When you are editing your resume or creating one for the first time, you are always looking for ways to set yourself apart for the rest of the pack—the other candidates, who are probably also well-qualified for the position for which you are applying. How can you make your resume stand out in a sea of impressive applicants?
One way to present yourself as the best candidate for the job is to include a summary of qualifications on your resume. This succinct section, situated at the top of your resume, clearly defines your most important skills and achievements in an easy-to-read, digestible format that makes your qualifications for the position immediately obvious to the recruiter or hiring manager.
What exactly is a summary of qualifications, how do you create one, and what information should you include? We’ll give you a complete rundown, plus examples across different positions and industries.
A summary of qualifications is a section on your resume that lists your most important skills, accomplishments, awards, and experiences in your career.
Often written in bullet-point format, this type of statement can separate you from other candidates because you are laying out in clear terms why you are the best candidate for the job. Plus, applicant tracking systems (ATS) have an easier time spotting potential matches, since you are defining your skills and expertise in a direct, comprehensible format (and using plenty of keywords).
The basic steps for writing a summary of qualification on your resume are:
You should put your summary of qualifications at the top of your resume, below your name and contact information. List around 4-5 key achievements or skills as bullet points, including measurable or quantifiable accomplishments. Along with skills and experiences, they can include important awards, publications, and other information, depending on your industry.
Grab the strongest keywords and accomplishments from other parts of your resume. For instance, if one of your achievements in your career as a sales representative was landing a record number of accounts at your organization, that should be a bullet point, using the specific number of accounts.
Since you should be tailoring your resume to the specific job for which you are applying, read through the job description and match your qualifications accordingly, paying attention to skills or experiences that are emphasized in the listing. For example, if the job description for a marketing position asks for demonstrated success with social media campaigns, you should include a campaign that performed especially well, noting the quantifiable factors that made it successful, such as sales achieved, a high CTR, a certain number of engagements, and so on.
The summary of qualifications section is a list of your career highlights, so you should only present the most important information on your resume here. What are key qualifications? Some examples include:
• Hard skills and soft skills that are measurable or quantifiable
• The money you have saved a business
• Certifications, licenses, advanced degrees, and relevant coursework
• Key metrics
• Measurable processes and procedures you have improved
• Key performance indicators (KPIs)
• Awards, honors, and recognition
• Number of people you manage or oversee
• Languages you speak
• Number of years of experience in your industry
• Any other achievements or skills that are noteworthy and relevant to the position
Remembering to use appropriate keywords when describing your accomplishments so that an ATS will pick them up and flag you as a match for the job at hand.
Your summary of qualifications will look very different depending on your job, industry, and stage of your career. Here are a few examples of achievements and skills you might include according to your profession.
• Developed and executed a Facebook ad campaign that generated $ in sales revenue
• Exceeded revenue goal by X%
• 6+ years of experience managing a marketing team of 10 employees
• Created a content marketing strategy that led to an X% increase in user-engagement
• Trained X other customer services representatives in handling high volumes of calls
• Established procedures that led to X company exceeding sales goals by 115%
• Introduced X procedures to improve efficiency in handling customers’ calls by 30%
• Reduced customer complaints by 35%
• Established the school’s IB (International Baccalaureate) program and launched with 25 students in the first year
• Awarded the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) High School Teacher of Excellence Award, 2013
• Improved English standardized test scores for students by 20%
• 6 years of experience as the chair of the English department, overseeing 10 English teachers
• Implemented an extracurricular reading program with 30 participants
• 13 years of experience with direct patient care in the maternity wing
• Introduced a shift scheduling system that led to a 15% reduction in overtime costs
• Implemented a patient scheduling system that reduced patient wait times by 30%
• Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
• Supervised an IT support team of five employees
• Spearheaded a network installation effort involving 130 workstations and employees
• Developed a filing and organization system that improved efficiency by 30%
• 20 years of experience working under the CEO of X company
• Created more than 75 Powerpoint presentations shown to more than 1,000 employees and clients
• Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
• As vice president of X College’s Amnesty International chapter, organized an event involving Y speaker that drew an audience of over 200 students, faculty, and alumni
• Member of the National Society of Collegiate Honors
• Placed on Dean’s List every semester attended
• Volunteer of the year at X, a community center for inner-city students