A professional summary is a section near the start of a resume that allows you to summarize your past work experience and showcase your strongest abilities. While it is most successful for people who have worked in the same line of work most of their career, it can be used by many different types of job seekers to demonstrate key qualifications, experience, and accomplishments.
This page will provide you with access to free resume templates that feature a professional summary as well as information on how to make your own resume summary. If you’d like to go straight to the resume templates, click here.
Why Use a Professional Resume Summary?
A resume summary allows you to communicate how you’re the perfect fit for the job right at the outset of your resume. Since our resumes generally are not read for more than a few seconds, we want to convey as much information as we can in the least amount of time. A professional summary helps us connect with the employer quickly and entices them to continue reading.
A professional summary will also help you organize your most valuable skills and qualifications. Knowing what your best attributes are will make it easier to find employers you know you’re a good fit for.
How to Write a Resume Summary
Your professional resume summary will probably be different for each job you apply for. That is because different employers can value different skills and qualifications. Our job in writing a professional summary is to match our best attributes with the company’s most desired qualifications.
Your summary should directly address the most pressing needs of the employer. But remember that you are only highlighting these qualifications – the rest of your resume will be the evidence you use to back up your initial claims in the resume summary.
Example Resume Summary From A Sample Job Posting
To get an idea of how to create your own professional summary, let’s work on one together using this example job posting:
Summarize the Qualifications
Let’s create a list that will help us summarize the qualifications this employer is looking for.
First – what is the bare minimum they are looking for? This one’s pretty easy since they list it explicitly: 1 year of customer service experience. With some job listings you may have to dig a little deeper to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Next, we can look for qualifications in how they describe the daily tasks. Things like problem solving and people skills, along with being a good listener. I feel that these qualifications are best detailed later in your resume, under the experience & job section. It is hard to fully describe why you are a good listener in the space of a resume summary, so try and leave them for later on in your resume.
Next, let’s look for any other qualifications that are “bonus” or would help us to stand out. We can see that bilingual (Spanish) candidates are encouraged to apply, making it a bonus skill along with experience in the transportation industry being a plus.
And although they say it’s not mandatory, having call center experience on your resume would be a huge boost to any candidate for this job.
So here’s what our list would look like after a quick look:
- 1 Year of Customer Service Experience
- Problem Solving
- People Skills
- Good Listener
- Bilingual Spanish
- Transportation Industry Experience
- Call Center Experience
Summary Includes Most Desired Skills
So for the sake of this example let’s say we meet the minimum requirement and actually have a little over 2 years of experience in customer service with one of the years being in a call center environment. So in our beginning line we want to let them know right away that we meet the minimum requirement AND and have a bonus requirement. Your first line could look something like this:
Simple and straight to the point. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be. The tough part most of the time will be figuring out how to close your summary, not how to begin.
Now let’s say we don’t have any other bonus skills. To finish, we can combine the listening skill with another point from the job listing: ordering supplies. Even if it wasn’t “supplies”, if your customer service job required you to process orders then this can be a good like-for-like comparison. Let’s try to merge these two ideas into a closing line:
Within one sentence at the beginning of your resume we have already touched on four very important skills for the job – directly taken from the job listing.
Job Listings Are Your Guide
No matter what job you are applying for, the job listing should be the first place you look to develop a strong and job-related professional summary.
Also understand what type of company you are applying for and who may have written the job listing. Is it a big company with lots of HR staff to write fancy job listings? Or was the want ad posted by the owner who took an extra moment to make sure he put everything he wanted in a candidate? When writing a professional summary it can be helpful to imagine an actual person you are writing and “talking” to.
The job listing is this person talking to you. How much you listen is up to you, and who you think you’re talking to.
Resume Summary Examples
Check out the examples below to gain some more understanding of what a professional summary can look like.
Resume Summary Examples For Customer Service Jobs
Professional Summary Resume Templates
The resumes below all include space to write your own professional summary. Take the information you’ve learned from this page and download one of our free resume templates to start work on your own resume.