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Career Resources

What Your Summary Statement Needs to Do

Posted February 26, 2015 & filed under Resume

What Your Summary Statement Needs to Do

Good resumes have a central feature in common: their words and layout capture an employer’s attention like runway lights leading a pilot to land.

To do that, job seekers need to provide a clear, straightforward explanation of who they are and who they will be as employees. Summary statements do that best.

Objective Statements vs. Summary Statements

Once, the objective statement was a resume staple. It told hiring managers what type of job you wanted based on your skills. There was some explanation of your career, however, it always seemed a little bit self-centered. Plus, it was redundant often and pigeonholed candidates in specific careers.

Summary statements replaced that space with something of substance. The whole purpose of a summary statement is to give a smart and quick sales pitch. Employers will always go for a value proposition over a list of demands.

What Makes a Good Summary Statement?

Since there is precious little time a hiring manager or recruiter is going to spend with your resume, the summary statement needs to be finely-tuned. There are four qualities that separate you from the competition.

A Short Length – Concise statements are better at keeping audiences captive. That’s why your summary statement should be no longer than 1-3 sentences long.

Compelling Keywords & Numerical Values – What keeps plenty of summary statements from making a splash is their lack of mouth-watering details. Your years of experience and industry expertise aren’t enough. This is where keywords and quantifiable results are best used. Which of the following is more compelling?

“Automation engineer with 12 years of experience with automotive manufacturing and automation apparatuses.”


“Automation engineer who integrated PLCLogix solutions in the daily operations of a direct supplier to Big 3 automotive manufacturers, saving the company $100,000 in the process.”

It gives quick, justifiable reasons why you’re a market commodity.

Unique to the Job – No one summary statement fits every employer. Each different one needs to present you in a way that’s appealing to the business’ specific industry, vision, and corporate culture. Anything else will land in foul ball territory.

Tells an Engaging Story – More than just stating your best achievements, a strong summary statement needs to offer your personal brand on a silver platter. It should present your milestones and show that you are focused on the future, continuing your story in this company’s halls.

In the end, a summary statement creates a clear message that is easy to digest. Whether employers read it first or last, they’ll see that your resume is cohesive from start to finish. And that’ll make it seem all the more essential for them schedule your interview ASAP.

by James Walsh