As many of you know, professional resumes come in all shapes and sizes.  One of the more often asked questions regarding writing professional resumes is, “How do I make my resume stand out from the crowd?” While there are many potential answers to this question, a key element to successful professional resume writing is starting off with a strong professional summary.  Here are some reasons why a summary section can bring additional value to your professional resume.

As most candidates know, you have somewhere between 15 to 30 seconds to grab a potential employers attention. With such a short time frame available, one needs to summarize your overall skills and accomplishments in a concise enough manner to make the reader want to drive down through the rest of the resume. The summary section will accomplish this task by helping you set the tone for the rest of the resume.

In the summary section it is important to note a few key elements.  The summary should contain somewhere between 3 to 5 lines that makes you unique versus other candidates.   These elements should be written in sentence form and may include but not be limited to:

  1. Defining your work history by listing major titles and positions most relevant to your candidacy
  2. Providing a specific description of your typical task based responsibilities
  3. Defining specific quantifiable accomplishments that shows a level of achievement (i.e. increased sales by 50% versus year prior, etc.)
  4. Highlighting one or two special responsibilities (i.e. special projects, employment related task committee participation, etc.) outside of your day-to-day scope of work.
  5. Detailing professional recognition awards for outstanding achievement (i.e. President’s or Chairman’s Club Award, Salesman of the Year Award, etc.

As you will note, the summary should define specific attributes of your work history that separates yourself and makes you marketable versus the competition.  The idea is to catch the readers attention and have them continue reading through the rest of the resume.  Summary items that start of with wording such as “Works well with others….., Team Player…….., Good Communicator…..etc., are not the type of items that should be used in the summary.  They are fluff descriptors that marginalize your resume and thus, your candidacy.

Remember, a professional resume is in essence a personal marketing document.  As with any marketing document, it is imparative to capture someones attention quickly and continue to hold it throughout the presentation process. When written and presented correctly, a strong professional summary should make the reader want to learn more about your background and skill sets.  As such, taking the time to include a well-written summary in your professional resume can make all the difference in landing that next interview.

Action Resume Service is a 23 year old professional and executive resume writing and career development company serving a nationwide client base.  To learn more about professional and executive resume writing and career development services, visit or call us at 610-613-3907.