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“Do I need a career summary on my resume?” This is a question we hear often. The truth is, a career summary on your resume is a total game changer, but how you use it depends on whether it’s a change for the good or bad. It all comes down to one question - why are you putting the career summary on your resume? A perfectly executed career summary is made up of impactful statements that communicate truths about what kind of asset you can be for a particular company.

This one introductory paragraph alone has the power to aide a hiring manager or recruiter in making a crucial decision - to continue reading the rest of your resume, or to toss it aside and move to the next. To make sure your career summary is the powerful statement you need it to be, consider hiring a professional resume writing service to craft your entire resume document. If you choose to create your own resume, then consider the following reasons why you should include a career summary on your resume.

Optimizing Your Resume

We cover this time and time again - today’s hiring process is completely different than they one your parents were accustomed to. Employers utilized automated software systems called the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to quickly sort weaker resumes from strong ones. Hiring managers have the program search for specific keywords and experience that they feel are needed for the job. 

Having an expertly written career summary can increase your ranking from the ATS and the associated visibility of your resume by using the optimum keywords. As an example, using keywords such as ‘customer service’ when applying for an application as a Customer Service Representative will increase your odds of being located in the ATS buy the hiring managers using those exact keyword to find you!

Communicate the Message Quickly

The entire concept behind a resume is to communicate exactly who you are and how you can compliment the needs of a particular company. Having a succinct, detailed career summary targeted towards the position you are applying for gives you the opportunity to deliver that message in a condensed format right up front. Your career summary is the very first part of your resume, and should give a hiring manager enough of a glimpse to determine whether they want to read on and learn more detail about you or not!

An effective summary will communicate that message quickly, while also taking advantage of the introduction to convey exactly what strengths you have. It should be a  short paragraph with no more than three to four sentences and should avoid any exaggerations.

Line Up with the Company’s Vision

If you are hard set on achieving employment with a particular company, you should consider how you can continue to sell yourself beyond your core strengths in your career summary. One effective way to do this is to tie your strengths in with specific areas in which you can identify your ability to help the company reach it’s goals. The more closely you are able to align your skills to a demonstrable way in which you can help the company reach it’s vision, the more highly you will be valued as a candidate. In truth, most serious applicants will have the experience that they require for a particular job, so demonstrating how your experience can help them in their own terms can set you apart from the crowd.

But how can you determine the right way to align yourself with the company’s vision if you aren’t on the inside? It takes a little bit of effort, but the reward is completely worth it. Most companies will post their vision or goals on their websites in certain sections. They all have different reasons for doing so - to support causes championed but he public, to align with a particular viewpoint, or to satisfy investors. Regardless, the information is almost always available if you simply search for it. 

Additionally, using your career summary as a space to focus on other skills that may not fit nicely in other areas of your resume is an effective strategy. Sometimes there are skillsets you may posses that shouldn’t be included in your list of skills, but could be naturally woven into your career summary to express those traits. For example, if you are applying for a startup company, you may find a way to tie in strong entrepreneurial skills. 

These small yet effective strategies are all ways in which you can use the first paragraph of your resume to help you land the job. Your career summary should be written to optimize your resume, communicate your message quickly, and to line yourself up with the company’s vision. As we hinted at the beginning, using your career summary paragraph for any other purpose will most likely have the opposite effect and pose the risk of a decline to the hiring manager. 

Be intentional with every part of your resume. It’s a short document that is supposed to help secure your career and your future. Think it’s worth a little investment in yourself? We do to! That’s why USA Resume is the leading resume writing service in Houston TX. We support our clients by making sure that their career summary, along with all other parts of their resume, are optimized to get you the call for the interview. See more about what we do, and how we serve our clients, here.