Resumes

How to Write a Summary of Qualifications on a Resume

Quick Navigation:


A summary of qualifications gives your resume a personality. It tells your story in more detail and makes your resume stand out from the rest. However, they are more beneficial to those in specific situations. Learn what a summary of qualifications is, follow some steps to write your own and view a list of examples and frequently asked questions.

What is a summary of qualifications?

A summary of qualifications or qualifications profile is an optional section often placed at the top of a resume. Within a summary, you can list your achievements, skills and other qualifications and define them in a more in-depth manner. The format of a summary of qualifications uses brief statements to highlight some of your most relevant skills for your industry or field.

Why include a summary of qualifications?

Including a summary of qualifications within your resume adds a creative and personalized feeling, making it stand out. This section can generate interest for hiring managers, encouraging them to read further. Summaries are most beneficial to individuals who require an additional explanation for their job search. For example, recent graduates with little experience use this section to explain their focus on studies. Those with transferrable skills might seek a new career in a different industry and their summary explains that in detail.

How to write a summary of qualifications

1. First, collect and include quantifiable data

The first step is to collect quantifiable data that makes your resume stand out. Use percentages or other numerical measurements to explain your previous experience. Some of your options include revenue amounts you saved, time you spent in a position, budget sizes you handled or any simple percentage of increase or decrease you created for improvement. Include this information within your summary of qualifications.

2. Second, summarize your education and experience

The second step involves summarizing your education and overall experience. Introduce your degrees and discuss programs you excelled in. If you’re a recent graduate, include if you earned any recognition such as valedictorian or salutatorian. If you earned any awards throughout your college or professional career, include them as well with a brief summary of details.

3. Third, summarize your skills, licenses or certificates

The third step involves summarizing your skills, licenses, certificates or other noteworthy information. Discuss both hard and soft skills learned during college, internships or an official employment capacity. This includes anything from generic communication skills to specific industry applications and machinery. Introduce any additional training courses you graduated from and special certifications.

4. Then, include job-specific keywords

The fourth step is to include job-specific keywords. Keywords are important on any resume for pleasing applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS is a software application that handles recruitment for employers by identifying the best resumes that fit their criteria. Research the position you’re interested in and study the job posting. Identify specific keywords that come up frequently and spread them throughout your resume and your summary. Avoid keyword-stuffing and only place them as essential details to complement your own skills and qualifications.

5. Finally, personalize it

The final step is to personalize it by telling your story. Explain what makes you unique or why you’re an ideal fit for the role. If you’re switching careers, a recent graduate or need an additional explanation, be sure to introduce it thoroughly. The more creative, unique and personal you make the section, the more interesting your resume becomes for employers. Careful editing and rewording may be necessary until you add the right character for the role.

Examples of a summary of qualifications

The following list outlines examples of qualification summaries:

Example of a general summary

  • Three years of agency experience in digital marketing
  • Creative, determined, fast-paced and strategic
  • Skills in critical thinking, problem-solving
  • Specialized training in Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads and web design
  • Four-year degree in marketing with a focus on digital spaces 

Example for a career change

  • Award-winning casting manager with 10 years of experience now seeks management in human resources
  • High-performing, strategic-thinking, detail-oriented professional with expertise in identifying and recruiting talent
  • Four-year film school graduate with a minor in Psychology who effectively communicates with diverse populations
  • Excellent skills in assessing needs, generating options and implementing solutions
  • Earned certification in HR management as it pertains to the casting career field

Example for advanced experience

  • Five years of experience assisting project managers in the field
  • 15 years of experience in the construction industry
  • Advanced skills and knowledge in team building, building codes, construction laws and budget analysis
  • Four-year degree in construction engineering and certified first-aid professional
  • Earned additional certification in accounting and bookkeeping

Example for a recent graduate

  • Recent graduate with a four-year degree in graphic design
  • Creative, determined, dependable
  • Works well under pressure with tight deadlines
  • Advanced experience with Photoshop and InDesign
  • Advanced skills in storyboarding, concept art, logo design and character art

Summary of qualifications FAQ

The following list answers some of the most common questions relating to qualification summaries:

Do qualification summaries negatively impact ATS ratings?

A summary of qualifications gives you the opportunity to add more detail and personalization to your resume. Since ATS tracks specific keyword usage, using your summary as a way to express many of those keywords positively impacts ATS ratings. As mentioned previously, however, avoid keyword-stuffing as it may negatively impact your score. 

Can I omit a skills section if I include a summary of qualifications?

Only omit a skills section from your resume if you include all relevant skill information in your summary. If you cannot include or expand upon all of your skills, then keep your skills section for all information you were unable to include. 

Is there a difference between a resume objective and a summary of qualifications?

Resume objectives are often short, including no more than three sentences. They’re meant to be a very brief introduction of the candidate. A summary of qualifications allows you to add more detail and clarification, usually taking more space than the average objective section. You should identify which section has greater benefits for you and your situation but avoid including both sections on your resume.