Resumes & Cover Letters

A Complete Resume Summary Guide (40+ Examples)

December 17, 2020

A resume summary statement is a one- to two-sentence professional introduction that you can add to the top of your resume to highlight your most valuable skills and experiences. The resume summary can help employers quickly learn whether you have the skills and background they require.

In this article, we look at what a resume summary is, the benefits of including one and how to write a resume summary with examples.

What is a resume summary?

A resume summary, also known as a professional summary or summary statement, is a short description at the top of your resume that describes your experience, qualities and skills. Including a resume summary allows you to showcase your strongest assets right away.

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)

It can be helpful to think about a resume summary as an answer to the question, “How would you describe your work experience in one sentence?” For example, if you have 10 years of experience working as a registered nurse, you’ve likely developed a long list of accomplishments for your resume. Creating a summary that showcases the most relevant, key points for a specific position and employer offers a solid picture of your qualifications immediately.

Here are a few other ways including a resume summary can be helpful.

When to include a resume summary

You should use a resume summary if you have more than three years of professional experience. The accomplishments you’ve earned in that time should allow you to create an effective and impactful statement. If you have fewer than three years of experience, such as new graduates or career switchers, a resume objective may be a better option.

Benefits of a resume summary statement

When you’re deciding what to put on your resume, including your summary statement, it’s a good idea to consider the job you’re applying for, the company and the industry it’s in.
Here are several benefits of including a resume summary:

Get noticed faster

The first time they see your resume, employers will likely scan to see whether your profile is a good match for the job. This means that you want your most relevant skills and experiences to be easy to find. A strong summary statement at the top of your resume can increase the chances of them noticing what you have to offer from the start.

Highlight your key skills and experience earlier

Your resume should be clear and easy to read. If you have extensive experience, your resume may seem bulky or complex. A summary section can help reduce the complexity for those who have a wider range of experiences down to the most relevant, important points. It may also encourage the hiring manager to give your resume more attention if they find what they’re looking for in your resume summary.

Capture keywords

Including a resume summary can quickly address keywords listed in a job posting. Carefully read the job descriptions for the positions that interest you. You should review sections with titles like “Requirements,” “Experience,” or “Education” to decide which skills or experiences you should include in your summary.

For example, a job posting for a nurse could say the employer is seeking someone with 10 years of advanced patient care. If you fit those criteria, you may want to include your years of experience and specific technical skills in the summary section. The summary of qualifications for a registered nurse, for example, might say:

Compassionate BSN with 10+ years of experience and certifications in neonatal resuscitation and management of assaultive behavior.

Here, the resume writer includes a soft skill (“compassionate”) and some of her key technical skills employers may find important, such as a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and other in-demand certifications. Depending on your level of experience and the jobs you’re applying for, what you choose to focus on in your resume summary may vary.

Resume summary vs. objective

While a resume summary will highlight a few important experiences and skills you’ve acquired, a resume objective is a statement of your career goals. You might decide to include one or the other, or both. Your choice may depend on the position, company or industry you’re applying for as well as the complexity of your past experience.

A resume objective might be useful if you have limited work experience, like recent high school or college graduates. A resume summary is more appropriate if you have some work history and various skills and experiences worth highlighting.

Related: Resume Profile vs. Objective

For example, a recent high school graduate applying for a nursing program may want to include a resume objective, while an experienced registered nurse should opt for a summary statement.

An objective statement for a recent graduate entering a nursing program might say:

Motivated nursing student seeking to develop more extensive experience working with elderly patients.

While the nurse with experience could write a summary that states:
Attentive nurse practitioner with three years of experience effectively diagnosing patient illness and managing treatment.

As shown above, an objective statement will state what you hope to achieve while a summary statement will highlight your current accomplishments.

Resume Summary vs. Objective
Image description

Resume summary vs. objective:
A resume summary is a short description of your qualifications that explain why you're a good fit for the role.

A resume objective is a brief statement that communicates your career goals, such as the type of job or industry you want to work in.

How to write a resume summary

Creating an effective resume summary is easiest once you’ve taken some time to reflect on your relevant skills and accomplishments and how they relate to the role. Here are three simple steps to develop your summary statement:

  1. Consider and record your most important experiences and skills. This can include (but is not limited to) items like certifications, soft skills, technical skills, awards or other achievements.

  2. Carefully review job descriptions. for positions you’re interested in applying for and take note of the requirements that overlap with your own qualifications.

  3. Put together a one to two sentence summary that briefly showcases those skills. Your statement should start with a key adjective for yourself, use the active voice and include key action words to describe your experience.

For example, your resume summary might state:

Creative graphic artist with five years of experience working with top brands using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and other Adobe Suite software.

Here, the candidate describes themselves as “creative,” then goes on to state their years of experience and relevant technical skills.

Resume summary examples

Here are a few additional resume summary examples with different types of experience and qualifications. Use these as inspiration as you write your own summary statement:

Business resume summary examples

  • Energetic community outreach manager experienced in creating and completing outreach programs in urban communities.

  • Well-spoken property manager with three years of supervisory experience and Certified Property Manager credentials.

  • Organized dental office associate with seven years of experience maintaining effective client schedules, billing policies, and office workflows.

  • Customer-oriented full sales cycle SMB Account Executive with 3+ years of experience maximizing sales, crushing quotas, and building trusted, loyal relationships with high-profile clients.

  • Well qualified Consultant with 3+ years of experience assisting in delivering innovative solutions to the Sales Manager to maintain existing customer relationships as well as ideas for working with prospective customers. Possesses superior customer communication skills between business and technical teams to meet workforce development needs.

  • Highly trained Office Manager with 3+ years experience responsible for the overall daily operations of an office environment that includes staff management, development and customer service.

  • Qualified warehouse manager with 15 years of experience in planning, coordinating and managing the shipping and receiving functions of an entire warehouse in a fast-paced, large-volume manufacturing environment.

  • Operations analyst with more than three years of experience in order processing, business management and computer services who worked closely with the business team and monitored the accuracy of business process ordering from implementation to execution.

Customer services resume summary examples

  • Customer service professional committed to balancing company goals while helping all customers find satisfactory solutions.

  • Resourceful problem solver who is adept at remaining calm in stressful situations and effectively assisting a variety of customers.

  • Friendly and detailed Hair Stylist with 3+ years of experience delighting clients with consistent, beautiful results. Listens attentively to specific requests, drives salon sales and forges strong relationships.

  • Vigilant Security Guard with 3+ years of experience ensuring public and property safety by closely monitoring all activities and proactively addressing security breaches while exemplifying professionalism and integrity.

  • Skilled Construction Project Manager with 3 years of experience developing thorough plans and efficient strategies to accomplish large-scale projects.

  • Organized and artistic Cosmetologist with 3+ years of experience offering unique, personalized experiences. Thrives on creating beautiful hairstyles, increasing profits with carefully implemented strategies, and bringing joy to guests.

  • Client-focused Massage Therapist with 3+ years of experience providing relaxing and rehabilitating massage services that combine various techniques and products. Anticipates clients' needs to create a welcoming environment.

  • Shuttle service professional with 15 years of experience in public and private environments. Expert knowledge of safety protocols and driving techniques. Seeks areas to develop new shuttle service training programs and make improvements to existing routes.

Education resume summary examples

  • Self-motivated university graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and critical experience in learning technology.

  • Compassionate and organized Caregiver with 3+ years of experience in providing expert care to both English and Spanish-speaking children aged 0-5. Experienced in working with special needs children and maintaining their emotional comfort and safety.

  • Imaginative, patient Special Education Teacher with 3+ years of experience focusing on meeting IEP (Individualized Education Program) goal requirements for students with special educational, behavioral and mental health needs.

  • Dedicated Tutor with 3+ years of experience improving student grades by focusing on total comprehension with targeted lessons in a variety of subject areas. Quickly identifies individual student learning styles to tailor exercises to their needs.

  • Motivated Teaching Assistant with 3+ years of experience promoting collaboration with the lead teacher to support student educational needs.

  • Conscientious Counselor with 3+ years of experience staying attentive to the needs of children, students, and parents, while ensuring a welcoming, trusting environment. Enjoys creating customized plans and programs to spur educational and emotional growth.

Foodservice resume summary examples

  • Customer-oriented, friendly Barista with 3+ years of experience serving high-quality espresso and brewed coffee in a fast-paced coffee shop environment. Passionate about providing customers with the perfect café experience.

  • Motivated and inspired Cook with 15+ years of experience in high volume casual and fine-dining restaurants. Dedicated to increasing kitchen efficiencies and delighting customers while continually striving to improve culinary expertise.

  • Punctual Delivery Driver with 3+ years of experience meeting strict deadlines in fast-paced environments while focusing on increasing productivity to drive brand loyalty.

  • Prep Cook with fifteen years of experience in food handling. Expert at slicing, keeping inventory stocked and ensuring the cleanliness of kitchen counters and utensils.

  • Adaptable Hostess with 3+ years of experience upholding excellent customer service standards across lunch and dinner service. Organizes seating and reservations with care to improve workflow.

  • Organized and friendly Restaurant Team Member with excellent organizational skills and three years of experience in customer service, sales, inventory, stocking, cleaning and maintaining store compliance.

Marketing resume summary examples

  • Efficient, thoughtful content writer with dozens of bylined works published in major print and online periodicals.

  • Data-driven Digital Marketing Specialist with 3+ years of experience specializing in inbound marketing. Drives traffic and boosts audience engagement with dynamic marketing strategies and campaigns.

  • Dynamic, tech-savvy Marketing Coordinator with 15+ years of experience building strong social media fan bases from scratch, collaborating cross-functionally to achieve business goals and developing B2B and B2C print/digital marketing collateral.

  • Social media specialist with detailed knowledge of Google Analytics, online marketing and social media analytics. Over 3 years of experience in web marketing, PPC, and SEO, adept at researching relevant industry and market developments.

  • A producer with more than three years in the production industry with experience managing a complete project cycle, including post-production maintenance of all domestic and international marketing while acting as a liaison between the web production group and the web-marketing managers.

  • Intuitive and dedicated Real Estate Agent with 15+ years of experience matching clients with properties that suit all their needs and streamlining the negotiation and closing process through effective communication.

  • Experienced, persistent Telemarketer with 15+ years of experience influencing customer buying decisions, establishing trusting working relationships and processing and verifying customer information.

Retail resume summary examples

  • Experienced Assistant Store Manager with strong leadership, problem-solving, time-management and organizational skills that have been honed and expanded in a large customer focused retail environment.

  • Highly organized and innovative Buyer with 15+ years of experience identifying opportunities for improved inventory management and reducing purchase budgets to increase revenue. Passionate about customer service and delivering superior products in a timely manner.

  • Organized and intuitive Merchandiser with 3+ years of experience boostings sales and foot traffic by strategically organizing products based on price, popularity and style.

  • Efficient and energetic Retail Manager with 15+ years of experience driving increased customer traffic and sales by creating a friendly shopping environment. Effectively instills customer service skills in all employees with comprehensive training and rewards programs.

  • Responsible, dedicated Stock Associate with more than three years of experience processing store shipments, organizing the stock room and labeling and scanning merchandise.

  • Hardworking Cashier with 3 years of experience providing quick and efficient service to customers, accompanied by a proven track record of professionalism and maintaining a welcoming environment.

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