When your resume hits the desk of a recruiter, or interviewer, you have 6 seconds to make an impression. Resumes follow a basic format to give your reader a brief overview of your background and experience. But what about the resume summary?
The purpose of a summary statement is to give a brief overview of your skills and experience, to give a value to what you offer. Summary statements can be a complete waste of space, or they can transform your resume. It’s all based on how you construct your summary statement.
So do you actually need to summarize what they’re about to read? Yes, if its done right. Otherwise you lose the reader’s interest and they don’t get to the good stuff.
So how do you know if your summary will lead the reader to what’s important?
1- First, ask yourself if your statement is subjective and broad, or specific and concise.
A summary statement should never be subjective, for example –
“I am a high achieving, top performing, with excellent communication skills.”
A summary statement should be specific and concise, for example –
“I am a RN specializing in Labor and Delivery, with 15+ years of experience.”
2- Second, ask yourself if your background/experience has a long history, or a short one.
Summary statements can be great for professionals with years of experience to quickly summarize their extensive resume, but for those with less experience or background, its best to leave the summary out and save the space for a description of the jobs.
3- Lastly, pretend you’re the reader, what would you look for?
By putting yourself in the interviewer or recruiter’s shoes, you can justify your reasoning for including, revising, or excluding your resume summary statement. What would stand out to you?
Applying for a job is competitive and you need to make sure your resume gets the reader’s attention. 6 seconds can be as quick as two blinks of the eye, don’t lose their attention with a detailed, waste of space, summary statement. Use the summary statement to your advantage and highlight the specifics that will catch their eye.