The eight seconds of attention you have from an employer means your resume has to capture their interest quickly. A terrific summary statement can do that. A bad one means they won’t even read the rest of your resume. Here are eight no-no’s for writing your summary statement.
1. Assume an objective is as good as a summary statement. You do not want to capture their attention with what you want, but what you can offer them! Objectives are a bad idea anyway as was discussed in our blog on 18 Resume No-no’s.
2. Use the same summary statement for all applications. Highlighting your skills that match THIS job, is the reason for a summary statement. One size fits all, fits none in a job search.
3. Write a six sentence paragraph of run-on sentences. Remember those 8 seconds. Summary statements should have a very descriptive title and 3-4 bullet points.
4. Use first person pronouns. It is understood that you are the subject of your resume. Keeping the focus on you fails to sell the employer on what you can do for THEM.
5. Excessive use of buzz words. A Careerbuilder survey lists hiring authority’s most hated buzz words: best of breed, go-getter, think outside the box, synergy, go-to person, team player and proactive. Don’t use these subjective terms and clichés. Convey real results with active verbs like achieved, improved, increased/decreased, negotiated and managed.
6. Forget to nail the keywords. There’s no escaping technology. Using keywords from the job description in your summary statement and resume will get you out of the in-box and into the to-be called folder.
7. Avoid using boring numbers and metrics. Specificity emphasizes and validates your accomplishments.
8. Confuse professional and polished with interesting. If no one reads it, it doesn’t matter what it says or how good it looks. Louise Fletcher of Blue Sky Resumes does a great job of breaking down the summary statement into specific choices that should be made in her blog, “How to Write a Resume Summary that Grabs Attention.”