A Summary statement is usually the first thing included on your CV, which briefly summarizes your main qualifications. It’s a chance to quickly and effectively sell yourself to the prospective employer and show what makes you a perfect candidate for the position. The Summary can play a critical part in determining whether you get called for an interview or not.
It’s a good idea to start the Summary with a title that communicates your professional identity, working like a headline that catches the reader’s attention immediately. The Summary itself should be maximum 4-6 lines in length, essentially the shorter the better. Remember that it’s a summary, not a cover letter, and recruiters and HR professionals are likely to go through it in few seconds. To ensure it gets read, keep the summary concise and to the point instead of rambling.
As a general rule, it’s best to break the Summary into three sections: who you are, what you can offer and what is your career aim. Make it compelling and prove your value by highlighting your most relevant strengths, skills and core competencies that are unique to you as a candidate. Try to avoid broad, overused terms such as “multi-tasker” or “team-player” – it is the most certain way to put the reader to sleep! 😉
Forbes offered a basic overview of the acronym CEASE to help you to remember what to include in your summary:
Characteristics: 2-3 personal/professional traits that make you a good fit for the job and the company.
Experience: Number of years you’ve worked in the industry or other experience that makes you qualified for the position.
Achievements: 2-3 things you have a strong track record in accomplishing for previous employers.
Skills: 2-3 high value abilities you’ve demonstrated that are relevant to the position in question
Expertise: Relevant education, certification, or special experience that other job candidates might not have.
The order in which you list these factors can vary. Put your strongest areas forward; though keep in mind that things you might think are your best traits and abilities aren’t necessarily that valuable to recruiters. This is why it might be smart to take a closer look at the job (whether it’s a posting, referral or you are presented by a Headhunter), identify the top qualities and abilities the employer is looking for and make sure what you have written reflects on these in the Summary. It is important because these terms are the ones that recruiters will be looking for both visually and through computer searches when they sift through CV’s.
Lastly, remember that the Summary should always be customized to the specific role you are applying for. Therefore you will adapt this Summary for each new role you are sending your CV off for. Though it might seem time consuming, it is essential if you want your CV to be noticed and get that first interview. Noticed or ignored, it’s up to you and how much effort you put into making the most impacting CV and Summary.
So, why should they hire you?
Prepared by Siiri Lietu, Social Media Coordinator at GRN Czech