This is day three of a week long blog series that provides tips on how to develop each section of your resume. Previously, the focus was on the heading and objective. Today will focus on the summary. This series is to help prepare for the kick-off of our “Getting People to Work” series. As part of this project we will focus our efforts to bring together community resources, provide workshops in our offices and in our communities and plan hiring events in targeted geographic locations. We hope that you find this series helpful and that you will join us at one or more of our events!
The resume summary can be formatted in a couple of ways. Whichever format you decide to use, summarize accomplishments that pertain to the job you’re seeking. You can also choose not to write a summary after an objective and continue on with your work history. If you prefer to write a summary, here are a few tips.
Format & Wording
You can format your summary two ways: a short paragraph or a list of bulleted statements.
When writing in either format, it’s not necessary to use personal pronouns – I, me, my, mine, we, us.
Also, avoid words like “responsibility(ies)” and “duty(ies)”. Instead, begin sentences with action verbs so that readers can visualize what you’ve done. If you notice that you’re using the same action verbs over and over again, search for action verbs for your job title or skills.
Quantify your accomplishments whenever you can.
In addition, omit the following words if sentences still read well without them: a, an, the, all. In a resume, you want the most important words and phrases to stand out so that the reader can find these items quickly. You may have heard that resumes are initially scanned in a matter of seconds or a few minutes. Omitting as many a, an, the, and all’s can help the reader scan for the important information.
Paragraph Summary Example
Here’s a summary in paragraph form for a Receptionist position that requires answering a multi-line phone system and excellent computer skills:
Experienced Receptionist. Answered multi-line phone system with up to 12 lines of over 50 calls per day without any customer complaints. Known for friendly and pleasant voice and personality. Excellent computer skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint; company-based programs.
Notice how personal pronouns are omitted. The second sentence begins with an action verb and things are quantified – 12 lines; over 50 calls per day.
Bulleted List Example
• Experienced Receptionist
• Answered multi-line phone system with up to 12 lines of over 50 calls per day without any customer complaints
• Known for friendly and pleasant voice and personality
• Excellent computer skills: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint; company-based programs
As you can see, the same sentences are listed and bulleted. You may have also spotted that the periods at the end of the sentences are gone. Technically, bulleted statements are incomplete sentences, and therefore periods are not necessary. However, in resume writing, you can either use periods or leave them out. Whatever you choose, be consistent throughout the entire resume when listing in bulleted form.
Check back in tomorrow for part four in this series: Work History.
Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. After serving in the military, Josie utilized Workforce Solutions’ services. Her desire to help people led to an employment counselor position with Workforce Solutions, which she held for four years, until she found her niche as a Regional Facilitator.