How to Write a Resume Summary Statement

As the first thing an employer reads, your summary statement is one of the most important items on your resume as it can be the deciding factor on whether or not it gets sent to die in the recycling bin – but no pressure right? Right! Just by being smart enough to seek out this article shows that you’re well on your way to resume success as many candidates stick to the classic (but no longer relevant) objective statement or go directly to listing experience.

“As hiring managers receive more and more applicants for fewer positions, it’s more important than ever to capture their interest within the first five seconds of reading your resume. The space at the very top of the page is crucial, so put your best foot forward with a dynamic executive summary.” said Allison VanNest, Head of Communications for Parsely Inc. 

With these 7 tips, you’ll have the tools to craft an executive resume summary statement that grabs the employer’s attention and entices them to read on.

Imagine you’re in an elevator…
If you and the employer were in an elevator and they asked ‘why should I hire you?’ between the lobby and level 2, what would you say? Use that scenario as a jumping off point to write your summary. How can you communicate why you’re the best for the job before the doors shut on the opportunity? Creating an elevator pitch is also a great skill to bring into your next job – you could use it to quickly pitch a client or introduce yourself at a networking event.

…on your way to a party
Okay, so writing a summary statement isn’t exactly the party of the year but as Mike Simpson, Co-Founder of, puts it; “Think of a resume summary statement as a good friend at a party. They want to introduce you to the hiring manager in such a way that the manager wants to talk to you!”

If you’re not much of a partier, try thinking of it in another metaphorical way – your summary statement is your bait. It must be enticing enough for the employer to grab the hook so that you can reel in a job interview.

Be concise., noun, a brief statement of the main points of something.

By definition, your summary needs to be short. Your resume is valuable land and you need to have space to list everything else fabulous about you including your work experience, education, volunteer work, etc. Your summary statement shouldn’t take up more than 3-6 lines of your resume, and although bullet points are often rewarded for their ability to keep information concise, avoid using them in your summary as they simply take up too much real estate.

As Jerome Young, Founder of Attract Jobs NOW Recruiting said – “The summary is one of the most important factors in determining whether a recruiter will call you for an interview. It needs to be compelling and concise.” 

Be relevant
You may be the best salesperson ever with a PHD in engineering, a pilot’s license, a blackbelt in karate and voted ‘best smile’ in your high school yearbook – but how is that a benefit to the position of ‘Head Copywriter for Big Makeup Brand’?

It may be tempting to blurt out everything that is amazing about you in your summary, but it’s of no value to the employer if it’s not relevant to the actual job. Summarize the experience, education, and skills that you bring to the table that match the position specifically. Your summary is not the place to put it all on the table, and remember – you can expand on your summary in the rest of your resume. 

Back it up
What you include in your summary must be backed up by the content of your resume. There is no point in selling something in your summary that you can’t deliver on in your resume (and not to mention in the interview, on the job, etc.!). Your summary has to reflect your professional experience honestly. If not, the employer will be quick to figure it out, in fact, 51% of employers said they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume, so don’t waste your time or their time fibbing. The proof is in the pudding…er…resume.

Cut the cliches
Anyone can say they’re a ‘team-player’ or a ‘go-getter and even if you are both of those things, that doesn’t set you apart from the heard of applicants who make the same claims. Do not use over-worked cliches in your summary. The more an employer sees ‘highly motivated’ the more it loses its weight. Instead, focus on what is unique about your application using quantifiable information such as years and percentages to show your specific achievements.

Tailor your summary
We know that writing even one resume summary may be an intimidating task, but if you really want the job, you really have to spend time on your application. Do not create a ‘one-size fits all’ summary and call it a day. Part of having your resume stand out is showing the employer you took the time to dissect the job description and that you’ve thoughtfully reflected on your own talents to customize your application. No two jobs are exactly alike, the same goes for your summary statement.

An executive resume summary statement is just that – a statement – about who you are and why you believe you are the best person for the job at hand. Not only is it a considerate tool for the employer, saving them time and providing them with valuable information, but it can also help you reflect on your best qualities in relation to the role.

Start working on your resume summary statement now and begin creating your resume using our free resume builder!