How to Clearly Convey Your Qualifications in a Summary
Your Resume Summary Statement is critical to securing the interview. The summary statement highlights your skills, education, and experience. Its purpose is to convince the reader to proceed with an interview. It is structured with 3-5 concise sentences or statements and is characterized as “you on paper.” Hiring Managers typically spend a mere six seconds looking at your resume. This means that your summary must a pack a punch while immediately grabbing and retaining the reader’s attention. Write a statement that separates you from the stack of profiles on the recruiter’s desk.
OBJECTIVE VS. SUMMARY
An objective defines your intentions. A resume summary statement details your accomplishments. Objectives are obsolete because they belabor information disclosed by your summary and waste valuable space. Infuse this portion of your resume with qualifications and accomplishments that support where you want to be; not where you have been. This common mistake inhibits most people from career advancement. NEVER include the title of your desired position or you risk underselling yourself and excluding a better opportunity. Ensure the reader understands your goals, but keep it vague. State that you are “eager to explore their sales management roles” and not “seeking a Sales Manager position.” A successful resume summary statement proves your qualifications.
A curriculum vitae (CV) is an expanded resume which highlights your experience and details your qualifications. It is typically 2-4 pages, contrary to a basic resume of 1 or 2 pages. A CV summary can be longer than your resume summary statement, but still must be brief. Never go beyond one paragraph. With an Executive Resume citing Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ), you have more leeway because 5-10 pages of professional experience is required.
EXECUTIVE RESUME AND ECQ
Executive Resumes are a bit different. They are built around the universally accepted Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ). There are five basic ECQs: Driving Change, Leading People, Being Results Driven, Business Acumen, and Building Coalitions. You will specifically use these key terms and provide an example of each in your summary. The rest of the document will focus on 1-2 pages per ECQ, so you only need to add one example of each ECQ in the resume summary statement.
EMPLOY FACTS, NOT OPINIONS
Quantify your accomplishments by translating your experience numerically. Don’t say that you saved the company money by reducing overtime. State that you reduced overtime by 30% in 6 months and saved the company $200K in payroll expenses. Choose only 1 or 2 specific accomplishments to highlight. Remember to be brief. Add keywords conducive to your desired role and you will surpass Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). Focus on the company’s needs: saving money, saving time, innovation, and/or expansion. Answer accordingly through dollars, percentages, and time.
WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
Understand what the company desires and translate your accomplishments accordingly. Employ objectives from their mission statement, usually on their website. Thoroughly read the job description. Use action words. Ensure your resume statement summary reads assertively, not passively. Don’t say you would like to do something. State that you are eager and prepared for that step. Don’t state that you have experience in sales. State the you are a highly accomplished sales professional. Detail your success with account procurement exceeding 20 years and over $200MM in accumulated sales. Be concise and specific. Avoid unnecessary adjectives, clichés, and “filler words.” These detract from your statement and lower your professional credibility. Don’t tell the reader about your qualifications; show them examples. Incorporate the quantified examples. It is not necessary to use complete sentences. Focus on important details and be judicious.
Which statement elicits a better response from you?
“I am an accomplished, results-driven Sales Manager with 20 years of experience; utilizing sales skills to increase business.OR
“Sales Management Professional consistently driving new business 25%, annually, for the last 10 of my 20 years of career advancement.”
Whether constructing a Resume or CV, always choose your best accomplishments. Support the resume summary statement throughout the document and distinguish your achievements. With these methods, you will significantly increase your chance of securing a face-to face meeting.
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