How to Write a Summary Statement for a Resume

There are two types of statements typically listed on a resume – either the objective statement or the summary statement. Below are examples of each:  


Objective statement example:

High school student seeking a computer science internship in the field of educational software.

Summary statement example:

Current high school student seeking an internship in the field of full stack educational software. Primary experience in CSS, Python, and Node JS. President of Smith High School Computer Science Club, leader of 25 students who re-engineered school utility software to increase online homework engagement by 40% across 3,000 students, and recipient of Technology Today Scholarship. An engaged computer science student with 3.9 GPA and a demonstrated eagerness to learn.

What is the difference between an objective statement and summary statement?

The objective statement lists what you’re seeking, while the summary statement tells the employer who you are. Objective statements have become effectively obsolete, as employers place less value on understanding the applicant’s goals, and increased value on understanding what the applicant can contribute to the company.

Are summary statements required?

Summary statements are optional, but they can be a useful method to highlight accomplishments and achievements. The average recruiter only spends a few seconds reviewing a resume, and an effective summary statement can quickly demonstrate whether you have the skill set for the job. 

What should I include in a summary statement?

When brainstorming for your summary statement, try answering these questions:

  • What are your personal strengths?
  • What skills do employers in your target industry look for when hiring?
  • What are your most impactful selling points and achievements?
  • What critical problems are you well-positioned to solve?
  • What is the intersection of what you want and what your target industry needs?

Once you brainstorm, condense to 3-4 things that define you as a student or professional. You can use academic training and experience to support professional skills.

What makes a great summary statement?

  • Include keywords. Many companies use applicant tracking software to automatically rate resumes before the recruiter ever sees it, so it’s important to ensure your resume stands out. The best place to find keywords is in the job description itself. Don’t overdo it and pack in as many keywords as possible, or copy the job description directly, but instead find the core skills the employer is requesting and ensure your summary includes them. Here are a few examples of what you can consider when looking for keywords:
  1. The most essential computer programming languages for the role
  2. Research field or academic subject
  3. Software or online tools required for the job
  4. Specific experience required for the role, such as ‘customer service’, ‘email marketing’, etc.
  • Condense to 3-4 sentences max. Unless you’re writing an academic CV, most commonly used for research positions, your resume should not exceed one page. A brief summary statement ensures only the most important information is included.
  • Keep it concise and clear. Avoid any vague language and ensure every word contributes.
  • Align your summary statement with company and job objectives. Review the job description and draft a version for each job depending on the skills and experience they’re seeking.
  • Most importantly, show how you would benefit the employer, not how the employer benefits you.

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