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What Your Resume Summary is Doing Wrong


What Your Resume Summary is Doing Wrong

Franklin Buchanan |

A resume summary is an opportunity to start branding yourself in the eyes and mind of whoever is reading it. So it is a vitally important part of your job search because it's where you can begin hooking a recruiter or hiring manager for more than 6 seconds.


Despite its importance, so many resumes that come across my desk completely miss the point with the summary section on the resume. Here are a few common resume summary mistakes:


  1. You don't have one. I read an article recently (I can't remember where) that said the resume summary is dead and should be removed. I couldn't disagree with this any more if I tried. When done properly, it is the first chance to tell the reader who you are and what you bring to the table.
  2. It's too long. A resume summary should be short, sweet, and to the point while speaking to your skills and what you bring to the table. You have 6 seconds to capture the reader's attention and you don't want them to have to read an essay before they get to your career experience.
  3. It's too vague. Generically talking about soft skills like dedication and work ethic are a complete waste of space in your resume summary. Everyone is expected to be hardworking so putting that in a sentence is certainly not helping you stand out. You need to be specific regarding your skills and how they impact the role you're applying for.
  4. It's past tense. The resume summary is your opportunity to speak with a future-focused lens and how you will impact the job you're applying for. Speaking to past accomplishments is what the career experience section of your resume is for.


So how do you write an impactful resume summary? Write down three words that describe you professionally. And make sure they're specific, remember what was said earlier about hardworking?


Take those three words and look at some job descriptions of the positions you're interested in and write down how they apply to it. Put it together and voila! You have a resume summary.


A strong resume summary will begin branding you in the eyes and mind of the reader, while also incorporating valuable keywords that a recruiter might search for inside an Applicant Tracking System.


Always remember, you have around 6 seconds to capture the reader's attention and it's imperative to begin branding yourself in their mind before they get to your career experience.

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