CV Summary Statement: why have it and what to put in it

CV Summary Statement: why have it and what to put in it

If you’ve read any articles about summary statements, you might think that they are of value only if you are using a recruiter but this is NOT TRUE! While they are helpful in that context, they are also great for direct applications, too.

Your statement is like the synposis on the back of a book: it tells the reader the most engaging qualities of the story – in this case, your career story – and invites them to find out more.

What are the most engaging parts of the plot of your career story? Firstly, ask yourself why you want this job. It might help you to write your answer down, or record yourself answering the question. You need to know that answer first. Then ask yourself why you think you can do the job. Don’t worry at this point if you answers are a bit simple, e.g. “I want to be an animal technician because I love animals and I think I can do the job becuase I have pets”. That’s okay, you will finesse your response later. But if you have a few stats to add, have them to hand, e.g. years of experience, total budgets maintains, total clients managed.

You might be thinking “Does this mean I have to change my statement for every job I apply for”? That might be true! You will find that your statement won’t need to change a lot, if at all, but if you are applying for a wide variety of jobs then you will need to adjust it each time.

Now it’s time to think about what the employer might want. The job description will state many of the skills and tasks required, and the job description is a good place to go to find keywords to add to your summary. But also imagine if they had two equally qualified candidate in front of them. What other qualities would they look for? What is it about you that would make you a good fit? What is it about you that fills a gap in their team?

  • I am a professional and experienced administrator (5+ years) with the varied and creative background you need for your Communications Officer position. (Stats, and why you are great!).
  • My communications experience includes social media marketing, academic journal processes, blogging, radio broadcasting, journalism, content creation and website management. (Keywords, and why you are great!)

At this point, you may wish to explain something about your work history, particularly if you are planning to change fields. When it’s time to be interviewed they are going to ask you why you want this job, and here is the place to sum it up in one sentence. Here you can explain your work history and why you are planning to take this particular path. This is not required, but you can work it in if you feel there is something that needs further clarification.

  • Until now, my creative endeavours have been primarily for voluntary organisations or as a hobby, but I now have the desire to move into the field professionally. 
  • I was particularly attracted to your role because of how it would put my enjoyment of written expression, my curious and analytical nature, and my love of being part of something “big” to a valuable use! 

Think of the summary starement as a single paragraph story about you – it can focus on career changes or career successes, but it should explain why the job the company is advertising is the right job for you right now, e.g.

I am a professional and experienced Executive Assistant (5+ years) with the varied and creative background you need for your Communications Officer position. My communications experience includes social media marketing, academic journal processes, blogging, radio broadcasting, journalism, content creation and website management. Until now, my creative endeavours have been primarily for voluntary organisations or as a hobby, but I now have the desire to move into the field professionally. I was particularly attracted to your role because of how it would put my enjoyment of written expression, my curious and analytical nature, and my love of being part of something “big” to a valuable use! 

I am an friendly stylist with 3 years of experience, known for my abiltiy to easily connect and engage with anyone. My loyal customer base compliment me on my attention to detail, warm demeanor and quality advice. In addition to experience in styling and treatments, I am skilled in IT and cash handling and have developed a good rapport with regional sales representatives for major brands.

I am a diligent and meticulous HR Officer who is keen to return to a fulfilling managerial role with the variety and responsibility level in which I excel. Since my last management role I have become CIPD qualified and have overseen the successful restructure of my organisation’s HR department and implemented a new internal mentoring scheme. My established success in change management and PPD would result in your HR projects being finished on time and to a high standard.

How do you feel about using a summary statement? Do you feel that you know how to market your best qualities?

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

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