Resumes & Cover Letters

How To Write an Executive Summary on a Resume

May 24, 2021

An executive summary on your resume is a section that aims to highlight your strengths and experience. The importance of including an executive summary on your resume is showcased in the ability to quickly translate the qualifications of an applicant as it pertains to the open position. In the following article, you will learn how best to write an executive summary as well as where to include an executive summary on your resume.

What is an executive summary on a resume?

An executive summary is a section of your resume where you highlight your experiences and achievements. Applicants can use this section to explain why they are a good candidate for an executive position. An executive summary will typically be three to five concise sentences located at the top of your resume.

Resume Format
Image description

Resume Format
1. Name and contact information
2. Summary or objective
3. Professional history
a. Company name
b. Dates of tenure
c. Description of role and achievement
4. Education
5. Skills
6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)

Why executive summaries are important

An executive summary stands out from the rest of your resume and immediately highlights what makes you a good candidate. It’s different from a resume objective in that an objective shows what you’d like to gain in your career. An executive summary, on the other hand, summarizes your experiences from past jobs. This is especially important when you’re applying for an executive-level position. You need extensive experience to get a high-level executive position, therefore demonstrating your experience immediately is necessary.

Employers don’t usually read resumes word for word—they typically scan resumes for only a few seconds. By listing your strengths in a clear format near the top of your resume, you communicate your best attributes in the first moments.

Related: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice

How to write an executive summary

1. Think about the job you are applying for

Each time you apply for a job, you want to adjust your executive summary to fit that specific job description. Think about what skills they are looking for, the years of experience they want and the type of college degree you need. Study the job description to not only see what the job requirements are, but which requirements are the most important. Then be sure to mention meeting these requirements within your executive summary.

2. Demonstrate the reasons why you are the best fit for this job

Think of the executive summary as an elevator pitch for why you are the right candidate for the job over all other applicants. An executive summary on your resume should explain within a few seconds why you are uniquely the most qualified.

3. Write your first bullet point

This first sentence should be a brief description of yourself. Try to summarize your professional career in one sentence. Use the examples below to see what this might look like.

4. After your introductory sentence, list your skills and accomplishments

Use two or three bullet points to list your essential skills that are related to the position. Remember that you are applying for an executive-level position and should therefore list your most impressive skills or accomplishments.

5. Mention any other accomplishments

Use this last sentence as a soft sell to finish your pitch. Mention anything that specifically applies to that executive position.

Executive summary examples

Below are some examples of good executive summaries. You can use these as a template when writing your own. 

Business Owner

  • Motivated individual with a positive track record of driving sales
  • Excels at managing projects from start to finish
  • Skilled at understanding customer desires and meeting their needs
  • Team leader who built their own business from nothing

Store Supervisor

  • Professional and dependable manager with more than five years of experience in retail
  • Skills include organization, time management and team leadership
  • Strong communicator and excels at forming relationships
  • Promoted to higher positions due to hard work and dedication

Marketing Manager

  • Team leader with strong communication skills, a solid work ethic and a history of getting results
  • Improved customer engagement by 15 percent across all social media channels
  • Implemented an inbound marketing strategy that cut costs by 12 percent and grew leads by 40 percent
  • Successfully managed teams ranging in size from three to 30

Related: Writing a Resume Summary (With Examples)

Tips for adding an executive summary to your resume

Use the following tips to write an effective executive summary:

  • Make your executive summary stand out. Place it near the top of your resume, right below your name and contact information. Consider bolding or highlighting the text to make it more noticeable. 

  • Be specific. Avoid cliches and buzz words. Use this section to list specific accomplishments and experiences. Instead of saying you are goal-oriented, talk about specific goals you have achieved.

  • List transferable skills. If you acquired a transferable skill, include it. 

  • Use keywords. Use the executive summary section to demonstrate that you have fully read the job description and you know what they are looking for.

  • Ask others. Get the opinion of family and friends because they may have suggestions for different things you can highlight or alternative ways to describe your strengths. 

Adding in this one small section can make a big difference to your resume. As soon as someone looks at your resume, they’ll instantly see what separates you from the other candidates.

The next time you want to apply for a job, look at the job description and write some bullet points that you can include in the executive summary section.

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