How to Write a Professional Summary on Your Resume

how to write a compelling professional summary on your resume

The age of the RESUME OBJECTIVE has died. Never, ever include an objective on your resume. They are a waste of space. Additionally, OBJECTIVES don’t relay any information that markets you as the best candidate for an open position.

Here’s what a resume objective looks like:

The best use of resume space is to write a summary of your career. Let’s learn how to write a compelling professional summary on your resume that will get you one step closer to winning an interview.

What is in a professional summary?

A good career summary paragraph will be between 3 and 5 sentences. It will talk about your experience and have a good mix of hard and soft skills that mirror the job description. You should also include at least 1 accomplishment.

Hard skills

Hard skills are things you know how to do because of education and experience. They can be measured and are imperative to job success. Some examples of HARD SKILLS include:

  • Computer skills – CRM platforms, enterprise systems, database management, research, programming, and troubleshooting
  • Project & Management skills – strategic planning, business intelligence, budgeting, hiring, finance, logistics, and business development
  • Agile methodologies – lean management, Six Sigma, negotiation, SCRUM, and planning
  • Marketing – research, forecasting, social media, PPC, SEO, SEM, analytics, consumer trends, and competitor trends
  • Design skills – Photoshop, UX/UI, data visualization, research, InDesign, Illustrator, and typography

Soft skills

Soft skills are personality characteristics that you possess that make you good at your job. It’s easy to demonstrate them but more difficult to actually measure/quantify them. They aren’t even a requirement for most jobs but having them makes life easier. The great thing about soft skills, you already have them. It doesn’t matter if you worked as a cashier at the grocery store in high school and now you’re the CEO of a company. Your soft skills have been and will always be a part of you. Some examples of SOFT SKILLS include:

  • Communication skills – listening, negotiating, presenting, public speaking, and writing
  • Adaptability – cooperation, energy, enthusiasm, patience, creativity, observation, and a willingness to learn
  • Problem-solving – critical thinking, research, troubleshooting, big picture thinking, and informed decision-making
  • Leadership – task delegation, mentoring, coaching, inspiring others, conflict resolution, and performance review/analysis
  • Teamwork – diversity, inclusion, emotional intelligence, collaboration, networking, and social skills

Putting it all together for a great summary

As you write your summary, start with the role you’re targeting along with how much experience you have. For people who are worried about ageism, the recommendation is to ditch the actual number of years of experience and use wording like, “…extensive experience…”

The effectiveness of this summary comes from the fusing of relevant keywords (e.g., customer retention, revenue growth, quotas), hard & soft skills (e.g., overcoming objections, work independently), and the articulation of an achievement. Overall, the layout is simple and very easy to read.