If a great CV is the key to grabbing the hiring manager’s attention, a good CV summary is your ticket to convince them to keep reading. So how do you make sure that your CV summary example optimises your chances of making it to the next round of your job application?
The summary for your CV is an insight into your professional achievements and what you might be like to work with. Both will ultimately determine whether or not you land the role. However, for now, all you have to focus on is drumming up enough intrigue for the hiring manager to invite you to an interview. In this blog post, we will cover the following:
- What is a CV summary?
- Tips on how to write a CV summary
- Examples of a good CV summary
What is a CV summary?
Your CV summary is the first paragraph of your CV. It is sometimes also called the professional summary or profile. As the name suggests, these are the three to four sentences that summarise your professional profile. Your goal is to capture the hiring manager’s attention.
A good CV summary example builds a case from the outset as to why you are the best suited candidate for the job you are applying for. That’s just one reason why your CV summary should be tweaked for each job application.
The objective of your CV summary is to convince the hiring manager to keep reading. Since the CV summary is the first thing they will see after your CV header, you can expect your CV summary to be used to assess how pertinent they think your profile is. A great CV summary example has the power to reel them in. On the other hand, a poorly written one could turn them off and result in your entire application being thrown in the “no” pile.
How to write a professional summary
You should prepare three to four phrases about your professional experience that correspond to the job you are applying to. If you are asking yourself “‘does my CV need a summary?” then the short answer is yes. It is a non-negotiable expectation for most hiring managers.
One of the most important elements of writing a great CV is making sure that the hiring manager can quickly and easily digest its content. Part of that involves meeting their expectations when it comes to the structure of your CV. Not to mention, the CV summary is one of the only parts of your CV where you write in a freeform style. This is an opportunity to communicate aspects that you are unable to fit into the bullet points that make up much of a CV.
How do you introduce yourself in a CV summary?
Luckily for you, nobody is expecting you to condense your entire personality into this short space. Frame the writing of your CV summary instead as creating a snapshot of your professional profile. For instance, how does it correspond to the job vacancy at hand? Our top tips and CV summary examples below should get you started!
What makes a good CV summary?
As previously discussed, a great CV summary example should capture the attention of the hiring manager and convince them to read on. Think of this as your professional first impression. In order to get things started on the right foot, here are three things to include in your CV summary example:
- Powerful use of language. Language is your top tool in persuading the hiring manager and painting a vivid picture of why you are the best candidate for the role in the limited space that you have.
- Illustrate your value. There are some convincing tactics you can use to underline your professional worth in your CV summary example.
- Strategise for the ATS. The Applicant Tracking System is the CV overlord that governs many aspects of how you will write yours.
Most excellent CV summaries will possess all of these qualities. However, a job-winning CV is a marathon and not a sprint. Remember to take into account how your CV delivers as a whole before you dot Is and cross the Ts on your CV summary.
The next sections will expand on how to put these top three tips in practice. If you would like to see them in action, check out some of our CV summary examples in the corresponding section below:
Powerful use of language
Your best chance at capturing the hiring manager’s attention is knowing how to frame your content in the right way. Language choice is a great tool to do this. So, make sure your CV summary example contains carefully considered word choice. This will give you the power to make the story you’re building more precise and perhaps even match the tone of your potential employer.
We recommend active verbs as a sure-fire way to make your writing even more engaging. For instance, instead of “changing the system database” you could say that you “optimised data storage”. Rather than “writing sales reports“ you “communicated financial data with stakeholders and successfully forecast future sales results”
There’s no “I” in CV summary
The format of a CV summary usually does not include personal pronouns like “I”. Simply write each phrase in short past tense statements. This can really help with the word count! Check out the CV summary examples below to see how it’s done.
Illustrate your value
Proving yourself as a candidate worth hiring comes down to more than having the right skills. You should certainly mention those skills in your CV summary, but illustrating them will go a step further.
For instance, would you be more likely to hire the waitress who says they have “serving experience”? Or the one who writes about “successfully managing timely food service at large-scale events”? Communication is an important skill in any role. If you can show your role-specific skills while demonstrating how you articulate your ideas well, all the better.
Other ways to include some highlights of your profile include mentioning pertinent qualifications, impressive stats from your work, and other career achievements. Of course, always remember to make them relevant to the job role that you’re applying for.
Strategise for the ATS
A multitude of organisations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter their job applications. This means that only the ones ranked as most relevant make it in front of the hiring manager. If you want to make sure that your CV isn’t thrown out, you need to make sure the keywords that the ATS will be looking for are present.
In order to do this, you need to figure out which keywords the ATS is looking for. These are likely the most prevalent words in the job description. So make sure you read it carefully. Now you need to make sure these keywords are included throughout your CV.
The presence of these keywords early in the document via your CV summary gives you a strategic advantage for human decisions as well as algorithmic ones. Not only is the CV summary a great spot to include keywords for the ATS, but once it’s in front of the hiring manager they will know at a glance that your profile is pertinent.
CV summary examples
Now that you know what goes into a top CV summary example, let’s see some in action. Your CV summary example will vary depending on your expertise, your level, and your industry. Here are a range of examples to get your communicative juices flowing.
Teacher CV summary example
This teacher CV summary example demonstrates how to include highlights from your career. Plus, they’ve even managed to mention their most relevant qualification.
Qualified Science Teacher with experience teaching at a variety of schools and academies. Experienced in creating comprehensive curricula for KS3 and KS4. Passionate about engaging children of all abilities in the sciences and leading inter-departmental collaborations aimed at supporting students’ academic, emotional, and social development.
Waitress CV summary example
Mentioning any professional accolades or awards you have can be a great way to stand out in your CV summary.
Professional and enthusiastic waitress with several years of experience serving food in busy dining establishments. Committed to adhering to health and safety standards, while serving as a helpful and positive team member. Awarded for motivated attitude and the ability to multitask and work well under pressure.
Sales assistant CV summary example
This sales assistant CV summary proves that both creative language choice and some evidence of your past successes can be worked into your CV summary in a natural way.
Attentive and dedicated sales assistant with 8 years of experience in retail companies. Positive and friendly individual with a passion for ensuring customers receive the highest quality of customer service. Strong communication skills with the ability to upsell products and deliver an outstanding service that keeps customers returning time and again. Seeking role within a company that values their employees and offers a challenging but progressive environment.
Accountant CV summary example
In certain roles your qualifications will be more important than others and should be highlighted early on in your CV summary example. This accountant CV summary example makes sure it’s the first thing that is mentioned.
Qualified, and experienced accountant who has also led a team of 5 accounts assistants. Highly motivated individual, with experience in preparation of monthly journals, and balance sheet reconciliations. A dedicated leader seeking new role in challenging, high paced environment.
Office manager CV summary example
In this office manager CV summary example you can see how evidence of skills and inclusion of keywords can be done at the same time. This is a great way to save on the precious word count in your CV summary example.
Dedicated Office Manager with a proven history of ensuring streamlined operations. Strong organisational talents, able to co-ordinate day-to-day employment and business processes, including payroll, communications, reporting, and supply maintenance. Keen talent for fostering efficient, effective work environments.
- A good CV summary is a key expectation of a hiring manager when they read your application.
- Active verbs are a great way to capture your reader’s attention.
- If you’re looking for ways to communicate your professional value quickly, statistics and top achievements are your best friend.
- Make most of the freeform format of a CV summary while addressing the requirements of your desired job role.