How Long Should A Resume Summary Be
As you read the resume summaries above, you probably noticed there are some short single-paragraph resume summary examples and much longer career summaries that are two to three paragraphs plus bullet points.
So how long should YOUR professional summary be?
If you have relevant work experience, keep your summary to one or two paragraphs. The piece you really want the hiring manager reading is your most recent work experience .
The resume summary is just a bridge to get the hiring manager into your experience.
If I were writing my own career summary right now, Id likely use one single paragraph packed with skills, accomplishments, and exactly why Im ready to step into the job Ive applied for and be successful!
Even for a manager resume summary, I recommend a very short length.
However, if youre changing careers, or youre looking for jobs without any work experience, the summary section needs to stand on its own, and should be longer. Thats why some examples above are a bit longer.
The Skills Section: Competencies And Superpowers
The skills section is your professional feature list, your superpowers, your abilities.;
This is where you pass your first competence test. This part is more pragmatic than the Summary, because recruiters and automated systems will be appraising your skills based on a certain checklist.;
Moreover, there are certain hard skills that are absolutely necessary for a position. So heres two important pieces of advice: prioritize what you include and analyze the job description!
Space is finite and you may have many skills. Make sure the ones you describe are the ones that fit the job listing.
Even the most seasoned professionals often confuse Hard and Soft skills, as in certain job areas, the line can be blurry. The rule of thumb is that Soft skills mostly relate to interpersonal interactions, emotional intelligence, organization and leadership.
Hard skills are pragmatic competencies that are often requirements for getting a certain dream job. For example, a certain programming language in a developer position. Or using a certain type of software for an office administrator job. They relate to your everyday duties in terms of pragmatic actions.
Need more input on how to write an amazing skills section? Heres our specific guide on describing Skills!
How To Pick The Right Resume Format
There are three types of resume formats: reverse chronological, functional or skills-based, and a combination of the two. The choice depends on the type of job you are applying for and your level of experience.
The 3 resume formats are:
1) Reverse chronological resume format – This is the most popular resume format and is ideal for people with plenty of work experience that is relevant to the position theyre interested in.
2) Functional/skills-based resume format If you lack relevant work experience because you are a student/recent graduate, or you are looking to make a career change, the skills-based format is a better choice.
3) Combination resume format The combination resume is a great choice for job-seekers with a very diverse skill-set. Its useful if youre applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields, and you want to show all that in your resume. Say, for example, youre applying for a senior management role, and the requirements are expertise in Management, Sales, and Software Development.
So, which one do you go for?
In 90%+ cases, youd want to stick to the reverse-chronological resume format. This is the most common one, and most HR managers are used to this. Hence, in this guide, were going to focus on this specific format.
If youre a recent graduate, or possess a diverse set of skills & work experience, you might want to pick one of the other 2 formats. Check out our guide to resume formats to learn how to write either.
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What Is The Best Resume Layout
The first thing a job recruiter notices about any resume is the layout.;
Does it look organized or cluttered? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring and easy to ignore, or does it scream out Read me!?
Here are some of the best practices when it comes to your resume layout:
Resume Layout Must-Haves
1. One page in length. You should only go for 2 pages if you really, really believe that itll add significant value. HR managers in big firms get around 1,000+ resumes per month. Theyre not going to spend their valuable time reading your life story!
2. Clear section headings. Pick a heading and use it for all the section headers.
3. Ample white-space, especially around the margins.
4. Easy-to-read font. Wed recommend sticking to what stands out, but not too much. Do: Ubuntu, Roboto, Overpass, etc. Dont : Comic Sans
5. Pick the right font size. As a rule of thumb, go for 11 – 12 pt for normal text, and 14 – 16 pt for section titles.
6. As a rule of thumb, save your resume as PDF. Word is a popular alternative, but it has a good chance of messing up your resume formatting.
One more thing you need to consider in terms of resume layout is whether youre going for a traditional-looking free resume template or something a bit more modern:
What Are Some Examples Of A Good Resume
Heres the thing: Your resume wont ever look exactly like someone elses, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job youre applying for, the company that job is at, and more.
So there isnt a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.
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Do Use The Right Format
There are three basic resume formats: Chronological, Functional, and Combination. Pick the right format given your skills, work history, and job requirements.
- Chronological resumes list jobs in order, starting with the most recent job you held and working backwards. This format emphasizes work history and longevity.
- Functional resumes group accomplishments under specific areas of skills and abilities. Functional resumes focus on skills rather than lengths of employment. Career change positions and employment gaps do not stand out.
- Combination resumes are a hybrid of both the chronological and functional resumes. Combination resumes can feature your history as well as your skills.
If you have large gaps in your work history, have been employed in a number of jobs for a short time, are a new graduate student, or are changing careers: a functional or a combination resume may be the most effective format for your resume.
Ill post further information on resume formats and who should use each type later in this series. I may even have a sample resume or template for download.
How To Structure Your Resume
No two resumes will look exactly alike , but generally, resumes should have the following sections.
Header & Contact Info:;At the top of your resume, always include a header containing your name. Your contact info should be close by as well. After all, you dont want there to be any confusion over who the resume belongs to, or make it difficult for recruiters or hiring managers to reach out to you. However, you may want to avoid putting your contact info in the header or footer of the document itself the headers and footers can sometimes be overlooked by the software that scans your resume.
Professional Summary:;The professional summary is a brief, one- to three-sentence section featured prominently on your resume that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why youre perfect for the job. In contrast with the largely out-of-date objective statement a line that describes the type of career opportunity youre looking for professional summaries arent about what you want. Instead, theyre focused on the value you could bring to a potential employer. Its worth noting that a professional summary isnt an absolute must-have if your resume is missing one, it probably wont be a dealbreaker but it can be a nice way to give time-pressed recruiters and hiring managers a quick, high-level overview of why youre the right person for the job.
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Consider Including Volunteer Work Or Other Experience
Anything youve done thats not work experienceyour side gig, volunteer work, special projectscan be hosted under clearly-labeled sections . Depending on how robust your work experience is, these things may be worth including, particularly if theyve helped you level up your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look that much more well-rounded, passionate, and hardworking.
If youre a recent grad, you might also build out a section for on-campus activities, such as clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great supplement if youre lacking in the jobs department. You can frame these just as you would professional jobsincluding your title, the organizations name, and bullets describing what your role was and what you accomplished.
Open With A Strong Resume Introduction
One of the best ways to get employers to read your resume is by starting it off with a convincing resume summary.
A resume summary acts as a highlight reel for your resume. In a few sentences it provides a quick overview of your relevant qualifications, goals, and most valuable skills.
Heres an example of a great resume summary on a chronological resume:
Administrative Assistant with 2+ years of experience preparing flawless presentations, assembling facility reports, and maintaining the utmost confidentiality. Possesses a B.A. in History and expertise in Microsoft Excel. Looking to leverage my knowledge and experience into a role as Project Manager.
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Design & Formatting Tips
The subject matter of your resume is ultimately what recruiters care about most. However, that doesnt mean you should slack off when it comes to design and formatting. A cluttered, visually confusing resume makes it more difficult to read, and therefore more likely that recruiters and hiring managers will cast it aside. On the other hand, a sleek, polished resume will have the opposite effect. Use these rules of thumb to ensure that your resume looks its best.
- Use an easy-to-read font of no less than 11 pt.
- Add margins of at least .7 inches.
- Make sure theres sufficient white space between sections.
- Dont go overboard with intricate design or decoration touches of color are fine, but avoid any clashing or visually busy details.
- If youre going to print out copies of your resume, invest in good paper and use a high-quality printer.
- Dont save your resume as a PDF unless the application specifically says it accepts PDF files. Some applicant tracking systems scan PDFs as if they were one big image, which fails to capture your information.
- Keep your resume to 1-2 pages max, unless youre in a field like academia or medicine and must cite papers and publications.
Whats A Resume Summary & When To Use It
A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. You should use a resume summary in basically any situation, unless youre a recent university graduate or switching careers .
In your resume summary, you need to mention:
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Human Resources Generalist Resume Summary Example:
Human Resources Generalist with progressive experience managing employee benefits & compliance, employee hiring & onboarding, performance management processes, licensure tracking and HR records. Dependable and organized team player with the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. Skilled at building relationships with employees across all levels of an organization. Proficient with HRIS, applicant tracking and benefits management.
Why;this is a good resume summary:
The applicant highlights their experience across a wide range of HR functions from the very first sentence, and continues this pattern throughout the rest of the summary. They then use easily digestible langue to showcase their hard skills and soft skills . They also integrate a variety of keywords to get past automated job application systems, without sounding spammy or without over-doing it.
By: Kyle Elliott, MPA/CHES,;Career Coach and Consultant
Use The Right Language To Stand Out
Trite, lackluster descriptions of your job duties and accomplishments won’t do you any favors. Make sure you’re using strong action words like “achieved,””designed,””improved”;and “established”;to describe your roles and projects, said Sade. This, he said, will make you sound confident while imparting vital information. But be cautious about depending on action verbs make sure to include details about how you improved a process or achieved a goal.;
“Words such as ‘professional,”results-driven’ and ‘detail-oriented’ provide very little helpful information,” Sade said. “It’s better to use actual job titles than these words.”
Diya Obeid, founder and CEO of applicant tracking software company JobDiva, also said that you should remove buzzwords like “go-getter,””team player” and “go-to person” from your resume. These come off as fluff and only take up precious space on your resume.
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Resume Summary Or Objective
Its not a secret for anyone that first impressions matter, whether theyre in your personal life, or your career.
If you leave a bad first impression, chances are, its there to stay. After all, its very hard to change someones opinion of you.
The same applies to your job search – the HR manager spends around 6 seconds scanning each resume. Yep, your carefully-worded, hand-crafted resume only gets 6 seconds of attention. Unless, of course, you manage to leave an amazing first impression.
The way you accomplish this is through either a good resume summary or objective. Both are placed at the top of your resume, right around the contact information section:
So, heres what you need to know about the two:
Step : List Your Contact Information And Write An Introduction
Apply a unique heading with your name and contact information. Usually, this includes your name, phone number, email, and any relevant online links.
Next, you will write an introduction. This may be called a resume objective, summary statement, or qualifications summary depending on the resume format you choose. Remember, the best intros are ones that grab the attention of a potential employer.
Top tip: Forbes magazine estimates that it is vital to demonstrate your worth in the first 15 20 seconds of its reading to get results. This means that the top third of your resume must be the most intriguing.
Catch the readers eye by demonstrating why YOU are the perfect fit for the role and the company in 4-6 sentences. If the reader likes what they read, theyll continue on to the rest of your document.
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Why Linkedin Isn’t Working Anymore
LinkedIn is not actually dyingit’s just changing. The old LinkedIn is dead, but the platform is still very much alive; it’s important for every professional to have a LinkedIn profile in order to market their skills to employers, grow their professional network, and build their personal brand. But, professionals can no longer rely solely on the platform for everything they need in their career.
The way people use LinkedIn has changed dramatically. You cannot do what you used to be able to do on the platform. When LinkedIn first started out, it was a social network. The early adopters loved the platform, and used it to its fullest potential. People would connect. They would start conversations. Being on LinkedIn was this amazing experience where people were developing relationships with people they never would have developed relationships with otherwise. It truly was a social network.
But, that’s when it was small.
Now, with mass adoption, the power of LinkedIn as a social network has lost its luster. The majority of people on LinkedIn are not using the platform to its fullest potential. It’s no longer enough to help you get a job or grow your career.
So, what’s a better alternative to LinkedIn? What platform should professionals join if they want to network, find a job, and grow their career?
Resume Summary Examples For Various Industries:
These career summary examples will help you at any experience level whether youre writing a professional summary after a long executive career, or writing your first resume summary without any experience!
After you finish this article youre NEVER going to have to;send out a limp, weak resume summary statement again .
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Decide On A Resume Format
There are a few dominant resume templates in use today: chronological, functional, and hybrid, which is a combination of the two. A chronological resume format lists a candidate’s work experience in reverse-chronological order. A functional resume format focuses on highlighting the candidate’s skills and achievements, rather than work experience. While the functional resume format can be an attractive option for job seekers with little experience, most employers prefer a chronological or hybrid resume format. Whatever resume format you decide to use, be sure that your format remains consistent throughout the job resume.