Saturday, September 22, 2007

Formula for an Effective Summary

The article, "A Resume Summary Tells Employers What They Want to Know FAST," by Linda Nathanson, Ph.D., remains one of my favorite how-to articles of all time. It appeared in the January/February 2002 issue of Resume Writers' Digest.

I want to share the "essence" of the formula with you.

A Basic Formula For Writing a Resume Summary

Have the client identify his/her primary profession or position that he/she is in or hopes to be in

Examples: accountant, insurance professional, sales rep

Avoid using company-specific job titles or ones that don't convey a profession (i.e, Vice President)

Put an adjective in front of the label.

Examples: Skilled, Talented, Creative, Seasoned, Experienced

If the label refers to a profession or position the candidate hopes to attain, use the adjective "Prospective." it communicates an intended career direction and is ideal for recent graduates or career changers.

with [time] in [industry]

… with 18 years in the data processing industry
… with extensive experience in graphic design
… with a career history in the telecommunications industry

Tell the reader where your client would fit into an organization. Avoid company-specific job titles.

… seeking a senior-level accounting position
… seeking an entry-level or trainee position with a career path in the insurance industry



Seasoned accounting professional with 8+ years in the construction industry seeking a senior-level accounting position. Background includes experience managing all accounting-related functions in construction companies. Excellent management and problem-solving skills. Has a track record in implementing accounting policies and procedures. Proficient in using online accounting systems. Organized, detail-oriented and very hardworking.


About the author: Linda Nathanson is a contributing author to A Funny Thing Happened at the Interview. (Editor's Note: We erroneously reported that a new book by Linda, Resumes that Sock It to 'Em would be released on Oct. 15. In an e-mail to me, Linda noted that the book is not currently scheduled for print, but will have to await her retirement. We hope that's soon, Linda!)

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