What Are Resume Highlights?

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When creating a resume, you should aim to highlight your career to demonstrate why you are the right candidate for the position. Hiring managers often only glance at a resume before deciding whether an applicant should move to the next round, so you need your resume to present your qualifications quickly and effectively. This article explains how to showcase your skills and experience to make your resume stand out from the competition by including a career highlights section.

What is a resume highlights section?

A highlights section on a resume, also known as a resume summary, is an optional customized portion of a resume that lists a job candidate’s main achievements and skills. Its objective is to clearly and concisely present an employer with the key information that makes an applicant a good choice to fill the open position.

When to add a highlights section on your resume

A career highlights section is typically only included by senior or mid-level applicants. You should only include this section on your resume if you have extensive experience so a hiring manager can quickly identify your most important skills and experience without looking closely at all the information presented on your resume.

What to include in a resume highlights section

Your resume highlights section should only include the information that is most important for someone scanning your resume to know. It should be a few key pieces of information that show your qualifications which are most relevant and necessary for the position you’re applying for. The purpose of the highlights section is to demonstrate that you are the best match for the employer’s requirements.

How to write a highlights section for your resume

If you wish to include a highlights section on your resume, you can follow these steps:

1. Firstly, research the position and company

Begin preparing for your resume highlights by carefully reading the job advertisement. Take note of the keywords used in the job description as well as the required duties, experience and skills.

You should also spend time researching the company to understand further what they are looking for in a candidate for the position. Browse their website and social media accounts, and make a list of what seems to be the most important qualifications necessary to perform well in the role.

2. Secondly, choose your qualifications

After identifying what’s necessary for the position, review your education, experience, skills and accomplishments. Choose three to eight of your key qualifications that most closely align with what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Focus more on your accomplishments than what your duties were in previous roles. Each accomplishment you choose to highlight should showcase your ability to benefit the business and excel in the available position.

3. Then, decide on a format

There are several ways you can format the information in your resume highlights section. It could be a short bullet list, a paragraph or a combination of those with an introductory sentence or two and then a few bullet points. Choose a style that easily communicates your information and is visually appealing on your resume. You might want to try writing your highlights in all three formats and then deciding which one is best for you.

4. After that, include keywords and quantify your achievements

Once you know what information you want to present in your resume highlights, make sure to include keywords from the descriptions as you write them out. Using keywords helps your resume pass through Applicant Tracking Systems, which are electronic resume scanners employers sometimes use to filter out a high number of applicants.

Instead of just stating what you can do in your highlights, demonstrate your expertise and value to the company by quantifying your achievements. Include numbers wherever possible, such as stating your years of experience, the percentage by which you exceeded goals or the amount of money you saved your previous employer.

5. Finally, place this section at the top of your resume

Your finished resume highlights should be the first thing a hiring manager reads when looking at your resume. Place this section at the top of your resume, immediately underneath your contact information. Use the same font style and size as the other major sections of your resume. You can title this section ‘Career Highlights,’ ‘Qualifications,’ Career Profile,’ ‘Career Summary’ or ‘Accomplishments.’

Examples of resume highlights sections

You can consider these sample resume highlights sections to help you create your own:

Example 1: Bullet list resume highlights section for an accountant position

  • ‘Over seven years of experience in both public and private accounting
  • Reduced yearly company costs by 15% in my previous role through careful budgeting
  • Reviewed, analyzed and published quarterly reports of all internal ledgers
  • Implemented new company-wide accounting software to increase communication across departments
  • Assisted income tax division in preparing corporate and property tax documents
  • Lead auditor on annual internal audits in my last position
  • Consultant for over 20 businesses, known for preparing materials for successful audits
  • CPA license holder for over five years’

Example 2: Paragraph summary resume highlights section for a high school teaching position

‘AP English teacher for nine years in a private charter school. Students consistently scored 18% above the national average on AP exams, and mentored three students who won a national essay competition. Experience in designing, writing and implementing school-wide English curriculum and coaching student teachers. Chaired English department for four years, maintaining the budget, filing reports and fundraising for and organizing successful yearly field trips to the Shakespeare Festival. Certified AP Workshop Consultant by the College Board for two years.’

Example 3: Sentence and bullet list resume highlights section for a social media marketing manager position

‘Qualified social media marketing manager with 10+ years of marketing experience and four years in social media. Key accomplishments include:

  • Creating a successful social media marketing strategy that resulted in a 200% increase in website traffic
  • Raising online sales by 41% through the use of targeted social media campaigns
  • Setting up an online system for tracking and analyzing consumer mentions of brands
  • Implementing a reward system for social media lead conversions to create return customers
  • Organizing, directing and publishing targeted social media posts to promote brand awareness
  • Engaging with product consumers personally over multiple social media platforms to provide excellent customer service’