Posted by Brian McCullough
A resume summary is what the name implies; an overview of the qualifications that make you the perfect fit for the job in question. The resume summary is your advertising pitch to the reader, and your chance to hook that reader. It typically focuses on three to five skills or competencies that have been culled from the resume and represent the best arguments as to why you are a perfect match for the job in question. And hopefully, the reader will explore the balance of your resume with a predisposition that the qualifications for the job have already been met.
How important is a resume summary statement? Well, if your resume summary doesn’t grab the reader, address his needs and pique his interest in reading further, all hope is lost.
Placement of the Resume Summary
If your resume has an objective statement, place the summary directly beneath the objective. If you elect to forgo an objective, the summary will be the first section on the resume, just beneath your header (name and contact information).
Should The Resume Summary Take The Place of the Objective?
Opinions vary. Some career counselors will tell you that the objective is old school and a liability on a contemporary resume. Others will tell you that resumes need a clear focus, and nothing focuses a resume like an objective statement. My opinion? Use an objective, if
1) you know the position you’re applying for, and you plan to insert that position title into your objective,
2) you have a diverse work history that doesn’t lend itself to a natural focus, or
3) you’re entering the job market for the first time, or you’re changing careers.
If you choose not to use an objective, your summary will need to pull extra duty: craft it to include the element of focus that would have otherwise fallen to the objective. Consider the following real-life examples.
Resume Summary used WITH an Objective Statement
Position as MEDICAL OFFICE MANAGER requiring a proactive team leader with excellent patient-relations skills and a full range of office administration talents.
Dedicated, quality-conscious professional with fifteen years experience in the Health Care Field–including five years of management accountability for a multi-location medical practice.
- Well versed in medical office operations–from physician assisting to billing to HR administration–with a thorough understanding of HMO’s, PPO’s, commercial carriers, and Medicare and Medicaid.
- Highly effective communicator; easy rapport with physicians and medical support staff.
- Proficient in Medic Computer System and Quicken financial applications.
Resume Summary used WITHOUT an Objective Statement
Medical Office Manager qualified by fifteen years of health care experience, including five years of management accountability for a multi-location medical practice.
Well versed in medical office operations–from physician assisting to billing to HR administration–with a thorough understanding of HMO’s, PPO’s, commercial carriers, and Medicare and Medicaid.
- Highly effective communicator with excellent patient relations skills; easy rapport with physicians and medical support staff.
- Computer literate; proficient in Medic Computer System and Quicken financial applications.
- Proactive style of management with a strong team focus.
A Rose By Any Other Name…
The resume summary can go by different names. Don’t care for the name “Summary?” Try Profile, Summary of Qualifications, Career Summary, Accomplishments Profile, etc. You get the idea.
Call it what you like. But whatever you call it, make sure you call it part of your resume.
This is a guest post. About the author:
David Alan Carter is a former recruiter. Writing for the website Top Resume Services, Carter evaluates the Web’s Top Resume Writers, reviewing quality of workmanship, spelling out their pricing, and giving each a star ranking. C-Level executives will appreciate Carter’s take on Executive Resume Services.