Top Tips for Writing a Resume Introduction

A resume introduction helps you explain who you are and what your best qualifications are. What do you need to know when writing it? Find out with our tips.

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By Ho Lin 3 minute read

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Resume Introduction

When you’re writing a resume, you should know that a hiring manager only scans most resumes. If they have to go through dozens of resumes every day, then they don’t have time to fully read every resume that every person turns in. They’re glancing through sections, skimming the work history and relevant skills, and likely moving on to the next resume. That’s where a resume introduction comes into play. A resume introduction can make your hiring manager more likely to stop and read your whole resume, allowing you to argue more effectively for the new job.

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What Is a Resume Introduction?

A resume introduction is a short piece of information at the very top of your resume that helps you showcase the key elements of your career path. Its intention is to make recruiters stop and give your job application a closer look. That’s why you need to load it with the most eye-catching achievements, competencies, and skills. An introduction only showcases what you absolutely excel in, and it can turn a good resume into a great one.

Three Different Types of Resume Introductions

There are typically three different types of resume introductions that job seekers can use to show off their skill set:

1. Resume Summary
The first type of resume introduction is the resume summary. A resume summary goes over your relevant experience, qualifications, and how you’ve benefited companies in a specific position. It’s most commonly used when you’ve already had some experience, and it highlights specific career achievements and skills. As the name implies, it is a summary statement, summarizing what you’ve already done and allowing that to speak to what you could do in the future.

2. Resume Objective
While a resume summary goes over the professional experience you already have, a resume objective states where you hope to go with your career. This type of introduction highlights your academic background, skills, and career objective rather than your work experience. Typically, this is used when you don’t have much experience and are looking for an entry-level job. Recently-graduated students, especially students who work in fields like healthcare where lots of education is required before working, can use a resume objective. If you’re looking for more examples, visit our Objective Examples for Resume page.

3. Summary of Qualifications
A summary of qualifications, also called a qualifications summary, showcases your skills and certifications, typically through bullet points. It attempts to align your certifications and work highlights closely with the job description, typically providing three to five bullet points rather than the two to three sentences that you might see in a resume summary or objective statement. It can be helpful for people going through a career change where your experience section isn’t extremely relevant, but you have lots of relevant qualifications.

Best Tips for Writing a Strong Resume Introduction

The best thing you can do to write a great resume introduction is write the rest of your resume and cover letter before you write the introduction. The resume builder at ResumeHelp can help you find a great resume template to use, and give you suggestions on how to enter the right information about your skills and past work history. From there, you can glean the best few achievements and abilities you have that match the job requirements, and include them in your resume introduction.

It’s also important that you showcase the best achievement for a specific job. This is the single greatest achievement you have, the achievement that makes a hiring manager notice you and read through your entire resume. Again, it’s best to write your entire resume and then see where you think your skills have really shined in a previous job.

Lastly, a strong resume introduction is short, snappy, and concise. You want to use action words to sell yourself effectively. Avoid using “I” statements; cut them out, saying “Managed 100 team members” instead of “I managed 100 team members.” Our resume examples include resume introduction examples that you can use as a foundation for your own.

FAQ: Writing a Resume Introduction

Have questions? We’re here to help.

The best hook for your resume, regardless of your resume format, will always be your absolute best achievement. Were you a product manager on a $150,000 project? Make that your hook. Did you work in human resources and process over 1,000 requests? Start your introduction with that fact. You need to include whatever will make an interviewer stop and stare.

Yes. Not only are resume introductions fairly short, which means they should only take you a few minutes for each introduction, but also personalizing the introduction for each job posting means that you can send the right message with each resume. The professional resume that you send in for one job is not always the best resume for another, and personalizing your introduction helps you ensure that it’s always the best one.

You typically need between two to four achievements for your resume introduction. This is enough for you to showcase why your job search should end here, and a hiring manager should immediately pick you out for a job interview. Any more than that, and you’re likely to lose the snappiness of the introduction.

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Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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