving revenue goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development (earned an MBA in finance/real estate and master of corporate real estate designation).
Areas of Expertise
- High-Volume, High-Dollar Negotiations
- Strategic/Tactical Planning
- Multimillion-Dollar Operating and Capital Budget Administration
- Analytical and Financial Skills
- Statistical Modeling and ROI Analyses
Resume ready? Do this next
Having strong, well-organized resume is one of the most important elements of the job search, but the ultimate goal is to get a recruiter's attention and land an interview. Could you use some help getting your resume noticed? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each customized to highlight specific areas of your expertise. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you.