You’ve probably heard countless times that your resume is the backbone of your job hunt, but it can be frustrating to figure out exactly what goes into a good one. There are plenty of resources available but navigating them all can feel overwhelming, and repeatedly finding the same overly-general terms when you really need specifics can be downright infuriating!
One of the murky areas that hopeful applicants often wrestle with is whether to include a summary or objective statement in their resume. Many job seekers struggle to fully understand what these elements even are. When every bit of space on your resume is invaluable, how do you know when a summary or objective is essential?
If you’re already a pro with this, then head to our easy-to-edit resume tool to start building your resume, or, if you'd rather, you can customize the resume below. Otherwise, join us and we’ll clear away the confusion.
Understand the Resume Summary
The summary of your resume should give a quick “snapshot” of your best qualifications, which you’ll later emphasize and quantify with your skills and experience. Your summary offers an overview of which qualifications make you the perfect fit for the job: So, focus on the highlights of your career.
You want your summary to emphasize your history of accomplishments and excellence, leveraging that information to demonstrate how you’ll benefit the company and enhance the position for which you’re applying. Your summary should be attention-grabbing and immediately show why you’re the ideal hire!
Is a resume summary the same as a career objective?
You may be wondering if a resume summary and a career objective serve the same purpose—and whether they’re interchangeable. There’s plenty of overlap between resume objectives and summaries, thus, muddling the waters.
These key differences will help you simplify and clarify a confusing topic:
Summaries are great if:
- You have extensive, quality experience
- You’re staying within your field or branching out to something similar
- You have some impressive metrics to share
Objectives are better if:
- You’re a new graduate
- You’re changing careers or breaking into the field
Wait! Is the summary the same as a summary of qualifications?
The lesser-known summary of qualifications is not quite the same as a resume summary! While your summary should elegantly describe your qualifications and relevant history in a couple of concise sentences, a summary of qualifications is more technical and usually presented in a bulleted list. The summary of qualifications lets you work in some ATS-friendly keywords and then dazzle a recruiter with metrics, accomplishments, and skills.
It’s usually recommended to keep your list of qualifications to around three to six bullet points, limiting each to one or two lines. But this format eats up space on your resume quickly! So, it’s best to replace your resume’s summary or objective with a summary of qualifications if you have a long, complicated history of experience in your field and need to emphasize the highlights of your background at a glance.
Know When to Use a Resume Summary
A resume summary is often best suited to applicants with 10+ years of experience, although standalone accomplishments can be equally powerful.
If you’ve achieved an unusual level of expertise or racked up an impressive list of accomplishments during a shorter time, consider including a summary!
Here are some indicators that a summary would fit nicely on your resume:
- You’ve worked long enough (10+ years) that you should condense the highlights of your career
- You have an eye-catching list of accomplishments and quantifiable achievements
- You’ve worked with big-name companies or prestigious projects
- You’ve advanced quickly within your field during an unusually short time
If the list above feels intimidating, circle back to the original question of whether a summary enhances your resume.
Here are some indicators you should simply leave the summary out and let your skills and experience speak for themselves:
- You’re a new graduate who hasn’t had time to build much experience
- Your previous work experience has been somewhat run-of-the-mill
- Your background and qualifications look somewhat generic or bland once written
- You haven’t had many opportunities that resulted in quantifiable achievements
If you can relate, your resume will be strongest if you drop the summary entirely. Instead, lead with your skills and emphasize dependability, ambition, and potential in your experience section.
Write an Effective Resume Summary
If you’re bracing yourself for the process of honing your summary, don’t worry! It’ll be a breeze if you follow our tried-and-true formula and keep our handy tips in mind as you write.
Follow our resume summary formula
The process is as easy as: X + Y + Z = Attention-snagging summary!
X = Your characteristics and personality traits
Y = Years of experience and quantified success/results
Z = How these results apply to the specific job role
Consider this resume summary for a programmer:
You can pinpoint each element when you break this summary down:
X = Inquisitive, driven, and eager
Y = 8+ years of experience, a client base of 100+ people, and a savings of 725+ manual hours
Z = Specific programming skills like Python and jQuery that will enhance performance within the position
Our best resume summary tips
Now, we’ll unpack some tips to help you nail down the perfect summary to jumpstart your resume:
- Summary length: Limit your summary to two or three sentences.
- Keywords: Consider job-specific keywords that the ATS scans for as well as keywords that will hook recruiters.
- Quantify your claims: When you list accomplishments and achievements, back them up with hard facts! Data like improvement percentages, customer satisfaction metrics, and client base numbers will boost your credibility.
- Tailor summaries to specific positions: You never want your summary to feel generic, so look for specific requirements in the job description that you can respond to with relevant details from your own experience.
- Grammar and mechanics: Proofread carefully for spelling and punctuation errors, and keep a close eye on grammar. It’s also ideal to avoid informal contractions and opening sentences with “I.” Your summary should immediately spotlight your professional value—so keep sentence structure concise and use “my” when presenting your skills.
Don’t worry if this is a little overwhelming at first glance! Many job seekers linearly work through their resumes, but save your summary for last even though it appears first. Once your other sections are fine-tuned, it’ll be easier to pinpoint choice details to fill in the formula and complete your perfect summary. (And who says you have to nail your summary the first time you write it?! Go through as many iterations as you need when you outline your resume.)
The good, the bad, and the ugly resume summary
So, what do these concepts look like in action? Take a look at this example of an excerpt from a digital marketing manager’s job description:
As a digital marketing marketer, you will plan, oversee, manage, and implement our brand’s digital marketing campaigns. You will:
- Plan each digital marketing campaign and delegate tasks in a team setting
- Oversee and evaluate the quality of digital marketing materials
- Analyze campaigns and identify how to improve performance
What kind of summary works for this job description? We’ll take it from bad to best.
I graduated with a marketing degree last year and did lots of group projects. I know how to structure a market campaign and read analytics.
Why it’s ugly: There’s zero personality here. The claims are not only weak and vague but there’s nothing quantifiable to back them—let alone any indication of managerial skills. Even though the summary addresses some details from the job description, they’re too generic.
My degree in marketing makes me a great fit for this position. I can use my communication and analytical skills to help your team create great ad campaigns. I’m also familiar with Google Analytics and LinkedIn and have worked with several teams.
Why it’s bad: While this summary addresses skills and teamwork experience more effectively, the tone still lacks the gusto that most managerial roles require. The first sentence takes up space while offering too little information, and the second two are redundant and unenthusiastic.
Ambition, creativity, and a BA in marketing empowered me to gain 6+ years of experience with a digital marketing team and boost website traffic by 67%. My proficiency in Microsoft Excel, SEO, and KPI tracking enable me to plan, create, and analyze advertising campaigns. My well-honed strategies and communication skills will elevate Nestlé USA’s marketing team to new heights.
Why it’s best: This summary completes the formula! You can see personality, experience, and quantifiable claims coupled with the applicant’s skills that fit the exact job description. Dynamic, powerful verbs such as “boost,” “create,” and “empowered” also suggest this applicant is qualified for an advanced role.
20 Resume Summaries to Inspire You + Why They Work
You’ve got the basics down; now you’re ready to take some inspiration from these 20 resume summary examples across different professions. We’ve alphabetized them to simplify things —but we recommend reading them all with our key formula in mind to solidify this info. Before you know it, you’ll have a starting point for your own incredible summary.
We begin each with a quick list of key points in the job description, so you can see how each summary is carefully customized to the role.
Accountant resume summary
Accountant job description key points:
- Adept at creating and managing financial documents
- Maintaining ledger entries and monthly budgets
- Detailed error checking and problem-solving
- Auditing and document collection
- Mentorship and training skills
Accountant resume summary:
Why it works
- The applicant’s ambitious yet matter-of-fact personality is evident in a way that reinforces their desire to take an active leadership role in the accounting field.
- The solid metrics of a CPA certification and an improvement percentage also quantify the applicant’s selling points.
- And lastly, the focus is on more advanced skills instead of entry-level basics.
Need more help? Our accountant resume guide and accountant cover letter examples have you covered from top to bottom.
Attorney resume summary
Attorney job description key points:
- Adept with communication and navigating client consultations
- Familiarity with litigation and a strong ability to adapt to changing legislation
- Strategic, analytical thinking, and strong ethical problem-solving skills
- Preparing, customizing, and checking legal documents
- Forewarning clients of potential obstacles and helping them understand their options
Attorney resume summary:
Why it works
- The candidate immediately demonstrates an ambitious personality alongside a quantifiable accomplishment.
- Next, the more in-depth set of abilities highlights a well-rounded approach to legal success—ending on a strong note with specific examples of how they’ll benefit the law firm.
If you need more guidance on your attorney resume or attorney cover letter, we can show you the way regardless of your experience level.
Business analyst resume summary
Business analyst job description key points:
- Analytical and quick, adaptive thinking patterns
- Basic IT abilities in Microsoft Excel, SQL, Google Sheets, and Agile Development
- Superior communication and interpersonal/soft skills
- Meticulous attention to detail with an ability to deliver precise reports/data and advice
Business analyst resume summary:
Why it works
- The formula is all here—personality with a spotlight on skills that apply directly to the job position—and the applicant dives right into measurable achievements.
- While technical skills are touched upon, broader qualifications and personal traits that mesh with the company take the spotlight.
Take your career documents to the next level with comprehensive guidance on your business analyst resume and business analyst cover letter.
Customer service resume summary
Customer service job description key points:
- Impeccable communication, critical thinking, and conflict resolution skills
- Flexibility, adaptability, and reliability
- Task organization and prioritization
- Personable and an affinity for welcoming customers/patrons
- Basic technical/computer skills while monitoring metrics and applying them to better meet company goals
Customer service resume summary:
Why it works
- This summary would be ideal for a candidate looking to progress to a more managerial customer service role since it offers quantifiable results alongside a strong demonstration of a go-getter personality.
- The applicant also included their experience alongside relevant skills, finally tying everything in with the specific company’s goals.
If you’re building your resume for the first time, glancing through our customer service resume guide will steer you in the right direction before you transition to your customer service cover letter.
Data analyst resume summary
Data analyst job description key points:
- Analytical and strategizing skills
- Strong ability to identify trends and problems quickly
- Organization, planning, and communication
- Collaborative and team-based abilities
- Technical database management and basic understanding of key languages like Python and Oracle
Data analyst resume summary:
Why it works
- A data analyst’s job is highly technical, so it’s ideal to dive right into metrics and list several hard skills in your summary.
- While you can still find personality traits and evidence of soft skills in a team setting, this summary is more focused on measurable, results-driven improvements that the applicant can provide.
You’re in good hands (this is not a plug for Allstate, by the way) with our data analyst resume guide if you need some solid examples. Chances are you'll need a data analyst cover letter to go with your resume; we've got that handled, too.
Data engineer resume summary
Data engineer job description key points:
- Technical skills like database and development programming languages
- Strong ability to develop, optimize, and maintain database software
- Attention to detail, problem-solving, and communication skills
- Advanced understanding of data pipelines and infrastructures
- Adaptive ability to support stakeholders and executive teams’ data infrastructure needs
Data engineer resume summary:
Why it works
- As a data engineer, this applicant emphasizes leadership qualities, showing a desire for advancement with metrics to corroborate previous accomplishments.
- You can also see technical skills presented strategically to demonstrate the applicant’s skills in light of the job description.
Start your data engineer resume with the right resume template that speaks to you and your dream role. Besides a resume summary, know what else requires good writing? Yeah, your data engineer cover letter.
Data scientist resume summary
Data scientist job description key points:
- Second-nature understanding of the Scientific Method and algorithms
- Advanced ability to organize unstructured data and information
- Clear communication alongside translating large volumes of data into easily-comprehensible business insights
- Improve data quality and streamline/implement pricing models
- Integrate stakeholder input and collaborate on constant, adaptable business model improvements
Data scientist resume summary:
Why it works
- This applicant demonstrates a driven personality with a highly analytical mindset and scientific background.
- You also get a realistic idea of how they’ll use their skills to produce quantifiable results—and benefit the company.
Looking for more resources? We can help you with the entirety of your data scientist resume and help you understand the nuances of writing a data scientist cover letter.
Graphic designer resume summary
Graphic designer job description key points:
- Attention to detail and a solid understanding of design theory for both print and digital applications (colors, typography, shapes, composition, etc.)
- Technical expertise with digital illustration/editing programs
- Understanding of marketing strategy, advertising techniques, and social media
- Excellent communication with clients and team members
Graphic designer resume summary:
Why it works
- The candidate’s bright personality shines here, quite impactful for a creative field when backed by quantifiable examples of success.
- Teamwork abilities and experience with digital marketing also take center stage, demonstrating a balance between creativity and organized planning.
Choose a well-designed resume template for your graphic designer resume, and find a matching template to boost your confidence when it comes to your graphic designer cover letter, too.
Human resources (HR) resume summary
Human resources (HR) job description key points:
- A knack for facilitating communication between peers and departments
- Ability to update company policies, benefits, employee records, and payroll
- Proactivity when it comes to helping employees understand company policies
- Performance reviews, conflict resolution, de-escalation, and corrective action
- Assist with managing meetings and fostering employee communication and trust
Human resources (HR) resume summary:
Why it works
- Soft skills are important in HR, especially when addressing sensitive topics, so this applicant’s focus on the personal side of company policies is wise.
- Even so, they still supply a strong metric for previous success and specify how their traits would fit the job position.
Don’t miss our complete HR cover letter guide, and we share what works and what doesn’t on the rest of your human resources (HR) resume.
Nursing resume summary
Nursing job description key points:
- Fast, effective communication and task implementation
- Collect patient data such as medical history, current conditions/medications, and updates
- Critical thinking and decision-making abilities regarding when to treat patients vs. when to consult doctors/supervisors for guidance
- Organizational skills and ability to interpret patients’ information, adhere to treatment plans, adjust treatment plans as needed, and administer medications
- Tactfully and kindly discuss care options with patients and families
Nursing resume summary:
Why it works
- This candidate’s caring, clear-headed personality shines, and they provide an empirical metric for their experience.
- Additionally, you can easily find specific examples of crucial skills that will help them perform efficiently in any fast-paced nursing position.
The roles are endless when it comes to the medical field, so make sure you’re on the right track with your nursing resume as well as when it comes to writing your nurse cover letter.
Operations manager resume
Operations manager job description key points:
- Excellent leadership and administrative capabilities
- Analytical thinking and organizational skills
- Ability to manage communication and efficiency among departments
- Adept at hiring, training, and optimizing schedules for employees
- Oversee/analyze production methods, performance, quality assurance, and related data, relying on Salesforce and Tableau
Operations manager resume summary:
Why it works
- The applicant’s focused and driven personality is evident in the way they immediately showcase their lengthy experience and various aspects of their managerial prowess!
- You also see a success metric right away alongside technical skills aligned with the job description.
Your operations manager resume is sure to shine when you consider our top resume tips; then, you'll be primed to write your operations manager cover letter.
Product manager resume summary
Product manager job description key points:
- Strong ability to analyze product quality from manufacturing to end-of-life
- Firm understanding of company goals and the ability to align products with those goals
- Superior communication and collaboration among cross-functional teams
- Skillfully interpreting data from Google Analytics and various other sources, leveraging it for improved production/distribution strategies
- Ability to analyze KPIs and identify areas for improvement
Product manager resume summary:
Why it works
- As with any management-focused job description, the emphasis on strategizing and collaborative analysis here are ideal—and the technical skills balance out the interpersonal abilities well.
- The quantifiable improvement in feedback also strengthens this summary!
Our product manager resume guide will ensure your resume is in tip-top shape from resume summary to resume format. If you're resume's already a success, don't forget about your product manager cover letter.
Program manager resume summary
Program manager job description key points:
- Planning, initiating, and implementing plans to achieve company goals and complete project portfolios
- Excellent management, leadership, and communication
- Proactively motivate a team to carry out program activities
- Budgeting, organizational, and strategy-building skills
- Ability to analyze metrics of program success, such as KPIs and satisfaction rates, to identify areas for improvement
Program manager resume summary:
Why it works
- Talk about detail! We can see several metrics here coupled with an energetic and goal-oriented personality.
- Additionally, these metrics and traits skillfully imply the exact set of abilities this job position requests.
Sail through the rest of your program manager resume, and don’t forget to check it against our AI-powered resume tool before you draft the perfect program manager cover letter.
Project manager resume summary
Project manager job description key points:
- Excellent team management skills and a strong ability to facilitate collaboration and team cohesion
- Creativity and adaptability in project planning, budgeting, and implementation
- Ability to bridge the gap between project teams and company executives or clients to provide updates and results
- Organization, time management, and attention to codes and policy compliance
- Skillful preparation and management of briefing materials, progress tracking, and reports/reviews that can be leveraged for future improvements
Project manager resume summary:
Why it works
- This job role is all about results, so leading with personality traits and metrics that support the candidate’s ability to yield these results is ideal.
- Accentuating what the applicant can offer this particular company is also a great move!
PMs, we see you! Peruse our project manager resume examples for support and inspiration, and sail through your project manager cover letter, too.
Recruiter resume summary
Recruiter job description key points:
- Excellent soft skills, including strategic communication. Ability to foster positive relationships with both applicants and staffing agents while managing client and candidate expectations
- Ability to gather information and quickly assess candidates
- Efficiency under pressure when working with high-priority or time-sensitive hires
- Strong ability to gauge talent/potential during interviews
- Develop/update job descriptions, requirements, proposed pay, and benefit plans
Recruiter resume summary:
Why it works
- This summary concisely highlights the blend of personality traits and interpersonal skills that this applicant offers.
- The candidate still supplies a quantifiable example of their success and relevance, too.
You know all about the job hunt, but we get that you need help with your recruiter resume, too. When it comes to writing a resume or your recruiter cover letter, we’ll share all we know.
Sales resume summary
Sales job description key points:
- Effective communication, persuasion, negotiation, and people-reading skills
- Ability to answer/field questions or find information quickly
- Time management and organization skills
- Preparing sales contracts, reports, and presentations
- Following up to ensure customer satisfaction, obtain payments, or promote new plans, services, or products
- Understanding and furthering company programs and specific sales objectives
Sales resume summary:
Why it works
- You can witness plenty of beneficial personality traits here!
- Plus, the candidate’s experience is evident in the skills they highlight—and they specifically speak to the value they’ll offer the company.
Sell your career documents and snag your dream role with our resources for your sales resume and sales cover letter.
Scrum Master resume summary
Scrum Master job description key points:
- Excellent ability to lead, communicate, and collaborate with a team to meet goals while maintaining Scrum values
- Thorough understanding of Agile frameworks and ability to coach teammates in Agile
- Adaptability in fixing errors and problem-solving with strong recovery skills to keep the focus on sprint goals
- Use metrics and stakeholder/team feedback to ensure optimal product quality
- Organization, coordination, and task prioritization
Scrum Master resume summary:
Why it works
- We clearly see experience, educational, and technical qualifications here.
- Personality shines through while demonstrating a clear understanding of the job role and, of course, everything ties in with the target company at the end.
Scrum Masters, we know you appreciate a logical and organized approach, so start by exploring our resume examples and diving into what works on the best Scrum Master resumes. We can also teach you how to tackle your Scrum Master cover letter with ease.
Social media manager resume summary
Social media job description key points:
- Familiarity with social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and the ability to maintain responsiveness on all channels
- Quick adaptability to changing social media/market trends and current events
- Adept at monitoring KPIs, SEO performance, and other metrics and assessing the effectiveness and potential improvements
- Ability to collaboratively plan and implement campaigns by creating, posting, and managing original content with the use of Hootsuite
Social media manager resume summary:
Why it works
- It’s all there—experience, an ambitious, confident personality, credibility-boosting metrics, and highly relevant skills.
- The applicant also provides compelling insight regarding their approach to the company’s success.
As a social media guru, you have an eye for details, which is why you’ll appreciate our free and creative Word resume templates as you finish building your social media manager resume and writing your social media manager cover letter.
Software engineer resume summary
Software engineer job description key points:
- Engineering-focused educational background in math or computer science
- Technical experience with tools like C++, Java, Unix, database and cloud storage, etc.
- Strong ability to navigate, explain, and lead the entire software development lifecycle
- Solid understanding of the best software engineering practices with a focus on scalability, quick problem-solving, and information management
- Application infrastructure and design skills that mesh well with speed/optimization
Software engineer resume summary:
Why it works
- There’s tons of personality here along with strong metrics that demonstrate the applicant’s skills.
- And while there’s a clear mention of technical skills, the strategic thinking of an engineer takes the spotlight, showcasing the ability to expertly handle advanced roles.
If your software engineer resume needs a facelift, consider one of our free resume templates. Remember that your software engineer cover letter can make a great first impression.
Teacher resume summary
Teacher job description key points:
- Supervisory and communication skills with the ability to process student feedback and customize lesson plans
- Ability to maintain leadership of the room and engage students with lessons
- Planning and preparing lessons, assignments, and educational materials
- Updating grades frequently, providing thoughtful feedback, and modifying work for struggling students
- Provide insight, advice, and encouragement regarding students’ future career paths
Teacher resume summary:
Why it works
- The conversational yet professional tone is ideal for a teacher delineating a diverse and adaptable skillset and backing it up with a quantifiable metric.
- The applicant’s best traits practically demonstrate themselves!
Along with your teacher resume, your teacher cover letter should also be top of mind.
Resume Summary Recap and Your Next Steps
You’ve made it to the end, but don’t feel too overwhelmed or get lost in the weeds while striving to pinpoint the best parts of your experience and skillset to include in your summary! Return as often as you need to the summary examples above, and don’t hesitate to draw inspiration from our resume examples.
When you start writing your summary, keep our formula in mind:
X + Y + Z = Success!
X = Your characteristics/personality
Y = Experience and quantified success/results
Z = How your accomplishments apply to the specific role
Carefully read every job description while you search, and tailor your resume summary to each listing. The extra effort and finishing touches will show!
Remember it’s easiest to write your summary once you’ve drafted the rest of your resume, so you can get crackin' in our resume builder for an interactive, intuitive solution. And if you like the resume below, you can start customizing it right away. So, here’s to your success. We’re cheering you on!