Sunday, May 13, 2012

Resume Summary - Why Your Resume Must Include A Summary Section

A summary statement on a resume is pretty much what the name implies; a thumbnail sketch of the particular skills, strengths and accomplishments that make you the perfect fit for the job in question. The resume summary is your advertising pitch to the reader. Short on details, it is a teasing list of assertions of what you can do and what you can offer the company. The actual data backing up those assertions is implied to be found throughout the balance of the resume. The job of the summary is to coax the reader into exploring that balance, with a predisposition that the qualifications for the job have already been met.

The importance of such a summary statement can't be overstated. If your resume summary doesn't grab the reader, address his needs and pique his interest in reading further, all hope is lost.

Location of the Resume Summary

If your resume has an objective statement, locate the summary directly beneath the objective. If you elect to forgo the objective, the summary will be the first section on the resume, just beneath your name and contact information.

Should a Resume Summary Take The Place of the Objective?

Opinions are divided. Some career experts will tell you that the objective is old school and a liability on a contemporary resume. Others will tell you that nothing focuses a resume like a clear objective statement. I think it remains advisable to use an objective, if 1) you know the position you're applying for, and you insert that position title into your objective, 2) you have an overly diverse work background that doesn't lend itself to a natural focus, or 3) you're changing careers, or entering the job market for the first time.

If you don't use an objective, your summary will need to be crafted to include the element of focus that would have otherwise fallen to the objective.

Example of a Resume Summary used WITH an Objective Statement

Objective:
Position as OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.

Summary:
Dedicated professional with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy and over nine years of O.T. experience in diverse clinical settings including hospital, home health, mental health, and skilled nursing/long-term care facilities.
1. Particular strengths in identifying individual needs, formulating practical solutions to those needs, and coordinating therapeutic activities with other health care disciplines to maximize patient benefits.
2. Implemented "Claudia Allen" therapeutic approach in a nursing home setting.
3. Perceptive listener with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
Example of a Resume Summary used WITHOUT an Objective Statement

Summary:
Occupational Therapist delivering excellent patient relations skills and demonstrated technical/therapeutic proficiency from over nine years of diverse O.T. clinical experience in hospital, home health, mental health, and skilled nursing/long-term care facilities.
1. Particular strengths in identifying individual needs, formulating practical solutions to those needs, and coordinating therapeutic activities with other health care disciplines to maximize patient benefits.
2. Implemented "Claudia Allen" therapeutic approach in a nursing home setting.
3. B.S. in Occupational Therapy.
The resume summary typically focuses on three to five skills or competencies that have been culled from resume and represent the best arguments as to why you are a perfect match for the job in question. And by the way, the summary section can go by a number of names: Profile, Summary, Summary of Qualifications, Career Summary, Accomplishments Profile, Etc.

Call it what you will. But whatever you chose to call it, make it a part of your resume... or plan to spend a lot of time with your shoes shined and nowhere to go, wondering if your phone still works.

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