Writing Your Resume Summary

Writing the Perfect Resume Summary! IowaWORKS-Southern Iowa BlogWhen asked, recruiters said that they look at the average resume four to five minutes.  Four to five minutes may already seem like an awfully short amount of time to spend reading a document that you put hours of work into picking the right words, but consider that a study by “The Ladders” using “eye-tracking software” showed that the average recruiter looks at a resume for six seconds!  Six!  SECONDS!  That means they’re reading FORTY resumes in that four minutes!  That’s the world the job applicant is facing.  The internet has made it possible for many more applicants to compete for good jobs than the old “Now Hiring” sign in the window, so applicants have to find the best way to appeal to the six-second glance.

To start gearing your resume in that direction, start with the top of your resume.  The summary of your resume is where the eyes go first.  Use the summary to quickly and proficiently explain how you’re the best candidate in the stack of candidates for THIS job.  Don’t waste that space on a generic objective that will sound awfully similar to the generic objectives that the last three resumes had, use this valuable space on the resume to sell, Sell, SELL!

The first thing to look at is format –

  • Three to five short sentences describing your transferrable skills that relate to the job that you’re currently applying for. Use keywords from the job description. If the company says it needs a team player three times in the job description, tell them why you’re a great team player!
  • Transferrable skills are skills that you have either from your work or life experience that you can then transfer to a different work or life experience. Communication skills, problem solving, etc.
  • Use bullet points. It’s cleaner and easier to read. A six second glance isn’t reading a dense block of text.
  • Be creative. Use “spectacular vernacular”. Don’t write the same sentence that’s on every other resume in the stack.
  • Don’t focus on your specific work history, that’s already on your resume in the work experience section. “14 years at ABC Industries” is not the way to sell yourself on the first line of your resume.
  • Third person (no I’s, Me’s, We’s, or You’s!) and past –tense.

Remember to sell yourself!  Consider this sentence –

“Able to solve complex challenges by using problem-solving strategies”

That sounds good and is true of a great number of people with differing backgrounds.  That sentence is about how my two year old figures out how to get all of her mismatched toys to fit into her doll-sized stroller without falling out so that they can all go for a ride.  She has skills, you have skills, and you have to make sure you’re selling them!


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