Getting a job is competitive. Recruiters can receive over 200 applications for each job. From that only four to six people are likely to get an interview, and then only one person will get the job.
Your resume is your first introduction to a company, so you want it to stand out. The opening will be the first thing read and if this Professional Summary is not well-crafted it’s likely your resume will be dumped in the "no" pile without further consideration.
A Professional Summary is sometimes called a ‘Resume Summary’, a ‘Personal Statement’, or a ‘Professional Summary Statement’. It is a short section outlining why you are the best person for the job highlighting your relevant skills, experience and strengths.
Following are seven ways to make your introduction to the company stand out to ensure you get an interview.
1. Write what you’ve done not what you want to do – career summaries and career objectives are different things. An objective is a summary stating your professional goals and what you are looking for in your next role and company to help you achieve your goals. A professional statement, on the other hand, outlines what you bring to the role and why you are the best candidate for it. Career objectives are about what you want while the Professional Summary showcases what you offer. At this stage of the recruitment process, the company is only interested in what you offer, so leave your objective for the interview.
2. Place it at the top of your resume – your Professional Summary should be the first thing that is read so it is positioned directly under your name and contact details.
3. Keep it to 2-4 sentences max – it should be a concise and compelling summary of why you are the best candidate for the job. Limit it to four sentences maximum, and if you can do it in less, then even better.
4. Tailor it to the job – it should be carefully structured and tailored to fit the job requirements. Highlight your relevant skills and experience as outlined on the job advertisement. You should write a unique professional summary for each job you apply for targeted specifically for the job you are applying for.
5. Keep it professional – at the end of the day, your resume is a professional document. It should be written void of personal pronouns and should include your professional brand or job title. Also, try introducing your brand with an adjective or strong character trait, for example, seasoned marketing manager, passionate administration assistant.
6. Mix up hard skills and soft skills – include a combination of hard skills and soft skills as outlined in the job advertisement. Make sure you don’t lie! You are better to omit skills they are looking for than lie about what you have done.
7. Include tangible examples – add information about your key achievements to prove you can deliver results on the things they are looking for. Use numbers or percentages whenever possible to illustrate tangible results.
So now you need to pull it altogether and write your compelling and concise professional summary. Here are a couple of examples to provide inspiration:
Passionate customer service representative with over ten years’ experience working in call centre environments. Proven experience managing conflict resolution, interfacing directly with customers, and exceeding customer expectations. Ability to remain calm under pressure, build strong customer relationships, and manage time effectively. Consistently exceeded call volume targets by 12% and achieved a 4.8-star customer rating out of 5 over the past year.
Dedicated executive assistant with over seven years' of professional experience. Proven experience coordinating travel plans and schedules for two senior executives and ensuring the office runs smoothly. Skilled in managing conflicting priorities, time management, budget management, stakeholder management and stationery ordering. Devised and implemented a new stationery provider that saved over $8,000 in the first year.
Having a professional summary at the beginning of your resume will showcase why you are the best candidate for the job, particularly if you tailor it for each job you apply for. This is the first piece of information an organisation will learn about you, and getting it right will mean the reader will get excited to find out more about you.