Rather than force employers to hunt through your resume to determine whether you are qualified for the position, the summary tells them immediately what they want to know.
A summary of qualifications is a brief paragraph or set of three to five bullets that summarizes your key skills, experiences, strengths, and achievements as they relate to the position you are applying for. The summary should be customized for each position. It is placed immediately after your contact information at the beginning of your resume.
How Do I Write a Summary?
The summary of qualifications is surprisingly easy to write! I’ll demonstrate how to do it by showing you a sample job description, followed by a summary written in both paragraph and bulleted styles. (So you can see how the key job qualifications are represented in the summary, I have matched them with corresponding numbers. Your resume, of course, will not contain these numbers.)
Don’t worry if you do not meet all the qualifications—few people do—just include your relevant experience.
The Specialty (1) Pharmaceutical Sales Representative will promote cardiovascular medications to cardiologists, nephrologists, and endocrinologists (2) in the San Francisco Bay Area (3).
* Five or more years of experience in pharmaceutical sales (4)
* Experience selling antihypertensives or cholesterol-lowering drugs (5)
* Regional or national sales award winner (6)
* Ranked in the top 25% of the salesforce for at least three years (7)
* Driven, entrepreneurial, and customer-focused professional (8)
Summary of Qualifications (paragraph style)
President’s Club-winning (6) sales specialist (1) with six (4) years of experience selling statins and ACE inhibitors (5). Extensive experience calling on cardiologists and endocrinologists (2) from San Jose to San Francisco to Oakland (3). Ranked in the top 15% percent of the salesforce for four years running (7). Ambitious, self-motivated professional who strives to exceed goals while ensuring customer satisfaction (8).
Summary of Qualifications (bulleted style)
* As a sales specialist (1), sell statins and ACE inhibitors (5) to cardiologists and endocrinologists (2) around the San Francisco Bay Area (3).
* Achieved a top 15% percent sales ranking four years (7) in a row out of a six-year pharmaceutical sales career (4).
* Won President’s Club and a Director’s Award for Regional Sales (6).
* Consistently meet or exceed sales goals while ensuring customer satisfaction (8).
Do you notice how the summaries make it easy for the recruiter and manager to see that this is an ideal candidate? Do you see how easy the summary is to compose? Invest a little time in crafting a summary for each job you apply for and you’ll increase your chances of being invited for interviews.