How to Write a Professional Summary for a Resume

Here's how to create a resume introduction that's packed with your most sought-after skills, abilities, accomplishments, and attributes.

How to Write a Professional Summary for a Resume

A career summary can help make your resume stand out.

A professional summary for a resume saves busy hiring managers zillions of hours—think of it like a preview that helps them decide whether they should keep reading. Consider that a single job posting might attract thousands of resumes. Imagine having to read through all of them to pick out the best-looking candidates. Newsflash: Hiring managers don't read the entirety of every single resume that hits their desk. There's just no time.

Instead of going line by line through each resume, hiring managers will often look for the career summary, also known as a resume personal statement or resume summary, to determine whether or not you have the right stuff. What's a career summary, you ask? It's a hard-hitting introductory paragraph packed with your most sought-after skills, abilities, accomplishments, and attributes. In short, your career summary is key to getting noticed.

Take these six steps to create a winning professional summary for a resume that can put you at the top of the list.

How to Write a Professional Summary for Resume Greatness

1. Conduct Research on Your Ideal Job

The more closely you can target your resume personal statement to the employer's needs, the better your results will be. Start by searching jobs for your ideal position. Compare the ads and write a list of common job requirements and preferred qualifications.

2. Assess Your Credentials

Based on your research, how do you measure up? How would you help potential employers meet their goals? Besides the qualifications described, do you offer any added bonus? If you are lacking in one area, do you make up for it with other credentials?

If you are having a hard time assessing your skills, get help. Ask your colleagues, instructors, and supervisors what they see as your key qualifications. Review your performance evaluations. What do others say about the quality of your work? Then write a list of your top marketable credentials.

3. Relay the Value You Bring to the Table

The next step is to weave your top credentials into your summary. Keep in mind that the summary for a resume helps the hiring manager determine if you should be called for an interview. Include a synopsis of your career achievements to show that your dedication to results is transferable to your next employer. A good summary for a resume will explain how you would help solve their problems. Ask yourself, "How will the employer benefit from hiring me?"

During one of Monster's LGBTQ Pride and Work panels, Jarvis Sam, senior director of diversity recruiting, global sourcing, and talent experience at Nike, told job seekers to write a few sentences about "how your background and experience is actually aligned to the values or maximums of the company, and what receiving that role would actually mean in terms of your value add or value creation that you would provide to the company."

4. Add a Headline

A headline, or resume title, hooks your readers and compels them to continue reading. A headline should include your job target as well as the main benefit of hiring you.

5. Focus on Your Goal

The most effective summaries target one career goal. If you have more than one possible objective, consider drafting different versions. Your profile can also include a bulleted "Key Skills" section, which provides an easy-to-read listing of your core capabilities.

6. Proofread, Refine, and Perfect

First impressions are lasting impressions. Is your summary persuasive and free of errors? Is your tone appropriate for your career field? Avoid empty, generalized statements such as "excellent communication skills." 

Resume Summary Example

Here is an example of an effective career summary for a resume:

Corporate Real Estate Executive
Increasing Bottom-Line Profitability Through Real Estate Strategies

Professional Profile

Accomplished executive with a proven ability to develop and implement real estate strategies that support business and financial objectives. Have led key initiatives that reduced operating budget by $32 million and contributed to 550 percent stock increase. Recognized as an expert in applying financial concepts to asset management decisions.

Respected leader, able to build highly motivated management teams focused on achieving revenue goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development (earned an MBA in finance/real estate and master of corporate real estate designation).

Areas of Expertise

  • High-Volume, High-Dollar Negotiations
  • Strategic/Tactical Planning
  • Multimillion-Dollar Operating and Capital Budget Administration
  • Analytical and Financial Skills
  • Statistical Modeling and ROI Analyses

Resume Ready? Do This Next

Having strong, professional summary for a resume is a great start and one of the most important elements of the job search. Want to make sure your resume is doing everything possible to get a recruiter's attention and land an interview? Get a free resume assessment from Monster today. You'll learn where your resume could use some improvement before you send it out into the hiring world. It's a quick and easy way to stand out from the competition.