In my last post, I covered how to thoroughly list your contact information for good visibility and ease of contact. While it may have seemed like a simple task to accomplish, there are always questions about applying from abroad or what address to use. While these queries have concrete answers, the next topic I want to cover encompasses more ingenuity and imagination within a structure. Your summary statement, or elevator pitch, must tell a story; one that captivates the reader instantly because it describes a person that they want on their team.
Following your contact details, the real meat of your resume comes next and it this is generally where recruiters will come first when scanning through a stack. A study recently conducted by an online job search service made two major findings about recruiters looking to hire: They spend an average of six seconds looking through each resume, and with an eye tracker, were found to spend a significant proportion of that time reading the blocks of text in the summary statement, the last position held, and the highest level of education.
What is a Summary Statement?
The summary statement – normally a 30 to 50-word block below your contact details and above your experience – is your opportunity to highlight your qualifications for a job while summing up your professional experience and showcasing your skills, with the goal of adding value to a specific team. How does one summarize an entire career full of different positions, accomplishments, and achievements in 50 words?
Know the company, what they’re looking for and how you fit in. State what position you are interested in, and follow it up with your qualifications. Every word is important, so make them count.
Here is an example of a strong, concise summary statement for a marketing manager looking for a new position:
Marketing Manager with over 10 years of experience creating and leading successful social media campaigns and implementing new strategies that have repeatedly generated sales increases of more than 30%. Proficient in content creation, social media platforms, and coding.
Show Your Worth
A 50-word paragraph might not seem like a lot, but you can easily fit three sentences and include three or four key phrases or words. Take Ernest Hemingway’s famous words: “For Sale: baby’s shoes, never worn”. Six total words, but they speak volumes. No one is expected to write a flowing narrative like one of the greatest writers of all time, but it is important to add value to the words that you are using. A lot of space is wasted on sentences such as “great time management skills”, “able to act rationally under pressure”, or “handle high-profile clients”. These sentences are essentially worthless because they have no facts to support them. This is an opportunity to explain how you had an effect on your coworkers, your superiors, and the business. You can do this by using numbers to show your worth:
- Managed a team of 35 employees
- 12 years of experience
- Increased total revenue by $500,000 in one fiscal year.
A recruiter might not know anything about the last company you worked for, but they will certainly recognize these numbers as a benchmark for your experience.