Career Summary Statement Can Make or Break a Resume

woman looking over resume with career summary


One of the most effective and quick ways to introduce and brand yourself in a resume is through a career summary statement. In most cases, this is one of the first read items in your resume and hence should give the reader a glimpse of reasons to employ you.

While an objective statement in a resume expresses the reason for your interest in the job, a career summary statement helps you communicate what you are capable of bringing to the job.

A career summary statement near the top of a resume is superior to an objective statement because it puts the focus on what the employer cares about: not how hiring you will help you achieve your objectives, but how it will help the employer achieve theirs.

A career summary statement is where you highlight core competencies, skills, and relevant strengths that are specific to you.. You should avoid writing about general traits that are commonly seen in any industry or job classification, like “hard worker” or “team player.”

Since a career summary is such an important section in your resume, you need to take due care while writing it. The following steps will help you a lot as you go about this task.

Learn More About Your Ideal Job

By understanding the needs of your prospective employer and targeting those needs on your resume, you will have a much greater chance of grabbing the job you want. Study different job ads, job descriptions, and sample resumes in the career field of interest; and jot down the job requirements and qualifications that are common across most of them. You may find yourself tailoring this career summary part of the resume somewhat to suit different jobs for which you are applying.

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

We aren’t always the best at viewing ourselves objectively. So after thinking about what you are best at for a while, and making notes, you may want to seek help from people who know and understand you really well.

Make an effort to reach out to your supervisors, instructors, and colleagues. Discuss your talents and qualifications with them. Try to understand what they think about your past and present work and why. You could also review past work evaluations. Upon noting all these details, write down a list of four to six of your strengths.

Compare Your Strengths to the Job Requirements

Based on the research you conducted, consider how you can help your prospective employers achieve their goals:

  • Are you a perfect fit for any stated qualifications? If so, state this using the same keywords the employer uses. For example, if the ad or job description seeks someone with minimum “two years’ auto sales management experience,” don’t say “managed new and used car sales personnel for fifteen years,” but “fifteen years’ auto sales management experience.”
  • Do you offer anything extra special that is not addressed in the qualifications, such as an additional degree or certification? Mention it, but don’t forget to match yourself to the required qualifications first.
  • If you have a weakness in one area, do you compensate for it in other areas? Of course, you don’t want to highlight a weakness, but maybe you can dazzle them with an unexpected strength. In the auto sales management example, maybe you were an ace car salesperson, but never managed other car salespeople. Highlight your sales achievements and other retail management experience or training, if you have any.

Use the Career Summary Statement to Emphasize the Value You Will Bring to Your New Job

As a next step, you need to include all your key credentials in the career summary part of your resume. Whatever best matches the stated job qualifications should be included. After all, if the busy hiring manager with lots of resumes doesn’t quickly see a fit, you won’t get an interview.

  • Make sure you highlight the achievements in your last few jobs that you can replicate in this job.
  • Try to describe your experience and assets in a way that makes it obvious how you could help solve the company’s problems and how your experience and abilities would benefit the company.
  • Make sure your career summary contains bullet points that reflect your “Key Skills” or “Core Expertise” or the like. It’s really easy to read when you mention your most important skills in a bullet-point method.

Include a Headline in the Career Summary Statement

A resume title or a headline is a must if you want the reader to get hooked into your resume. Typically, your headline should include the type of job you are looking for as well as the biggest benefit the employer can get in employing you.

Do the Final Checking

The first impression you give to your prospective employer is lasting. Hence, the summary you write in your resume has to be free from errors and has to be persuasive. You need to make sure the tone set is right for the job type for which you are applying. If possible, refrain from using statements that are generalized or empty like “very good communication skills.” Have someone else proofread; even the best writer misses typos and errors in their own work. And spellcheck only gets you so far – there’s nothing worse than someone who uses “to” instead of “too” or makes similar mistakes spellcheck won’t catch.

Example of Resume Career Summary

Corporate-Level Real Estate Executive, Using Real Estate Expertise to Improve Bottom-Line Profitability

Professional Profile:

Successful executive with MBA in real estate/finance and proven track record in designing and implementing real estate strategies that help meet financial objectives.

Played important role in reducing operating budget by $40 million and helped increase stock value by over 100 percent.

Recognized leader with commanding influence to build effective management teams focused on achieving goals given.

Stays up to date on latest changes in real estate business through development classes and conferences. (Possesses an MBA and master of corporate real estate)

Core Expertise

  • Excellent Financial and Analytical Skills
  • Tactical/Strategic Planning
  • High-Dollar and High-Volume Negotiations
  • ROI Analysis and Statistical Modeling
  • Administering Capital Budget and Multimillion-Dollar Operations

Leave a Reply