How to Write an Effective Career Summary

Purpose of a Career Summary

A career summary should:

  • describe who you are at this moment in time
  • highlight accomplishments the reader will find in greater detail in the experience section of your resume
  • show skills you posses (key here: show instead of tell)

In essence, it shows the value you can offer your next employer.

Tailor Your Career Summary

Write a few details relating to any job in your field and then add specific details for a specific job.

To do this well, read the company’s mission statement, then show how you align with that mission statement

If you would rather learn how to write the career summary through watching a video tutorial, check out my YouTube tutorial on this topic. 

How to Write an Effective Career Summary

Answer some of these questions:

 

• Why should the employer care about you?
• Who are you as a person and as an employee?
• What is your value to the company?
• What is your current position and main focus?
• How can you show your enthusiasm and love for what you do?
• What are the main things you have accomplished throughout your career?

 

Dissecting example career summaries

 

1. New to the Work Force Example: I wrote this for a client who just graduated college

 

Currently, an electrical design intern with a passion for digital logic based circuits. Developed home projects (example: Jarvis-like system) using Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms. Began development on a haptic feedback suit for virtual-reality experiences. Innovative, creative, and highly motivated to create efficient solutions that raise the standard of living and solve problems.

 

  • 1st Sentence: Answers what is your current position and main focus.
    • If you have a position related to your field, you will want to answer this question, at least the first half.
    • If your field has various avenues, you will want to answer the second half of this question.
    • Here he clearly stated he liked digital logic based circuits. There are several different avenues for an electrical engineer, so this clarifies exactly what area he wants to pursue.
  • 2nd and 3rd Sentence: Answers how can you show your enthusiasm and love for what you do.
    • Being new to the field, this question is the most important one.
    • Prospective employers want to hire people who are passionate about the job. You may not have a lot of experience, but if you enjoy it, they know they can work with you.
    • He showed his passion by explaining he works on projects for fun on his own time.
  • 4th Sentence: Answers who are you as a person and as an employee.
    • When you are new to the field, you don’t have a lot of experience showing your expertise, but you can show how you will make a valuable employee. So this is a great question to answer.

 

2. Seasoned Professional Example: My Resume

 

• Accomplished, experienced teacher, named best English teacher former principal has ever seen
• Affected student performance by pushing students to think more critically and analytically rather than surface level
• Led writing instruction, challenging other teachers to raise the standards.
• Broke down writing instruction into smaller skill sets, leading to students writing polished, astute college-ready essays
• Motivated honors students to apply themselves and improve their skill set rather than accepting “good enough” work
• Trained in Avid strategies*
• Keep up-to-date with continual professional development classes, books, and workshops

 

*Reading the mission statement came in handy here. This school’s statement discussed using Avid strategies to help students become college-ready, so I adjusted my profile to match that.

 

  • 1st Bullet: Answers what are your job qualifications and why should the employer care about you.
    • I was valued by a previous employer, which can lead to a prospective employer valuing me. Additionally, I stated my qualifications.
  • 2nd -4th Bullet: Answers what are the main things you accomplished throughout your career.
    • As a seasoned professional, you will want to answer this question.
    • Pick the ones that show your main achievements.
    • I put in the main things I achieved throughout my career. Further down in my resume, I got specific on how I helped them think more critically.
  • 5th Bullet: Answers who you are as an employee.
    • I let prospective employers know right away what type of teacher I am.
  • 6th Bullet: Answers what are your job qualifications.
    • I answered this in the first bullet too, but I listed another important job qualification.
  • 7th Bullet: Answers how you can show your love and passion for your field.
    • This shows I care about being an effective, quality teacher, and it isn’t just a pay check for me.

 

3. Switching to New Field Example: I wrote this for a client who worked as an IT consultant but wanted to enter the nursing field

 

• Earned my BSN, scoring in the top 3% on the final exam
• Received Best Customer Service Award for my friendly, open nature with clients
• Attentive to details—often caught errors in code that others missed
• Enjoy working in a team both as a leader and as a team member
• Took psychology and communication courses to learn how to better communicate with future patients
• Volunteered at nursing homes from 2005-2016

 

  • 1st Bullet: Answers what are your job qualifications.
    • If you are switching to a new field, you need to show you are qualified.
    • You may not have certification and training like this guy did, but you will meet the qualifications in some way, so state that.
  • 2nd Bullet: Answers what have you accomplished in your career that is transferable.
    • Think of your accomplishments in your current field and state transferable ones.
    • As an IT guy, his clients recognized that he was friendly and personable—great qualities to have as a nurse.
  • 3rd and 4th Bullet: Answers who are you as an employee.
    • Again you want to think of this in terms of transferable skills.
    • The fact that he enjoys working in a team and is detail-oriented is important as a nurse. He is a detail-oriented, team player type of employee.
    • Instead of just stating that, he proves he is detail-oriented. While a nurse won’t need to spot errors in code, they will need to pay attention to details.
  • 5th and 6th Bullet: Answers how can you show passion for what you do.
    • If you do not have much experience in the field, you want to show you are passionate.
    • Prospective employers know they can teach someone skills, but they can’t teach them passion.
    • This guy showed he was proactive in taking courses unrelated to his IT field because he cares about communicating well with others. He also volunteered as a nursing home in his spare time, showing he does enjoy hospice work.

How to Format It

Paragraph:

Accomplished executive with a proven ability to develop and implement real estate strategies that support business and financial objectives. Have led key initiatives that reduced operating budget by $32 million and contributed to 550 percent stock increase. Recognized as an expert in applying financial concepts to asset management decisions.

Respected leader, able to build highly motivated management teams focused on achieving revenue goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development (earned an MBA in finance/real estate and master of corporate real estate designation)

Source: Singh, Parul. Handbook of Writing Effective Resume for Job Applications. New Dehli: Excel Books, 2007. Accessed December 2017. https://books.google.com/books?id=gOaLRHRS_DkC&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false.

 

Bulleted list:

  • Over 15 years of marketing experience leading, directing, negotiating, and overseeing agencies and internal creative departments.
  • Marketing Executive with progressive experience in branding, digital marketing, interactive strategy, and communications.
  • Started my own marketing firm working as a consultant for various companies to help build their unique brand through analyzing their consumers and competitors.
  • Took new start-ups from the ground up building their brand visuals and voice, ensuring consistency across all mediums.
  • A highly organized self-starter with a passion for digital trends, innovation, and working in a fast paced, team-oriented environment.

 

Title and paragraph:

Corporate Real Estate Executive
Increasing Bottom-Line Profitability Through Real Estate Strategies

Accomplished executive with a proven ability to develop and implement real estate strategies that support business and financial objectives. Have led key initiatives that reduced operating budget by $32 million and contributed to 550 percent stock increase. Recognized as an expert in applying financial concepts to asset management decisions.

Respected leader, able to build highly motivated management teams focused on achieving revenue goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development (earned an MBA in finance/real estate and master of corporate real estate designation).

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