Adding a Summary of Qualifications to a Resume

A summary of qualifications can be a great way to lead off a resume with your best strengths. Follow these tips to create a powerful summary for your resume.

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By Maria Correa 3 minute read

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Summary of Qualifications

If you want to get a new job, it is key that you write a good resume and cover letter. If you are not very experienced, it can be hard to write a resume that stands out, but if you have lots of experience it can be hard to fit all of your skills. A summary of qualifications is a good way to sum up what makes you the best candidate for the job. But what is a qualifications summary? How can it benefit your resume and how can you write a good one? We will answer these questions in the following article.

What Is a Summary of Qualifications?

On a resume, the summary of qualifications is a good way to sum up a job seekers best qualifications, skills and achievements. This section is found at the top of the page where it will stand out and grab a hiring manager’s attention. This summary should be made up of four to six bullet points that focus on the skills or achievements that are best for the job title the job seeker wants to gain. You may see this section called by other names – for example, it may be called:

  • Qualifications summary
  • Skills summary
  • Statement of qualifications

These are all names for the same element on a resume, so don’t be surprised if you see them named differently on resume templates. Regardless of the title, this is the section for showcasing your key achievements and core competencies in a way that will immediately stand out. Though this section is brief, your summary is key to ensuring your resume does well in applicant tracking systems (ATS) that will scan resumes for skills and qualifications that match you with the job.

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Qualifications Summary vs. Resume Objective or Resume Summary

The resume summary or objective statement can be used in place of a resume skills summary section, but not both at the same time. Each of these statements is best for a different type of candidate so don’t use both in the same resume.

A resume objective is better for people who are first-time job seekers and lack qualifications because it focuses on their goals. A qualifications summary is better for job seekers who have a lot of relevant experience and many skills to show off. This format makes it easy to fit more into a small space and leaves room for the skills section, formal certifications or work experience section. Being able to give more details in these sections is good if you have a lot of skills or experience. If you want inspiration for your resume, you can check out ResumeHelp’s resume directory. There are lots of resume samples with a summary of qualifications examples that you can look at.

What to Put in Your Summary of Qualifications

Because your summary of qualifications is at the top of your resume, it is key that you use the limited space it offers in the most effective way you can. Whether you are applying to be a customer service representative, a human resources manager or a graphic designer, a good summary is one of the most effective things you can put on your resume. Do not focus on your years of experience or soft skills, but instead aim to use information that shows your proven abilities. Here’s what you should consider when writing your qualifications summary to ensure you have a successful job search:

  • 3 to 5 of your strongest resume elements

    Look at the job description and try to show items in your resume that fit in with the details of that job description. For example, if you want to work in a digital marketing role you can focus on the time that you spent as a social media manager. Or you could sum up an achievement that proves your project management and communication skills. Examples of statements you could put in your resume qualifications summary include:

    – Managed group project with 15 staff members and cut expected costs by 15%
    – Spearheaded social media marketing campaign with a 5% conversion rate
    – Organized 4 annual training seminars on team working, client relations, effective marketing techniques, and social media literacy

    These are good examples because they are clear, specific, and they focus on actions that match the needs of the specific job (in this case, digital marketing).

  • Your best achievement or qualification

    Choose the one qualification or achievement which is most impressive (as long as it is still relevant to your field). For example, if you were a fundraiser for a charity in your free time you could include this achievement. If you also raised a large sum of money, alone or with help, you should definitely list this achievement when applying for a job that needs leadership skills. This is a good achievement to list because it shows strong leadership skills as well as the ability to motivate others. Plus, this achievement shows your personal qualities and passions clearly. These days most employers want to hire people who have drive and focus.

  • Your current job title

    Note your current job title and how many years of experience you have to make it easy for recruiters to see that you are the right person for the job posting. This is key if you want to apply for a senior position that needs a certain amount of professional or management experience.

  • An achievement that closely matches the needs of the job description
    Finally, you should list the achievement which most closely matches the needs of the job description whether it is a professional, academic or personal achievement. For example, if you are applying to be a mechanic and you have restored a car in your free time, this is an excellent achievement to list even though it was a personal project.

The summary of qualifications is all about taking advantage of the few moments in which you have a hiring manager’s full attention. If you write a good qualifications summary you will be able to use that time to give them a clear snapshot of you as a candidate. A recruiter who is interested in you just by glancing at your resume summary will be more likely to consider reading your resume in full.

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FAQ: Summary of Qualifications

Have questions? We’re here to help.

A summary of qualifications section is best for those job seekers who have a lot of achievements to show off. If you have won awards or you have many notable achievements in your field of work, a summary of qualifications could be beneficial for your resume. If you lack experience or skills, an objective statement might be better for you.

When possible you should opt for specific statistics and numbers. For example, say “15%” or “5 years” rather than “a lot” or “many” to talk about your achievements. If you can’t provide specific statistics then you should just be as direct and clear as you can about your qualifications, achievements and any awards you have received.

Your summary of qualifications should be short. Limit it to 5 bullet points at most. List only details on your best skills and accomplishments. If you want inspiration for your own resume summary of qualifications, check resume examples from ResumeHelp’s resume directory.

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Maria Correa Profile
WRITTEN BY Maria Correa

Maria Correa is a Puerto Rico-based Content Writer with ample background in digital marketing and copywriting. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in English and enjoys making information accessible to others.

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