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Monday, January 16, 2006
Prime Real Estate
The purpose of a summary section of a resume is to provide in a brief amount of space, an overview of the job seeker’s special value to the employer. Coming at the top of the resume after the name header, the summary owns the prime real estate in the resume – the top half of the first page. It is what will be read the most by hiring managers in that crucial 30 seconds a resume is initially given. A great summary can compel the reader to dedicate more time to the remainder of the resume while a poor summary can result in the resume being dismissed altogether. Needless to say, it’s vital for the summary to be outstanding and be able to stand by itself without the rest of the resume to support it.

What makes a good summary? First of all, value of information takes precedence. Most self-written resumes use the summary to get out all the “soft skills” such as “team leader”, “people person”, “good communicator”, etc. That’s a terrific way to kill a resume. I call it the “blah, blah, blah” method of writing a summary. Let me give you an example:

“Highly competent, results-driven leader with extensive experience and achievements in business sales operations and management. Skilled in training and developing staff to managerial capacities. Well-developed organizational and resource management skills. Able to set and achieve objectives, administering a methodical, focused and thorough approach.”

Just from reading this summary, are you able to determine the following:

--What industry he/she is in or is targeting?
--What is this person’s specialty or exceptional value he brings to an employer?
--What level job he is qualified to perform?
--What makes him different than the other job seekers?

This summary could be attached to anyone’s resume and tells the hiring manager NOTHING about the job seeker, what kind of fit he would be in the position, or what value he brings to the company. Now, let’s rewrite this with some strategy in mind and take it line-by-line.

Sentence 1
Vice President of Sales and Marketing with track record of increasing territories and driving channel sales for Fortune 500 companies in the wireless telecom vertical. (Information provided: level, specialty, industry, and size of company with which his experience lies.)

Sentence 2
Twenty years’ experience building small- to medium-sized sales teams with emphasis on customer service and promises kept resulting in increased revenues of a minimum of 35% annually for every employer. (Information provided: years’ of experience, soft-skills of team building, and results for the employers.)

Sentence 3
Multilingual in Spanish, English and Portuguese; able to move easily in telecom markets of Central and South America to build global emerging sales operations. (Information provided: what makes the job seeker different, specific job-targeted information, potential existing network contacts in Latin America that could be advantageous to the employer.)

That’s three sentences. Each sentence conveys powerful information that makes this candidate stand out in the crowd and demonstrates the value he brings to the employer who is smart enough to snap him up. It shows the reader the soft skills rather than simply laying claim to them. It demonstrates hard skills through results. The reader of that summary will read the rest of the resume because he’s been able to make a determination of the value of the job seeker. The reader of the first summary will fall asleep before he gets to the end of the paragraph.

Remember, keep the summary short, vivid, and relevant.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 /


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