Resume Writing Blog Series - Part One: Summary Statement

Posted by Amanda Wencel on Monday, May 30th, 2016

In this 4-week blog series, I will break down each component of writing a marketing resume to provide practical tips on how to catch the employer’s attention, create interest in your abilities, and increase your chances for an interview.  This week, Part One, discusses the importance of and how to successfully create the “Summary Statement” or the header of your resume document.


Part One: Summary Statement

What do you see first when you read a newspaper/magazine article – the Headline! Your headline is your Summary Statement and it should be as distinctive as you are!  This is the first thing that recruiters or potential employers read about you.  It’s your chance to create a compelling snapshot of who you are and what you have to offer.  It should answer the question:

“Why would a prospective employer decide to interview me over other candidates?”

When I start my initial resume assessment with clients, I ask for a copy of the resume that they are currently using.  Many people are still using the “objective statement” as their resume introduction.  An objective statement is a ‘what’s in it for me statement’.  Employers are not interested in what you want at this stage – that comes in the interview. They want to know through your experience, skills, education, and accomplishments how you will help the company succeed.

Let’s look at one for example:

Objective: To obtain a job in the financial field that will allow me to use my education and skills to grow professionally, and to challenge myself in new ways that will assist the organization in meeting their overall goals.

This headline will not catch the employer’s attention. Can you imagine how many of these employers read!

What does this objective statement say to the recruiter/hiring manager?
1. You have education and skills in the financial field, but what specifically?
2. You want to challenge yourself in new ways that will help the company, but how do we know you are able to do this?

We recommend using a Summary Statement instead of an Objective Statement. It’s a powerful, concise description of unique skills, qualities and achievements you have to offer.  It’s a ‘what’s in it for them’ statement that creates interest! What does it take to write a compelling Summary Statement?

• Research the company and understand what their goals are; 
• Gather information on the type of people they are looking for, and identify how you match those needs.

Sharon Graham, Founder and Executive Director of Career Professionals of Canada, in the book “Best Canadian Resumes” describes that your Summary Statement (which she calls a Value Proposition) should feature three components: “employer’s buying motivators, supporting qualifications, and the added value you bring”. 

Using this concept, let’s take a look at the Summary Statement on my resume as an example.



Highly respected Career Transition Specialist with the ability to distinctly assess and market strengths, accomplishments, and value of each individual through written and oral communications.  Recognized by clients for producing desired results, supporting diverse and changing needs, and utilizing sensitivity towards stressful and uncertain circumstances.  Thoughtfully provides valuable employment advice drawing on years of experience and labour market knowledge.  Certified as a Resume Strategist through Career Professionals of Canada.

The “buying motivator” I focused on in my Summary Statement is to send the message that I strive to help my clients feel more at ease during employment transitions.  I concentrate their job search efforts to market their best selves in order to achieve their career goals more effectively. If I can offer you the ability to show yourself in your best light, bring confidence to your job search, and provide interest over your competition, I’ve done my job.  So the first line of my summary includes a statement of how I can help clients meet these needs – my tagline. 

Most people want proof- “supporting qualifications.”  In my case, I’ve described that my clients appreciate me for my ability to engage them, provide well researched and timely advice, but also maintain that personal relationship with each client.

To help you come up with some examples:

• Brainstorm your top skills, achievements and work responsibilities and write a list of descriptive phrases that support your initial tagline statement.  Narrow your list down to your top 3 that are most closely related to the position you are applying for.
• Create one or two sentences with those phrases to add to your Summary Statement.
• Use verbs that describe your key strengths to start your phrases.  For example:  Award-winning and dynamic professional...

The last line of my Summary Statement demonstrates the “added value” I offer.  There are many resume writers offering their services, but as a Certified Resume Strategist I bring this expertise and training to my clients. 

Perhaps you are bilingual, or you are willing to work overtime and weekends.  Maybe you’ve taken a special license that is coveted in your desired profession.  Finish off your Summary Statement with a catchy line – your added value- keeping the reader’s interest.

In the next blog of this Resume Writing Series, Part Two, we’ll discuss creating an Accomplishments or Achievements section that will follow your Summary Statement. 

Stay tuned on my business Facebook and LinkedIn weekly!

“Be so good, they can’t ignore you!”  ~ Steve Martin


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Blog Archive

Resume Writing Blog Series - Part One: Summary Statement by Amanda Wencel

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