How to Write an Executive Resume Summary

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A well-written executive resume summary will set you apart from other applicants.
A well-written executive resume summary will set you apart from other applicants. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

An executive resume summary is a short description of your skills and accomplishments placed at the top of your resume. The summary should highlight your skills and experience and how they directly relate to the specific job you want. Including this type of summary will help entice potential employers to finish reading your resume and to invite you to interview with the company.

Write a first sentence that summarizes who you are and what you offer to a potential employer. This sentence should describe you and your work experience. In her article "Trade Up to an Executive Summary" on the website TheLadders.com, Lisa Vaas used examples from professional resume writers to illustrate what would spark the interest of a potential employer. According to Vaas' article, generic statements such as "Self-motivated individual with strong communication skills, providing efficient and detailed information in the law enforcement field" would not be as effective as specific statements like "Non-Profit Victims Advocate: I am a Crisis Management Specialist with formal education in Psychology, and extensive experience handling emergency situations and providing victim advocacy."

List previous work responsibilities and projects similar to what you would do in the job you want. Add specific statements about what you do at work, what skills are required and how you use those skills to handle your job successfully. Detail the results and successful completion of your work. Avoid general statements that can be listed on any resume; the details of your experience should separate your resume from other generic resumes. If you want to indicate that you are very organized, for example, write "successfully manages over 500 case files with weekly deadlines" instead of "great organization skills."

Include a description of unique and valuable skills you could use in the new work environment. If you are planning to apply for a job in an unrelated field, highlight the skills and responsibilities that will help convince an employer you will succeed in the new arena. Such skills may include the ability to speak another language, use specific equipment or computer software, handle large work loads, operate in high-stress environments or deal extensively with customers. Always be specific in your explanation.

Edit the summary so that it is from four to six sentences. Proofread your summary, as well as your entire resume, several times. Errors in your resume can end your chances of being considered for a position.

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