Personal Summary: how to write one for your resume/cv

What is a Profile Summary

A profile summary is a paragraph at the start of your resume which list keys words and tasks you have completed in your working career.

These words must be words that are linked to specific words mentioned in the job advertisement. If you try to include them in this paragraph when constructing it, you will really grab the attention of the person who is shorting the resumes of candidates suitable for the interview stage.

It's important that you include a profile summary as sometimes this is what the employer will glance at when shortlisting candidates. If an employer has a 100 resumes for 2 job positions, they are going to try to bring that list down as quick as possible so shortlisting will occur.

Certain factors like bad grammar, layout, structure and excessive pages on your resume could all be a factor that they use to shortlist you out of the interview list. So trying to have something which will make them stand up and notice your skills and experience in a minutes is vital.

Do you include a summary in your resume?

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Getting Your Resume Professional Done

There are many professional companies out there who offer employees the chance to get their resume designed professionally which they say will give you an edge over your competition.

Even recruitment agencies can now offer a service, where they will draft up a sample resume for you and since these people are in the profession, they will know all the tricks of the trade.

This is all a good idea at the start, but later on will you really be able to identify and explain your own resume to a prospective employer?

Sometimes the more time you spend at putting something together means the better chance you have of knowing it inside out.

Take some time out and think about what you want to say about yourself.
Take some time out and think about what you want to say about yourself. | Source

Know Your Own Skills

How would you describe yourself in 3 sentences?

This is a question you need to be able to answer if you want to be able to do a summary.

There are so many types of sample resume out there that deciding on a format can be mind boggling. Not only do we have the Internet showing us one way but many times friends and family feel that the way they format their resume is also the right way.

So when you are applying for jobs in different sectors you need to jig your resume summary to suit the position.

  • If you're applying for a job in a supermarket your told to play up you're customer service strengths.
  • If you're applying to work in a bank, highlighting that you work part time as a treasurer for your local football team could be a plus on your side.

Use the job specification to help you write your own personal resume summary.
Use the job specification to help you write your own personal resume summary. | Source

Keywords Are Essential For a Summary

By using some keywords which are relevant to the advertisement for the job, (these keywords must be true) your resume will:

1. Catch the eye of the person who is reading it.

2. It lets you dictate the way the interview will open as this summary might be the first thing they ask you a question on.

Why A Resume Summary Is Important

A resume summary is really important because it explains in a few lines the type of person you are. It also lists out the qualities and skills you have acquired in your working life.

The primary reason one would consider opening their resume or curriculum vitae with a summary is to give the employer who is reading it a quick insight into the type of person they are.

This is important in the sense that an employer might choose to look at summaries to help them shortlist potential candidates for a job position.

Most recruitment agencies will advise you this is a very important section to put in your resume or curriculum vitae, but it’s really up to the individual themselves to see if adding this section might be a benefit over their competition.


Sit down with the job advertisement and try to think of the skills you have acquired in your working life.
Sit down with the job advertisement and try to think of the skills you have acquired in your working life. | Source

How To Write A Resume Summary

When writing your summary, you really need to think back on your previous jobs. Think of the skills you have acquired from them. Also try to think of what tasks you completed on a day to day, or yearly basis.

If you worked in an accountancy practise, you would have used specific accounting packages. You would have dealt with clients and you would have worked with others with the time for an audit was due. So you would have acquired a few important skills like teamwork, meeting deadlines, working on own initiative, e.t.c

If you worked in a supermarket, you would have acquired customer service experience and the knowledge of how to handle customers in all types of situations. Plus you would have experience of how to handle the computer system they have in the store.

It's all about linking your own job tasks to the tasks listed in the job advertisement

Get the interview by including key words from the job advertisement into your own summary. Remember they must be true.
Get the interview by including key words from the job advertisement into your own summary. Remember they must be true. | Source

Key Words In Your Summary Can Work In The Interview

It's important to remember that they key words you use in your resume summary can be linked into the job interview. Employers will see these key words that you listed in your summary and instantly identify with you.

At the interview stage, you can also impress your interviewer/s with examples of situations where you used these key skills in your job.

For Example:

If your summary stated “hardworking and efficient individual with 5 year management experience”, this could lead to the interviewer asking you two questions.

Question 1

Give me an example of a situation where you proved you were a hardworking individual?

Question 2

Tell me, what would you do if the place you had booked to hold a charity event had double booked on the day and they called you to tell you they had to cancel your booking?


They like to ask you questions where you can think on the spot and also incorporate your own knowledge into the answer.

Resume Summary For Sales Assistant.

If you worked in retail, you might have a summary which resembles this examples.

“Qualified sales assistant with over 6 years experience working in the retail sector. Seeking a position to utilise existing skills and also very capable of doing a wide range of other tasks like working in customer service”.

Again you have incorporated the customer service experience into the summary along with the number of years you have experience. In the job advertisement, they might have asked for people with 3+ years experience in customer service. It's how you phrase it that is important.


Interview Questions that could be asked then could be ones likes.

Question 1

Why did you decide to work in the retail sector?

Question 2

What makes you think you are suited to working with people?

Question 3

What would you do if you saw an employee stealing?


Creat Your Own Resume Summary

With a personal summary on your resume you can actually use it to help direct the interview questions. Then you can have example from previous jobs ready to help show that you have the experiences and skills for the position.

That's why it is important to put some thought into your summary. Giving it to a company to complete means that they are just giving you one which any individual could have. It's not unique to you.

The trick to completing one is to look at the job advertisement. Pick out key words from the job specification list. Then try to relate those key words to your own experiences and then try to incorporate those words into your resume summary. Doing it this way should make it a lot easier on you to put together a few lines to add to your own summary.

© 2011 Sp Greaney

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Comments 3 comments

sangre profile image

sangre 5 years ago from Ireland Author

@ dui, doesn't that always end up being the case, they ask you about something you are totally not expecting.


sangre profile image

sangre 5 years ago from Ireland Author

@ Indigital, thanks for dropping by. :-)


Indigital 5 years ago

When I head out for my first job interview, I'll be sure to check this up again!

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