A resume summary showcases your expertise and skills at the top of your resume — allowing you to make a good impression from the first word of your application.
This resume introduction is usually located near your contact information, and is also known as a:
- Resume summary statement
- Professional summary
- Career summary
Learn how to write a resume summary with our comprehensive guide, and model yours after one of our proven resume summary examples.
What is a Resume Summary?
A resume summary is a resume introduction that highlights your key work-related achievements, skills, and qualifications in four to five bullet points.
Check out this example of what a summary for a resume looks like:
Each bullet point includes:
- a short subheading related to one of your relevant skills or achievements
- an example that showcases that skill or achievement
- a data point (usually a number or statistic) that backs it up
Your resume summary is the first thing the hiring manager reads when they view your application — so using this structure allows you to showcase all your strengths at once.
How to Write a Resume Summary
Simply follow these four easy steps to create a good summary for your resume and impress hiring managers:
1. Identify Your Top Work Skills
First, check the job posting to decide which skills and achievements you should list.
If you’re not sure what skills suit your application, there are many general skills for a resume that all employers are seeking.
Regardless of the job opening, you should include a mix of hard skills and soft skills in your resume summary. Doing so shows you have a balanced skillset, and can handle a variety of tasks.
2. Pick Examples of Each Skill in Action
Each resume summary bullet point needs a job-relevant achievement that proves your ability to get work done. Think about your professional experience, and come up with a list of your accomplishments.
Let’s say you want to showcase your Spanish abilities. You might write the following:
- Translate written text at an average of 1,000 words per day
- Translated 200+ documents for government agencies, including the US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Translated 1,000+ documents from Spanish into English
- Provided simultaneous interpretation between Spanish & English at 50+ conferences
3. Find Supporting Data
Once you’ve found some examples of your achievements, add data to make them quantifiable for hiring managers.
For instance, if you’re a freelancer, you likely send an email for each project you accept. Simply use the search function of your email to find out how many assignments you’ve completed. Or you could check the number of invoices you’ve sent out.
Translated 1,000+ documents from Spanish into English.
4. Use the Achievement That Highlights Your Best Attributes
After you’ve gathered several accomplishments for your resume summary, pick the one that best illustrates your talents.
If you’re applying to multiple jobs, you’ll probably find that certain examples suit different positions.
Anatomy of a Professional Summary Bullet
Let’s take a look at an example resume summary bullet point:
1. The Subheading
2. The Sentence
If your subheading is “management,” explain why you’re an excellent manager by using action words to describe an actual achievement. This proves you’re telling the truth (see Part 3).
3. Quantifiable Data
Add numbers to your bullet to quantify each statement you make.
Check out how this hair stylist effectively uses quantifiable data in her resume summary statement:
This data strengthens her resume summary because numbers attract attention and support her achievements.
Hiring managers want to see how you’ll perform if they offer you the job, and concrete data in the form of numbers provides this insight into your performance. Plus, the fact that you’ve gathered this information in the first place even highlights your organizational skills, which is an added benefit.
10+ Resume Summary Examples
Here are some professional summaries for resumes that will inspire you when drafting your own:
Translator Resume Summary Example
This translator candidate’s resume career summary will help them land more job interviews:
- Spanish: Translated 1,000+ documents from Spanish into English
- Communication: Collaborate with ever-growing portfolio of clients (currently 47)
- Time Management: Complete 99+% of assigned translation projects within agreed deadlines
- Accuracy: Low rate (<5%) of customer requests for revision of completed translation projects
Mechanic Resume Summary Example
Our candidate will successfully navigate the application process to their next job thanks to the summary section of their mechanic resume:
- Vehicle repair: Repaired and serviced 2,000+ vehicles
- Upselling: Upsold parts and labor by an average of 47%
- Customer service: Greeted an average of 52 customers a week
- Meticulousness: Test drove 1,470 vehicles to ensure work quality
Property Manager Resume Summary Example
This property manager resume shows that a resume summary can inspire both clients and hiring managers.
- Negotiation: Negotiated average 4.7% discount from suppliers
- Leadership: Managed 39 staff members, including security team
- Organization: Oversaw portfolio of 85 luxury properties
- Trustworthiness: Handled $50m in monthly rent and fees
Hair Stylist Resume Summary Example
This hair stylist resume professional summary highlights her career accomplishments.
- Product Recommendation: Exceeded monthly sales quota by an average of 47% each month
- Customer Service: Highest customer retention and rebooking rate (over 80% of clients)
- Adaptability: Perform 7+ hair services, including coloring, cutting, and straightening
- Product Knowledge: Expert in 17 product lines, including Obagi Clinique, and Dermalogica
Photographer Resume Summary Example
The resume summary found on this photographer resume shines a light on their achievements.
- Composition: Capture stunning portraits using a DSLR and 4+ lenses
- Post-processing: Create unique digital imaging effects in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
- Awards & Recognition: Winner of the LensBoss ‘Portrait Photographer of the Year’ award 2018
- Social Media: Cultivated an Instagram following of over 250,000 individuals to drive freelance business
This secretary resume features a strong resume summary:
- Management: 10+ years of experience supporting high-level executives and managing administrative departments
- Leadership: Trained and supervised more than 25 administrative staff over a 5-year period
- Microsoft Office: Possess MOS Expert Certification
- Initiative: Executed an environmental initiative that saved over $4,500 in office supply costs
Teacher Resume Summary Example
The resume summary found on this teacher’s resume provides salient achievements:
- Experience: 10+ years of experience teaching classes of different sizes and ability levels
- Interpersonal skills: Received 90%+ satisfaction rating from parents and students
- Teaching skills: Improved math and literacy grades by 17% and 24%, respectively
- Initiative: Executed switch to online record-keeping of student attendance, reducing administrative costs by 5%
High-School Student Resume Summary Example
- Leadership: Served 1 term as Student Council President, securing majority support (70%) from Council members
- Diligent: Received 3.9/4.0 GPA
- Empathy: Organized charity drive for homeless veterans, raising $4,700
- Attendance: Maintained 100% attendance record
Accountant Resume Summary Example
This candidate assembled a strong accountant resume compete with a summary statement that describes their achievements and skills:
- Reliable: Supervised $4.7 million budget
- Effective: Reduced costs by 17% over 3 years
- Communication skills: Gave 2 oral presentations per month on company’s financial indicators
- Interpersonal skills: Trained 3 junior accountants
Nurse Resume Summary Example
An effective nurse’s resume summary should look something like this:
- Caregiving: Provide quality health care in a 20-patient ward, including daily monitoring, recording, and evaluation
- Communication skills: Interface daily with 7 team members concerning patients’ treatments
- Empathetic: Commended 3 times for ability to deliver bad news to patients and their family members
- Knowledgeable: Graduated Sacramento State Nursing program with 3.9 GPA
Resume Summary vs Resume Objective
An objective is a three- or four-sentence statement where candidates outline their experience, skillset, and aspirations, and people of all experience levels can write one.
The resume objective lets candidates highlight their ambitions at their target company, and how they will take those ambitions and benefit their target company.
However, every inch of resume real estate is valuable, and shouldn’t be wasted by talking about your own goals. Companies are more interested in what you can offer them.
In a resume summary, each bullet point is carefully crafted to advertise your skills and achievements. This makes a resume summary statement a much more efficient use of space, and also more scannable for the reader.
Hiring managers can easily see where each sentence starts, which makes picking out the key details much easier — especially when they’re going through your resume quickly (which they will be doing).
Who Should Use a Resume Summary Statement?
Resume summaries are an ideal option if you have 2+ years of experience, since they’re a great way to showcase on-the-job skills, experience, and achievements.
Specifically, a resume summary is most effective if you have:
- Stayed in the same job for several years
- Held different roles in the same industry
- Worked in multiple industries in your career
Should Students Use a Resume Summary?
Resume summaries better suit people with experience, so they’re usually inappropriate for students and entry level job seekers.
A traditional resume objective provides more space for you to talk about your dreams and goals. If you’re a student, an objective puts less pressure on you to think of work-related, quantifiable achievements.
However, if you’re a student who’s held leadership roles — maybe in student government, fraternities, or social groups — you could benefit from using a resume summary statement.
These experiences provide several transferable skills, and can also be tied to concrete accomplishments.
- student government experience will strengthen your leadership skills
- a stint in the theater society will enhance your public speaking
- playing on the soccer team will boost your team-player credentials
Just remember, hard data is essential for a resume summary, regardless of your experience level, so make sure you add a statistic to each bullet point.
Served term on University of Chicago College Council, winning 4,700 votes.
Resume Summary: Next Steps
After you’ve finished writing your resume summary, use the rest of your resume real estate wisely by learning how to write a resume.
If you’re ready to write the body of your resume, take a look at our career summary resume templates. They’re free to download and easy to customize for any job application.
For more inspiration, we have various resume samples that match common roles in your industry.
Alternatively, you can generate a tailored resume in minutes using our new and improved resume builder.