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How to Write the Best Resume Summary Statement

If you think the resume summary statement is a waste of time, you're wrong. When you job search, you're actually selling a product (yourself!) to a narrow market of potential "buyers" (your target employers). And as with any sales message, you'll have more success if spend time thinking about your personal brand. If your employers have only two minutes to review your resume, what do you want them to remember?

In your written resume, the most effective branding signal is your resume summary — the short snippet of text at the top of the page that briefly explains what you have to offer. How can you make the most of your summary and send a message that works? Keep these six tips in mind to write a resume summary statement that gets attention from hiring managers.

Pack it in

Your summary should be short. Three to four lines of text is plenty. But since you can't possibly describe your background, skills, and personality in four lines, you need to make sure every word is dense with meaning. Think about it this way: Your summary should fill a teaspoon, but weigh a thousand pounds. Build your message around one core offering, the most important skill or detail that you bring to the table. Don't include fluff. The next few tips will help you eliminate it.

Remove extra descriptors

Take a cue from Stephen King and get rid of all adverbs (or words that serve a descriptive purpose and end in "ly"). Watch out for common phrases like "highly experienced," "fully qualified,", "specially trained," or "strongly motivated."These phrases don't really tell much, and they waste precious space. Get out the red pen and start cutting.

Remove empty words

Stay focused on the skills that set you apart from your competitors and will help your future employer in concrete ways. So, don't use your summary to talk about your work ethic. Everyone works hard (or, at least, they think they do). This doesn't make you special. Instead, talk about the certifications you hold, or the accomplishments that your competitors probably can't claim.

Be clear

It's important to cut extra words to keep your statements concrete and meaningful, but you also need to ensure your summary statement is clear. You don't need complete sentences in your summary (you can remove the "I" subject), but you will need your readers to see a clear or implied subject, verb, and object for each statement. Don't trim so much that your words become confusing. Read your resume summary out loud and see how it sounds.

Use keywords

Look over the job post and search for keywords that your employers may use to pull matching resumes out of a database. Which words seem to matter most to these employers? Use at least one or two of these words in your resume summary.

Answer three questions

First, what are you? Second, what can you do? Third, what have you done in the past? Find a succinct way to describe yourself(for example, "social media expert," "articulate public speaker,, "conceptual artist," or "administrative problem solver.") Turn yourself into a noun. Then focus on an action (or actions), and explain what you do in one or two simple hard-hitting phrases. Then end your summary by mentioning one or two of your most important past accomplishments. Create a rough draft first, and then edit your draft down to one lean snippet that tells readers everything they need to know about your brand.

To create a winning resume that can grab employer attention and help you land your dream job, turn to the tools on MyPerfectResume.

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