An effective introductory Summary statement at the opening of your resume is a critical component of effectively branding yourself to a prospective employer. This is the first part of your resume that a potential employer will read, and the goal is to communicate clearly what your
expertise is and why you are qualified. Often an “Objective” statement tends to focus more your own interests as the job seeker, while a “Summary” statement communicates what you can bring to the table in the targeted role for the organization. Why should they hire you, essentially? This is communicated by highlighting the most relevent strengths, skills & core competencies that are unique to you as a candidate, versus a trait or skill that’s an industry or professional standard (i.e. “multi-tasker” or “team-player”).
A cover letter basically addresses similar points, but in more detail, and allows for a certain amount of personalization to shine through. The Summary statement should be approximately 4-6 lines and speak only to your professional background, and not address any outstanding circumstances (employment gaps, change of career, personal experiences, etc.).
An effectively branded Summary statement reads like this:
Multi-faceted, efficient & reliable administrative professional with 10+ years of experience supporting executives, sales and managers to improve internal operations for small businesses. Proficient in all of the standard office desktop software, CRM applications and design programs. Diversified skillsets covering administrative support, client relations, writing, human resources & recruiting, account management and project management. Excellent inter-personal, phone and digital communication skills.
Seasoned project manager with 5+ years of print project management experience and knowledge of web production obtained from positions in educational publishing, consumer packaging, and financial services. Professional, flexible, creative, and service-oriented. Offering a unique combination of creativity and analytical skill with the ability to assess both vantage points to create cost-effective solutions for internal and external clients.
Hands-on executive officer known for strategic and focused approach, with extensive accolades for limiting risk, creating lean teams, and establishing creative strategies for optimizing internal operations, financial returns and external customer service and output.
Notice that in all three examples the candidates touched upon a couple key elements:
- core strengths & skill sets most relevant to their role
- past relevant experience with key functions
- notable accomplishments that they intend to repeat in the next role
Note with the administrative professional, they included the last line focusing on “Excellent inter-personal, phone and digital communication skills.” In some roles, say a web developer, these skills could easily fall into the irrelevant “EVERYBODY has those” category, and basically do nothing to sell you over the next candidates. Because by your early 20s most people have a solid grasp of the English language, and how to craft an email. However, as an administrative professional, it’s important to highlight those skills because effective communication is an important part of exceeding in a role where you’re generally the first face or voice people encounter at a company. So while you normally want to avoid the generic skills that most anybody would lay claim to, a good general rule of thumb is this: if it doesn’t serve to promote you in a unique and relevant way, leave it off, or replace with something more powerful.
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