An Ultimate Guide to Write a Standout Career Summary

  • Published on:
    October 29, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    4 minutes
An Ultimate Guide to Write a Standout Career Summary Women On Topp hiring managers busy people don't have time to read

Hiring managers are busy people. They don’t have time to read each and every resume that lands in their inbox. Hiring managers tend to read only career summaries to speed up the candidate screening process.

Therefore, if you want to get a job, you should write an attention-grabbing career summary. You should find the right words to present your candidacy and make a hiring manager want to read your entire resume.

Describe your professional achievements

What do you do better than your peers? What skills and abilities do you have? Don’t be shy about describing your professional accomplishments. Stick to the facts, and you will not sound like a braggart. 

Here is an example of professional achievements you may add to your career summary:

  • Good negotiator
  • Expert in digital marketing and web design
  • Doubled sales of product X in two months
  • Proficient copywriter
  • Have vast experience in working with macro-influencers

Write three (or maximum four) sentences

Once you define your most significant professional achievements, you can start writing a career summary. Basically, you need to combine those achievements into three or four sentences. Take a look at the example below:

Expert in digital marketing and web design. Eager to employ negotiation and copywriting skills at XYZ company.  In the previous role, designed and executed a successful macro-influencer campaign that led to a 100% increase in sales of product X.

Write a new career summary for every job you apply for

If you think you can write one single career summary and send it to multiple organizations, you are wrong. To get invited to a job interview, you should customize your career summary in a way it will match a concrete job description.

Imagine you are a marketing specialist. You want to apply for a job at Victoria’s Secret. Here is a list of required qualifications.

Screenshot source:

What should you write in your career summary to convince Victoria’s Secrets’ hiring manager that you are a perfect fit for the job? Write something like this, and your resume will get read:

Energetic and creative marketing specialist with over 5 years of professional experience. Successfully launched two beauty brands.  Eager to help Victoria’s Secrets’ marketing team to design innovative strategies so that the brand will keep up with fast-changing beauty trends.

Remove “I” from the text

As you have already noticed, there is no word “I” in the career summary examples. When you write a summary, you shouldn’t use the first-person pronoun. You should focus more on adding adjectives and verbs to draw a hiring manager’s attention to your strong character traits and accomplishments.

Optimize your career summary for Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Since a career summary is an integral part of your resume, you should make it ATS-friendly. 

Firstly, you should ensure that your summary includes relevant keywords. For instance, if you apply for a job titled “UX writer,” you should use keywords like “UX writing,” “product design,” and “critical thinking.”

If the job title includes an abbreviation, then you should use both forms of the word. For example, if you are a UI designer, you should add keywords this way:

Enthusiastic user interface (UI) designer with over 6 years of professional experience.

Keep in mind that you should add keywords to the text naturally. Don’t use the keywords just for the sake of it. It will not help you to impress a hiring manager.

Proofread it twice

If you make a typo or a grammar mistake in a career summary, it’s highly unlikely that a hiring manager will read an entire resume. Why? Because applicants who do not bother to check what they’ve written, believed to be inattentive, irresponsible, and unmotivated. No one wants to invite such “professionals” for a job interview.

You don’t want the bad grammar to hold you back from getting the job of your dreams, do you? Proofread your career summary at least twice before submitting the resume. 

If your grammar skills are far from perfect, consider getting professional proofreading help. Use a college writing service or an AI-powered grammar checker.

Don’t lie

Well, if you want to get a job, you should not downplay your skills and accomplishments on your resumes. However, you shouldn’t exaggerate either.

Don’t write that you are a “great team player” if you are not. Don’t state that you are an “advanced Excel user” if you have never used this program before. 

If you don’t have one or two of the skills required, you shouldn’t worry about that. Make an emphasis on your core skills and qualities, and you will get an invitation to a job interview.

Don’t know how to use a program? Write that you “learn fast” and know how to use similar software. 

Do you prefer to work independently, but the job description states that the perfect candidate must be a “good team player”? Mention in your summary that you are a “team player who can also work independently.”

Feel free to mention a company you worked for

Some job seekers don’t know whether they should mention a company they worked for in their career summary. Well, it depends on the company and its reputation. 

Let’s say you’re applying for an IT job position. If you worked as a quality assurance specialist for Google, that would be a wise idea to mention that in your summary. But if you worked for a startup that failed, you need to omit this fact.

Now let’s consider another example. Imagine you worked for MyDreamLines and created personalized handcrafted gifts. Even though this company is not as famous as Google, you should mention it in your career summary when applying for a creative job.

Keep it short and sweet

Wordiness is an enemy of a standout career summary. So please, try to avoid using unnecessary words and keep your summary concise and to the point. Here are a few simple tips for you:

  • Replace linking phrases like “in order to” with “to”
  • Don’t use qualifiers like “very”, “really,” and “quite”
  • Avoid passive voice
  • Cut adjectives and adverbs, if they don’t add any particular value to your summary

Wrapping up

Writing a standout career summary is the first step to getting a dream job. And we highly encourage you to use this guide and take this task seriously. 

Invest your time in crafting a compelling summary, and you will double the effectiveness of your resume.

By: Daniela McVicker

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