Want to add some “oomph” to your resume? Try adding a professional profile.
Adding a profile to your resume is like putting an elevator in a ten-story building. It can help get the hiring manager to exactly where they want to go in a hurry. It enhances the readability of your resume, thus making it hiring manager-friendly.
What is a Professional Profile?
Sometimes referred to as a professional summary, a profile is a detailed synopsis of your skills and expertise. Depending on your preference, it can be written in paragraph form or a bullet point list.
Consider these two styles for your profile:
We know what you are thinking, “Well, what’s the difference between the qualifications summary, career objective, and professional profile?”
What is the difference between a Career Objective, Qualifications Summary, and Professional Profile?
The beginning of your resume is essentially the “elevator speech” through which you introduce yourself to the hiring manager.
This is the million-dollar question. The beginning of your resume is essentially the “elevator speech” through which you introduce yourself to the hiring manager.
All three styles have the same purpose—to grab the attention of the hiring manager by highlighting your qualifications that are relevant to the position. However the method by which they deliver this information differs slightly.
Elements of a career objective
- Customized to a specific job description
- Often styled as a statement of 2-3 sentences
Compare a career objective and professional profile below:
Elements of a qualifications summary
- Focuses more on your career achievements
- Consists of 5-6 bullet points that showcase your most impressive accomplishments
- Applicant-tracking system friendly because it targets specific keywords related to the job
Compare the qualifications summary and a professional profile below:
Elements of a professional profile:
- A mix of both a career objective and qualifications summary
- Can be styled as either a paragraph or bullet point list
- Since they are not necessarily targeting a specific position, professional profiles are great when uploading your resume to job search sites and networking resumes
The profile is a bit more structured than the career objective or qualifications summary as it focuses on four key points.
The Four Points of a Professional Profile
Depending on how much experience you have, your profile can include an additional point. With that being said, we recommend not going over five points in your professional profile as you risk losing the attention of the hiring manager. To maintain readability, try aiming for 500 hundred characters or less as a rule of thumb.
Point #1: Years of Experience or Education
Leading your resume profile with your experience will garner the attention of the hiring manager and prove your ability to satisfy the duties of the position.
You should begin with a statement declaring your years of experience in a particular position. Leading with your experience will garner the attention of the hiring manager and prove your ability to satisfy the duties of the position. Make sure to include your job title.
Here is an example of how your first point might look like for an accountant:
- “A certified public accountant with 5+ years of experience in ledger processes and account reconciliations.”
For students or recent graduates with little to no experience, you should focus on extracurricular activities, relevant coursework, or volunteer experience.
Here’s how the first point of a recent graduate might sound like:
- “A recent graduate of the School of Accounting at James Madison University, with in-depth knowledge in corporate financing and operational accounting.”
Point #2: Specialty Area of Experience
The next point should mention a particular specialty within the industry that you possess. This will prove that you are an expert in your field. If you can’t think of a specialty, consider adding a job duty that you feel you excel at.
Here’s an example:
- “An expert at performing large enterprise audits of $100 million.”
Notice how the point above quantifies their specialty to help give their point more weight and further attract the hiring manager.
Point #3: The Skills That Pay the Bills
In your third point, you should showcase your skills that you will be able to contribute to the specific job. Do research on the skills your industry values the most and add those that you possess. If you are changing your career path, consider skills that might transfer into your new career prospects. Also, if you have any certifications or licenses pertinent to your industry be sure to add them here.
Check out this example from our accountant:
- “Possess comprehensive knowledge of database software, and strong oral communication in English and Spanish.”
Point #4: Achievements
Stating that you received 1st place at the state fair for the hot dog eating contest won’t impress an employer looking for an accountant.
Your final point should stress your career achievements. Remember that relevance is the key. Stating that you received 1st place at the state fair for the hot dog eating contest won’t impress an employer looking for an accountant. Instead, add achievements that are applicable to the industry. If you have multiple achievements feel free to add a 5th point to your profile.
Here’s what our accountant added:
- “Corrected errors within our annual budget analysis which lead to a 15% reduction of costs.”
Add a Professional Profile to your LinkedIn Page
Just like with your resume, your LinkedIn page should also include an “elevator speech” to help employers navigate through your experience. A LinkedIn summary provides an employer with a quick introduction that highlights your achievements and expertise.
The rules are generally the same as the resume profile guidelines above, but there are a few specific tips to consider when structuring your LinkedIn profile:
- Target a specific audience
- Make it scannable/Break it up with headings
- Focus on quantifying your accomplishments
- Fill up the entire section
- Add graphics
The debate on how to begin your resume will continue to rage on, but we hope these tips drown out the noise and allow you to make the right decision. Adding these four points to your professional profile will create an effective and enticing introduction to your resume.
Looking for a Great Professional Profile Resume Template?
Check out our gallery of HR-approved, battle-tested Professional Profile templates. They are free to download, and will help you land interviews faster:
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.