How to write a standout career summary

Priyanka Gothi

February, 20 2019, 6:56 AM

Does your career summary introduce you as the best candidate? Here’s how to write one that sets you apart.

Hiring managers are a busy breed. Every single job post attracts hundreds of resumes. So here's what happens - they can't and most often don't read all of your resume or profile. It is crucial to have them at hello! Catch their attention and convert that "view" into a "shortlist" or "interview".

And thats's where a career summary comes in. 

A career summary is a short paragraph that follows the "headline" and provides a deeper insight into your experience, skill, your most transferable skills, abilities, accomplishments, and attributes. This impactful paragraph has a huge role to play in you getting noticed for a job. 

So don't skim it over. As a seasoned professional you have the added responsibility of ensuring that you come across as relevant, tech-savvy and willing to learn. Demonstrating this can strongly play in your favour and make you an attractive candidates for any position.

So how do you write one that's unique and interesting? At Wise at Work - we have some suggestions for you.

Step 1: Show your passion

Take tips from millenials, set aside your self-consciousness and really show your enthusiasm for work. Let recruiters know that you would be team-mate that would brighten up their day. And describe what really excites you about work. As an older professional, you need to pre-empt the ageism bias and help recruiters see that you are agile, passionate, willing to learn and a great team-player. If accounting is your thing, tell them what you love most about it and how your role can drive value for a business. 

Step 2: Show your skills

This is the place where you share what you're really good at. Your skills, networking, personality can all be a part of this section - but try and keep yoursel fin the shoes of the recruiter and articulate these skills in such a way that recruiters can immediately see the benefit of getting you on board. It's also a good idea to research your ideal job. The closer your summary matches the job description, the better chance you have at winning the job. Compare the descriptions and write a list of common skills and requirements that can be used to inform your summary. After deciding 3-5 of your best skills and qualities, match them to the job description and special skills desired. Do they align? If not,  try again. Your profile can also include a bulleted "Key Skills" section, which provides an easy-to-read listing of your core capabilities.

Step 3: Focus on your goal

For seasoned professionals, looking at different careers - recruiters always want to know why you want to work again. Seize this space and talk about your target goal - it could be "To help the community" "to be part of a young, growing team" or "to bring your transferable skills to this new industry" - it is important to sound ambitious and as someone who is in it for personal and professional milestones. You can play around with a few versions to see how they appear and write one that is truest to yourself. 

Here's an example: "Innovative, dedicated business and finance director with multiple years’ experience working with multi-functional teams and global business units. Skilled leader credited for a collaborative communication process. Sigma Six lean specialist skilled at balancing budgets, improving efficiency, and decreasing workforce costs, without the need for job cuts."

Step 4: List your areas of expertise

All career summaries include the "Areas of Expertise" section. For experienced professionals you could also add a networks section which emphasise any relevant networks you may be connected with. This could be hard skills or industry focus. To get some ideas, look at job descriptions and see what's written under the "Responsibilities" section - what you write here should easily be able to achieve some of the most important things in that section. Also state clearly that you are a willing and fast learner to emphasise your growth mindset.  

Step 5: Proofread 

Does your summary sound like you? Does it have typos or grammatical mistakes? Is it lengthy but doesnt say much? Remember, first impressions are everything, so review it a few times to ensure it captures the best of your personality, skills and expertise. Reading it aloud is often a great idea. Or having a friend take a look. 

Some of our favorite examples for experienced professionals:

For an entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience 

Dynamic and motivated professional with a proven record of generating and building relationships, managing projects from concept to completion, designing educational strategies, and coaching individuals to success. Skilled in building cross-functional teams, demonstrating exceptional communication skills, and making critical decisions during challenges. Adaptable and transformational leader with an ability to work independently, creating effective presentations, and developing opportunities that further establish organizational goals.

For a retail assistant / warehouse incharge with 25+ years of experience 

Dependable manager with 25+ years of experience in warehouse management and employee supervision.Skilled at managing inventory control, shipping & receiving, customer relations and safety & compliance. Certified Power Equipment Trainer, Forklift Operator and Reach Operator skilled at coaching other staff. Promoted to positions of increased responsibility given strong people and project management skills.

P.S: Don't worry about how short or long it is - given you have decades of industries it must capture your industries, areas of expertise, top skills, proven skills, technology savviness, value your bring in, goals. And should defintely be longer than your headline! :)