Writing your resume can feel overwhelming. Using a single page to summarize your career isn’t something that comes naturally to most people.
Like many things in life, getting started is the most difficult part. In this guide, our career experts provide a step-by-step walk-through on how to start a resume, so you can move things forward with your job hunt.
Choosing a Resume Introduction
A great resume must begin with an intriguing introduction because it’s the first thing hiring managers see (check out our how to write a good resume guide for tips on this). Specifically, it acts as your resume opening statement, and sets the tone of your entire application.
An effective resume introduction gives recruiters a quick overview of what makes you the perfect candidate for the job. It essentially functions as an elevator pitch.
The problem is that job seekers have four resume introductions to choose from: the resume summary, professional profile, career objective, and qualifications summary. The introduction you choose could be the difference between landing an interview and being skipped over by the hiring manager.
Not sure which resume introduction is for you? Simply follow our “How To Start Your Resume” flow chart below and find out which resume intro maximizes your chances of getting a job:
Now that you’ve used our flow chart and know which introduction is best for you, you’re undoubtedly wondering how to write it.
Luckily, we have everything you need.
Writing a Resume Introduction
Our flow chart breaks down the four styles of resume introductions and provides examples of how they differ from one another. Now let’s dive a little deeper into how you can adapt each resume intro to effectively promote your experience and skills.
Below we describe each resume introduction and give tips on how to write them. You can also follow the link to a writing guide for each if you’re looking for more information on how to start a resume yourself. We also provide several resume introduction examples at the bottom.
Career Objective Tips
Career objectives are great for those who are just entering the workforce or who only have 1–2 years of experience under their belt. They tell the hiring manager what you’re looking for and what you have to offer. A career objective consists of three basic parts:
- Years of work/internship experience and the job duties performed
- The major qualities, skills, and abilities that you will apply to the specific position to meet the company’s goals. (You must be able to prove these skills in the professional experience section)
- Relevant degrees, licenses, and certificates you hold
When you combine the three points above, you establish a solid argument for why you deserve the position.
Resume Summary Tips
A resume summary is the right option if you have many work-related accomplishments to showcase. It’s also versatile since it can be used by people seeking work in the same industry and those trying to enter a different one.
It comprises 5–6 bullet points, a keyword (usually a relevant skill or achievement), and a sentence explaining what you’ve accomplished. You then tie this all together with quantifiable data, like a statistic, to back up your claims.
A qualifications summary is best for those who have numerous skills or achievements and are looking to work in a different field. As the flow chart explains, a qualifications summary usually contains 5–6 bullet points emphasizing a candidate’s:
The order of the bullet points is completely up to you, but we suggest listing the most relevant and impressive first. This way, you are more likely to bait recruiters and reel in their interest.
The professional profile is a mix of the best of both a career objective and qualifications summary. This introduction should include four main points:
- Years of experience
- Specialty or job duty you excel at
- Transferable skills
- Career achievements
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Good luck on the job hunt!