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The Purpose of a Resume Summary—It’s Not to Summarize!

by THEA kelley | April 1, 2021

When it comes to job search, there’s some misleading language out there. For example, a thank-you note is not primarily for the purpose of saying “thank you” (more below). And in your resume’s summary statement, summarizing your resume isn’t really the point.

What’s a resume summary statement really for?

The point of a summary is to allow the recruiter or hiring manager to almost instantly see that you’re a candidate who deserves further consideration.

Since the first reading of a resume is usually a quick skim taking less than 30 seconds—as little as six seconds, according to one study—you need to focus the reader’s attention on the most compelling facts about you. I call this your unique selling proposition or key selling points. Figure out your key selling points and build your summary around them.

Where can I find out how to write a resume summary statement that gets me interviews?

Read my post, “Best Things First: 7 Resume Summary Tips for Instant Impact.”

(And by the way, the most crucial goal of the so-called thank-you note–let’s call it your post-interview communication— is not to say “thank you”–although that’s important too–but to keep yourself at “top of mind” with those busy, distracted decision-makers.

Write a winning resume!

Now that you know the purpose of a resume summary statement, make sure the rest of your resume has what it takes to get you in the door.

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