A resume summary sits at the very top of your resume and is your first chance to make a great impression with a hiring manager. You’ve got to start strong when writing your resume. Don’t worry — we’re here to help!
In this guide, we’re laser-focused on the professional summary for a resume. We will cover:
- What a resume summary statement is
- How to write a summary for a resume
- When to use a summary on a resume
We’ll inspire you with several resume summary examples for top industries, job titles and experience levels, and provide writing tips.
Click one of the categories below to jump to a specific section of this guide:
Table of Contents
What is a resume summary?
A resume summary — also called a professional summary or resume summary statement — is a brief rundown of your experience and top skills that sits at the top of your resume template.
Use this valuable real estate to highlight your top achievements, including your years of experience and the valued skills from the job description that apply to you. For a good resume summary, it must be tailored to the job and no more than five concise sentences long.
Let’s use this job ad for a social media manager as an example:
A tailored summary for a resume might look like this:
- Good resume summary Strategic social media manager with four years of experience creating social content calendars. Skilled in managing and developing social media strategies, writing digital copy, and executing paid and organic digital campaigns. Experience working in collaborative environments and shooting video content.
The bolded words are keywords and phrases found in the job description. This is an exercise you should do for every job you apply to, so you must customize your resume summary each time. Then, your resume’s work history and skills sections should complement your summary on your resume.
- Poor resume summary Savvy social media manager with experience working in social media and creating content for brands. Skilled writer, photographer and multitasker.
This resume summary statement doesn’t work for several reasons: it’s not tailored to the job, it doesn’t give enough detail, and it doesn’t include keywords and phrases from the job description.
Pro tip You should use a professional summary for a resume only if you have several years of experience in the same industry. If you’re a first-time job seeker or changing your career, use a resume objective statement instead.
How to write a summary for a resume
Now that you’ve seen some of our best resume summary examples, you’ve probably got a good idea what a resume professional summary looks like, and you’re ready to write your own. The following three tips will help you write a good summary for a resume that grabs attention.
Condense the details and be consistent.
When you begin writing your resume summary, remember: less is more. A professional summary for a resume only needs to be three to five sentences long. You should also write using the first-person point of view, but omit pronouns like “I,” “she” or “they” to help save some valuable writing space.
Highlight your top qualifications.
Make a strong first impression by writing your most valuable skills and highlighting your relevant work accomplishments, as the professional summary examples below do. You want to get the hiring manager’s attention and intrigue them to continue reading the rest of your resume.
Make adjustments based on your career level.
Students and job seekers who are just graduating from college or don’t have much work experience should include information on their resume summary statement about what type of job they’re seeking and what their goal is with this potential new job. If you have plenty of experience, however, there’s no need to include a career objective here.
Resume summary examples based on work experience
For some jobs, you might benefit from emphasizing how much work experience you have in your resume summary, especially if the job description has a minimum experience requirement or you are applying for a managerial position.
The following examples show how to best highlight your work experience level in your resume summary.
2 to 5 years of experience resume summary example
- Shows how many years of experience the job candidate has.
- Tells hiring managers what the candidate did for previous organizations.
- Creates impact with power words like “ambitiously” and “diligently” and action verbs like “excelled at collaborating.”
- Provides a thorough and relevant mix of soft and hard skills.
6+ years of experience resume summary example
- Tells how many years of experience the job candidate has.
- Shows hiring managers that the job applicant has a successful track record in the field.
- Highlights well-known companies as past employers.
- Emphasizes a breadth of soft skills.
Management experience resume summary example
- Opens by telling hiring managers the job applicant is highly experienced in IT project management.
- Emphasizes project and team management skills.
- Highlights an award won and the years the candidate received it.
Professional summary examples
for top jobs
Committed and empathic acute care nurse with 12 years of hands-on experience in critical care facilities. Provide complex clinical assessments, diagnostic testing and medical therapy for patients with various acute illnesses. Comfortable relaying difficult information and providing emotional support to families. Highly proficient in case management, medication administration and patient education.
Detail-oriented accountant with over eight years of effectively maintaining accurate accounting information for large-scale financial organizations, including central banks, credit unions and investment companies. History working as part of the financial team to manage diverse financial functions, PMT, tax management and reporting. Highly analytical professional with extensive knowledge of Excel and QuickBooks.
A dedicated and reliable accounting manager with 12 years of experience and extensive knowledge of federal and state tax laws. Utilizes a proactive approach to problems and practices prudent financial management. Motivational and ethical leader with a proven ability to build strong teams with high retention rates.
Responsible and compassionate caregiver who understands how to balance patients’ and organizations’ needs. Experienced in medication distribution and able to follow medical instructions precisely. Certified for basic first aid and CPR. Adept at monitoring each patient’s health and providing a gentle approach to patients’ needs.
Hardworking and detail-oriented cashier with expertise in drawer management, POS systems, refund handling and inventory control. Multitasking and reliable professional with skills in customer service, promoting sales, keeping the store organized and processing transactions. Creative and attentive problem-solver committed to enhancing customers’ experience.
Driven civil engineering student with hands-on experience in construction and in-depth knowledge of civil engineering principles and tools. Dedicated worker with outstanding communication skills. Bilingual in Chinese and English.
Reliable construction worker with experience in residential and commercial construction projects for over 18 years. Exceptional problem-solver adept at plumbing and carpentry specializing in roof repairs and installation. Safely operates various heavy-duty construction equipment and certified with OSHA’s Safety and Health Fundamentals Certificate.
Multifaceted cosmetology student with experience coloring, styling and cutting hair; performing pedicures and manicures, and recommending on-trend beauty treatments based on individual client needs. Demonstrated ability to exceed salon sales goals and build strong relationships with clients.
Data entry clerk with three years of experience accurately maintaining records and updating account information for financial services firm. Razor-sharp eye for detail and adept at Microsoft Word and Excel. Continually seek ways to improve processes and develop solutions across all departments.
Skilled doctor who champions family-focused care willing to go the extra mile to provide complete service. Diagnoses and educates patients about medical concerns while implementing evidence-based treatment plans. Skilled in working under pressure assessing conditions, conducting tests and performing minor procedures.
Creative director with 10 years of hands-on filmmaking experience in a variety of productions. Diligent and technologically savvy leader with high standards for impeccable results. Adept at story pitching, video production, script review and budgeting. Empathic advocate for creative and production staff.
Attentive and knowledgeable massage therapist with five-year track record of solid customer service and a knack for building relationships. Experienced in a wide range of massage techniques, including deep tissue, Shiatsu and trigger point.
Licensed nanny with a background in education and child care. Works diligently to identify and eliminate behavioral and educational issues. Incorporates stimulating activities, such as grouping games and writing stories into daily routines to promote healthy mental and social development. Certified in first aid and CPR, and dedicated to creating safe, inclusive and engaging learning environments for all children.
Organized and dependable nursing aide successful at managing multiple priorities with a positive attitude. Skilled in patient care, transportation and equipment assembly. Familiar working in highly stressful and hectic environments and managing disoriented and combative patients.
Results-oriented operations manager offering 18 years of high-level experience supervising workover and completion operations. Familiar with human resources and adept at directing the work of completion consultants and completion supervisors in operation functions, including inventory management and warehousing. Directly trained and managed six supervisors while leading a total staff of 75 team members — successfully introducing lean manufacturing to increase productivity and cut completion costs.
Motivated and accomplished outside sales representative adept at building relationships with customers, negotiating deals and closing sales. Detail-oriented self-starter with a track record of exceeding sales goals.
Highly communicative and customer service-oriented payroll specialist with more than eight years of expertise in auditing payroll data and processing garnishments. An action-oriented professional with skills in ADP processing and Kronos. Process and transmit payroll for over 3,000 employees, in multiple states, on a biweekly and weekly basis. Employees paid include hourly, salary and union.
Enthusiastic NCSF Certified Personal Trainer and business owner with seven years of experience teaching senior clients balance and functional skills. Additional expertise in youth athletic conditions with focus on strength training. Strong background in personalized and one on one and group training.
Outgoing and friendly receptionist delivering customer service and administrative excellence, including clerical support and public interaction. Excels in calendar management, Google Calendar, Microsoft Surface Studio, scheduling, data entry and database administration. Capable of answering and quickly redirecting up to 100 calls per day, accomplishing business goals.
Qualified registered nurse experienced in providing professional nursing care to patients, including assessing needs, planning, implementation and evaluation of care.
Passionate about improving patient satisfaction and adapting to continuous health system changes. Acts as liaison between patient and providers.
Energetic retail sales associate with excellent customer service, leadership and teamwork abilities. Proficient at merchandising and display, product knowledge, processing cash and cards transactions and boosting sales. Confident and persuasive with strong attention to detail and the ability to engage diverse customers and enhance brand loyalty and satisfaction.
Organized and hardworking sales representative with a solid history of exceeding sales goals, growing business and expanding territories. Experienced in project management, account service, lead prospecting, strategic planning, network development and retention strategies. Accomplished negotiator with excellent customer service, research and conflict-resolution skills. Focused on maximizing efficiency and sales success.
Compassionate and driven social worker with solid experience working with a broad range of groups, ages, ethnicities and different socioeconomic backgrounds. Skilled in case management, crisis intervention, data collection and management, referral and networking, and family reunification. Licensed social worker (LCSW) with expertise in Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIP) and a deep understanding of human behavior to provide guidance to clients and communities in need.
Hardworking and passionate teacher with experience in classroom management, professional development and project planning covering a wide range of subjects. Clear and effective communicator highly skilled at motivating students through positive encouragement and reinforcement of concepts via interactive classroom instruction and innovative lesson planning. Successful in helping students develop strong literacy, numeracy, social and learning skills.
Write the perfect resume summary statement with our Resume builder
Let us do the work for you with our Resume Builder. All you have to do is choose a professionally designed resume template, plug it into our builder and use our expertly crafted phrases and content suggestions to highlight your qualifications. You’ll have a polished resume in minutes!
Our resume generator is easy to use and offers step-by-step guidance to help you write a professional and effective resume.
The builder features:
- Advanced customization: Easily change and tailor your professional summary for each job.
- Pre-written examples: Make your resume professional summary read even better by using our builder’s pre-written phrases crafted by career experts.
- Expert tips: We’ll guide you through every section so you can craft your resume with confidence.
- Easy editing tools: Make changes on the fly or go back and polish your resume after proofreading it.
- Chrome extension: With just one click, you can match your resume with the right jobs, update your resume easily and auto-fill job applications.
Pro tip A professional resume template can help get your resume past applicant tracking system (ATS) software because they ensure your resume is properly formatted and easy to scan.
Resume summary examples for top industries
Write a compelling resume summary with inspiration from our extensive library of resume examples. With more than 1,000 samples to choose from, you’re sure to find one that works for you!
Resume summary examples key takeaways
Let’s summarize what we’ve learned:
- A resume summary is your first chance to tell the recruiter why you’re the best fit for the job. It summarizes your top achievements and skills relevant to the target job.
- Use resume summary examples for inspiration and guidance when crafting your own.
- Keep your professional summary for a resume short. It should never be longer than five sentences.
- Tailor each resume summary statement to your target job by using keywords and phrases from the job description.
- Use a resume objective instead if you don’t have a lot of work experience and want to tell the recruiter your career goals.
- Don’t repeat information. A good summary for a resume complements the other sections of your resume rather than reiterates them.
- A professional resume template can help your resume pass through most ATS software and help your resume stand out with style.
Resume summary FAQ
What is a resume summary?
A resume summary is a short paragraph consisting of three to five sentences at the top of a resume. It tells employers at a glance what you offer in the form of your relevant experience, top skills and professional achievements.
Do you need a summary on a resume?
You should include a summary on a resume if you have work experience because when written well, they grab recruiters’ and hiring managers’ attention and make them want to learn more about your job qualifications.
What is a good summary for a resume?
A good resume summary highlights your most relevant job qualifications compellingly, so employers want to learn more about you.
- Tailored to the job
What should a resume summary include?
A professional summary for a resume should summarize your experience and qualifications for the target job.
You might include:
- Your level of work experience.
- Soft, hard and transferable skills.
- Significant awards and honors.
How to write a resume summary for a career change?
If you’re changing careers, you probably don’t have much work experience in your new field, so it’s better to write an objective statement than a resume summary. A resume objective allows you to briefly describe your goals for the career change and emphasize transferable skills which fit your new career path.