Are you a career changer? Or, are you satisfied with your stable career but interested in updating your resume? Are you a professional who has tried different things but are still searching for the kind of work that best suits you? Whatever your career situation, what your resume most needs is a stellar career summary.
What difference can a career summary make for you? Here are 4 reasons why you need one in your resume:
1.) A career summary communicates more about you and does so more powerfully than an objective statement.
2.) Employers love career summaries and use them to preview your resume. If they like your summary, they’re more likely to read your whole resume.
3.) A summary does a superlative job of masking weaknesses in your work history (too much experience, too little, too many different kinds of jobs, gaps in employment, ineffectual titles, and everything else you can think of)
4.) A career summary tells the employer what you most want them to know, up front. It therefore sells you well and sets you up to be asked the kinds of interview questions you really want to be asked.
All right, so a career summary is a good thing. What does it look like? A summary can be a short paragraph of 2-4 sentences or a brief phrase or sentence introducing a series of 4-8 bullets, depending on the communications style you prefer. It can be preceded by a job title or list of specialty areas that you wish to highlight. The summary always goes at the top of the resume immediately following your name and contact information.
Generally a good career summary will profile some mixture of the following kinds of critical details:
- A brief overview of the breadth and scope of your experience
- Academic credentials, if relevant
- 3-5 skillsets that set you apart from the competition
- 3-5 personality characteristics that describe the workplace you
- Hints about your most important work-related values.
Okay, so all that sounds good, but what does a career summary look like? Here are two different versions of a summary that you can play with and make your own:
Career and Workforce Development Administrator
Coaching … Training & Development … Program Design
Seasoned, articulate and visionary professional with over 19 years’ experience in all facets of career and workforce development in both corporate and social service settings. Possess outstanding verbal, written and interpersonal communications skills and an inherent ability to build effective and cohesive teams. Deeply value creativity and lifelong learning.
Seasoned, articulate and visionary professional with over 19 years’ proven experience in:
- Career Development
- Workforce Development
- Corporate Consulting
- Social Service Delivery
- Team Building
- Program Design
- Lifelong Learning
The key is to begin by brainstorming solid content. Choose your descriptive language carefully. Make every word count. Create content first; write a draft second. Then share your draft with others you trust before finalizing it for your resume.