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Resume Summary Examples: 26 Samples & Writing Tips

A great resume summary gives employers more insight into who you are. Learn how to briefly describe your strongest skills and experience.

Ho Lin Profile
By Ho Lin 4 minute read

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Resume summary

If you’re looking to make the right first impression on hiring managers who read your resume, they need to understand who you are and what you can offer the company. One of the best ways to get those points across is through a strong resume summary. If you’re looking to get more out of your resume summary, here are the most important things to know.

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What is a resume summary?

A resume summary, also known as a resume professional summary, is a paragraph at the top of your resume composed of three to five sentences. The purpose of this paragraph is to give hiring managers and recruiters more insight into who you are, and features skills, past experiences and qualifications relevant to the job you’re pursuing. Think of this as a quick introduction to yourself and what you can do to benefit the company as a whole. Remember, you’re collapsing your entire career down to just a few sentences — you need to make sure it’s as engaging as possible, as the key skills mentioned in this section can help a manager decide whether or not they want to read the rest of your resume.

Why is a resume summary important?

More than ever before, you need to stand out and effectively showcase your best skills to the hiring managers and recruiters who are reading your resume. Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies use some form of applicant tracking software (ATS) to weed through potential candidates, so it’s crucial that you set yourself apart by paying attention to what the employer needs so you can craft a targeted resume summary.

Hiring managers and recruiters also want you to identify all of your most important skills up front so they can determine at a glance whether you’re a good option for the company. Use these tips to help you find the right language to use and skills to highlight, so your resume summary is truly effective. The ResumeHelp examples and guidelines below will help you craft a resume professional summary that shows off your best attributes to potential employers.

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Resume summary vs. resume objective

Resume summaries explained:

A professional resume summary is used to specifically craft a brief overview of your work experiences into a personal introduction that is relevant to both the role and the company you are applying to.

Example: Highly motivated sales associate with extensive customer service and sales experience. Outgoing sales professional with a track record of driving increased sales, improving buying experience and elevating company profile with target market.

Having a relevant resume summary is essential when submitting a resume as it draws attention to your experiences in the industry and your personal attributes at first glance. Make sure to customize the information present in your summary section as your resume will change and evolve over the length of your career and depending on the job you apply to.

Resume objectives explained:

Resume objectives will describe your professional goals as well as your qualifications for the job you’re applying for. The main difference is that in a summary, the emphasis will be on work experience rather than your goals.

Example: Talented game designer used to a fast-paced deadline-driven environment. Eager to join a company that will allow me to manage the design of gameplay systems and online mechanics.

You’ll want to use a resume objective statement if you’re looking to make a career change or are a first-time job seeker. If you have the skill set necessary for a new job but you don’t have much experience, a resume objective may be best, as it places your skills front and center and explains how you plan to use them.

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Writing a resume summary in 3 easy steps

An effective resume summary follows this structure to get the point across and to appeal to hiring managers who only have a short window of time to find a specific candidate. These are the three things to keep in mind when writing your own resume statement:

Understand what an employer is looking for:

Employers use applicant tracking software (ATS) systems when reviewing resumes, so it is in your best interest to start off your summary by utilizing the top skill you possess that best matches the employer’s job description. In fact, analyzing the job description and making a list of your matching qualifications is a great way to make sure your resume is highlighting the right information for your industry.

Focus on your career highlights:

The most important things to highlight are your relevant experience, your top abilities and a summary of the certifications you possess. If the job listing is looking for people with a certain number of years of experience, add that information. Highlight whatever is most impressive about your resume, what you excel in, and address key requirements that are mentioned in the job description.

Make sure it’s the right length:

Your resume summary should typically be three to five sentences at most. Remember to be sharp and to the point as this is your “elevator pitch” to potential employers. Drawing in their interest with this first section of your resume will make them more likely to read the rest so it is important to include key points of interest in both the company and the role. Every job application and every job field are going to be a little bit different, so look at resume examples that apply to your specific job field. Make sure you tailor your summary to the job you’re applying to.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Resume Summaries

Have questions? We’re here to help.

A good summary for a resume acts as your “elevator pitch.” It’s a way to engage a recruiter or hiring manager by quickly establishing that you have the skills and personal traits they’re looking for by highlighting your most relevant professional experiences and what you’ll bring to the table.

A resume summary should have skills that directly relate to what the company is looking for and a strong personal introduction that expresses both your interest and qualifications. No two jobs are exactly alike, and you’ll want to update your summary to meet the requirements of each job so you should customize this section with every application.

Your resume summary should be around three sentences long and a minimum of fifty words. Within this space, you should provide a quick introduction to yourself (“Retail manager with experience in handling customer satisfaction”), and highlight a couple of key skills you have that fit the job description.

The best way to begin your resume summary is with an eye-catching hook. Refer to a quality from the job ad that the employer is seeking or a relevant personal accomplishment or career milestone; that way the hiring manager can see that you are not only interested in the desired field but can show what you bring to the table and how you can contribute to their team as a whole.

Are resume summaries still important for entry-level jobs?

While you can use a resume summary for an entry-level job, some jobs emphasize more experience than higher-level jobs. Here’s how a good resume summary may look for a high-level marketing manager:

  • Self-motivated, natural leader with over 10 years experience managing marketing concerns for Fortune 500 companies. Worked with American Express on a $10 million award-winning omnichannel marketing campaign that improved sales by 24% over a year. Excited to move forward with ResumeHelp as the lead point on digital marketing and advertising.

Contrast that example, which prioritizes specific skills and experience, with a summary you might submit for a marketing internship right out of college:

  • Self-motivated, adept learner with a desire to learn and grow as part of ResumeHelp’s marketing and advertising team. Graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Marketing in the top 10% of the class. Extensive experience with marketing projects, winning two scholarships centered around customer satisfaction and ecommerce initiatives.

Note how your major achievements are still the focus, but these achievements are slightly different. Sure, graduating in the top 10% of the class might not look as exciting as managing a $10 million marketing campaign but an intern’s experiences won’t be as robust as a high-level marketing manager’s. A manager resume will look different from an internship resume, but both can be effective. It’s all about making sure the hiring manager has enough interest in you to look at the rest of your resume.

ATS, which stands for Applicant Tracking Systems, is a type of software that employers use to screen resumes before they even make it to a hiring manager’s desk. This type of software is looking for specific keywords in your resume, if it doesn’t find them, you’re less likely to get a job interview or your resume might get discarded immediately.

How do you avoid this? The simple answer: look at the job listing and do whatever you can to utilize as many keywords in your resume summary as you see in the job listing. If the job listing notes that it’s looking for a “problem-solving innovator with a skill set based around patient care,” you want to utilize the keywords “problem-solving,” “innovative,” and “patient care” in your resume summary. Look at the job listing, try to identify keywords in it and then use those keywords in your resume summary, while matching them to your own skills and experience.

Hiring managers and recruiters are going to notice if you have a cookie-cutter resume summary that doesn’t directly address their needs. The keywords each company uses for its ATS scanning will be different depending on their job listings, which means you need to update your keywords for every summary. The more you personalize your resume summary to specific job listings, the more likely recruiters are going to want to call you back because you’re demonstrating you’ve done your research on that job.

If you want to make sure your resume provides everything you need to get hired, make sure you use ResumeHelp’s resume builder. Combined with the professional resume summary examples you’ll find here, these resume templates will help you create a resume summary, and resume, that really shines.

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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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