Three Secrets To An Influential Resumé Summary

Need a little help with writing a strong summary statement for your resumé? Here are some tips from the Glassdoor blog (March 18, 2013), along with a few of our own from Esri recruiter Chris.

Writing a resumé ‘summary of qualifications’ that stops employers cold and makes them realize you’re the right candidate can be challenging. After all, you’re good at what you do, but it can be tricky to boil down your ROI to concise statements in hopes of standing out. For most people, writing a summary of qualifications is such a major task that they look around at other resumé examples to get ideas.

Here are some insider tips to creating a summary that exemplifies your personal brand in just a few words–making employers take notice:

1. Lose the Boilerplate Language. Today, every professional is self-motivated and results-driven (and if they aren’t, they’ll be spending the majority of their time job hunting).

Copying generic summary phrases from other resumés is one of the worst sins you can commit, because it’s a sure way to tell employers that you’re identical to everyone else. Shake things up instead by making a list of your top value-added skills employers need.

Do you complete projects faster or more accurately than colleagues? Have you been promoted quicker, due to your business acumen or leadership skills? Are you able to spot new business opportunities and close deals that are lucrative for your employer?

This list will give you ideas to use in writing your summary—concepts and skills unique to YOU that most likely won’t show up in the resumés of your competition.

Chris adds: Be honest and specific. I will ask you about things on your resumé you didn’t think I would, especially if what is listed is vague or ambiguous.

2. Pull in Quantifiable Facts. Employers aren’t hiring just to have a potential source of help–they need the ROI you can deliver. So show them your value in figures and metrics from throughout your work history.

This example of an Operational Safety Manager resumé summary provides a quick snapshot of consistent value, backed up by metrics:

“Safety advocate and operational leader who influences profit (up to 20% single-year increase) by fostering productive, engaged employees. Hands-on manager with strong financial acumen, delivering regular cost, efficiency, and volume forecasting improvements throughout 80,000-square foot plants.”

As shown here, quantifiable achievements in your resumé summary help to quickly distinguish you from other candidates–even in a crowded field with hundreds of applicants.

Chris adds: Quantifiable facts are great, but make sure they carry substantial meaning. “Influencing profit (up to 20% single-year increase)…” means different things when comparing $100,000 versus $1,000,000. This is another thing I will specifically ask you about.

3. Drop Names. Marketing copywriters have known for years that name-dropping gets attention. Now, you can take a cue from these professionals to amp up the volume in your resumé summary section.

If you’re in a sales leadership role, you can mention names of major clients, with a line such as “Closed high-value deals with Apple, Cisco Systems, and Oracle.” Even if client names are confidential, your summary can use the information in a different way, such as “Created millions in key partnerships with Fortune-ranked corporations in the technology industry.”

Not in sales? You can still reference the names of partner alliances, past employers, or vendors to show collaboration and leadership skills, as in this example:

“Senior Vice President commended for turning around performance through sourcing negotiations with Baptist Health System, Medical Center of Austin, and the Mayo Clinic.”

Chris adds: Name dropping is good if used appropriately. When someone makes a good impression on me, I often ask them to reference meeting me at XYZ event in their cover letter. People at Esri know who I am, and they can come to me if they want to learn more about the person I met. Don’t drop names for the sake of dropping names. A good rule of thumb is if there is real substance to your relationship with the name you drop (organization or person), then feel free to include it in your application if you think it will improve your chances of being considered. And yes, I will ask you about the names you drop in your resumé …

In conclusion, your resumé summary isn’t the place to be modest and toned-down in describing your brand value. Instead, consider boosting its effectiveness with well-placed, strategic information on your specific value-add to employers. – Originally posted on onTargetjobs by Laura Smith-Proulx

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