The summary section on a resume is one of the most difficult to get right, because it doesn’t follow a set formula like the other sections do.
It requires more creativity and eloquence to write a proper summary, making it a challenge for jobseekers. Some resumes do not even need summaries! Should you include a summary on yours?
Should I Put a Summary on my Resume?
Summaries should be included on resumes for those who have very little job experience, or a lot of experience. Summaries can explain school schedules or a lack of work history, or they can be useful ways to summarize a lot of skills into one place. Include one if you need to do one of these things.
The word “summary” implies that it is a summary of your resume, but this is not always the case. A resume summary is a summary of your current situation, your skills, and your goals.
The summary section is the only space on a resume where full sentences should be used concurrently, and this is a great place to explain anything that wouldn’t otherwise it in another section.
Who should include a summary on a resume?
People who do not have much job experience should include a summary on their resume to explain their situation. People with a lot of experience should include a summary to describe their skills in one brief paragraph. Those looking to enter a new industry may also wish to include a summary.
Inexperienced workers, students, or new graduates would do well to include a summary on their resume. Students may choose to include their availability here, as their schedules are limited.
New graduates can include their course of study in their summaries, their specialization, and their goals for their first job out of university.
For those switching to an entirely new industry, it is best to include a summary of their skills that may be useful as well as their reasons for entering a new field.
This will let an employer know the person’s intentions, as well as give them some bonus points for their passion.
Do you need a summary on a resume?
It is not necessary to include a summary on a resume. Many people choose to leave this information off in favor of a different section. If a summary does not add any additional information to your resume, you should not include one.
In some situations, a person may prefer to include a section such as volunteering or publications on a resume. In these cases, it would be difficult to include both a summary and one of these “additional” sections while keeping a resume to two-pages.
Resumes should always be kept to one or two pages, and there is no exception to this rule. Do not try to print the resume on both sides to skirt this rule, this is one of the biggest mistakes one can make when writing a resume.
It is also unnecessary to include a summary if you have nothing to write. Sentences such as “seeking a job in the criminal justice field” are pointless without reason, as it is already clear to the employer what type of job you are seeking.
In short, only write a summary on a resume if it clarifies something, adds important information, or summarizes the skills of someone who has too many to list. Otherwise, do not include a summary on your resume.
How to include a summary on a resume
A summary on a resume should be a short paragraph of no more than 4-5 sentences. It is typically located at the top of a resume, below the name and contact information. Include the relevant information of who you are, and what you would most like to clarify. Do not add unnecessary information here.
The summary section is usually written with the header centered on the page.
Most sections are not typically centered apart from the summary, goals, professional summary, and career highlights sections. While it’s not a necessity, it helps to separate the section visually from the experience sections.
The two main groups of people who would likely include a summary on their resumes are students, and experienced working professionals. These two groups have vastly different summaries to write, so let’s look at examples of each of these.
For students, you may not have a wealth of experience to be including on your resume. Including your availability may be a good idea in this section, as student’s schedules tend to be erratic. If you have open availability, this is not necessary.
Students may also wish to describe their focus of study here, especially if it is relevant. A company willing to hire an inexperienced worker will likely value passion for the subject within their industry.
If it is an irrelevant job you are applying for, simply state that you are a full-time or part-time student at X university seeking a local employment opportunity.
When formatted correctly, a student’s summary will look like the following:
The content in a summary section is extremely situational, as you want to tailor your summary in order to impress a specific employer.
For those with greater amounts of experience, the summary section is to give an employer a quick overview of your skills and proficiencies. Remember to keep it brief, as the employer will likely read about said skills in more detail further down your resume.
This summary will look like the following:
In this case, an employer can immediately check off their requirements for the job.
Now that they know this person has met them, they can read into their resume in greater detail.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.