A resume summary is a 1-5 sentence introduction at the top of your resume that highlights your most relevant career experience, skills, and achievements. If you have many career highlights, the professional summary for your resume will be longer.
The first sentence of a resume summary should always include your biggest professional selling points. And for most employers, those selling points are your:
highest job title or degree
years of relevant experience
main responsibilities or achievements during those years
Each sentence of your professional summary must clearly highlight good examples of why you’re the best fit for the role.
Good resume summary example
Senior Customer Service Representative with 7+ years of experience working on and leading a call-center team. Personally handled 90+ sales, tech support, and customer care calls daily, accumulating a 95% customer satisfaction rating to date. 100 WPM typist with a Salesforce CRM certification.
This 3-sentence professional summary for a customer service resume hits upon the candidate’s work history (7+ years), the type of work they did (handled 90+ calls daily), an achievement (95% satisfaction rating), a skill (100 WPM), and even a relevant certification (Salesforce CRM).
If you’re able to summarize your key selling points in your professional summary this effectively, you won’t be looking for work long (because you’ll get a job offer first).
Does a resume need a summary?
No, you don’t need a summary on your resume. But if you have a range of accomplishments relevant to the job you want, whether they’re related to work, school, or volunteering, you can write a good resume summary statement that encourages hiring managers to continue reading.
Resume summary vs resume objective
The main difference between these two resume introductions is that a resume objective focuses on your motivation and the company’s goals, whereas a resume summary statement targets your career highlights (experience, skills, accomplishments, and other qualifications).
Additionally, a resume summary can be used for any job applications within your field, industry, or occupation. On the other hand, a resume objective must be edited and potentially rewritten every time you send out your resume so that it addresses the specific company.
How to write a resume summary
To write a good resume summary statement, first think about your greatest professional, academic, and personal achievements.
Are any of those achievements related to the type of job you want? On their own, do they prove you’re qualified to handle such work?
Whether you’re an experienced manager, a mid-to-senior level job seeker, or even have no work experience, we’ll show you exactly how to write a professional resume summary that showcases your ability to succeed in your field.
If you’re a manager
Writing a professional resume summary for a management position only takes three sentences (but you can add more if you have other related details to highlight):
First sentence: # years of relevant management experience, plus your biggest responsibilities as a manager
Second sentence: An example of your greatest managerial accomplishment
Third sentence: Additional achievements, certifications, or skills that highlight your management ability
Resume summary example (management)
Sales manager with 8+ years of experience planning, directing, and implementing sales strategies across the Pacific Northwest. In 2021, successfully led a 15-person team during our Spring regional sales campaign and exceeded the business’s projected profitability by 35% via the implementation of creative sales strategies and new sales software. CPSP certified, strong written and verbal communication skills, and passionate about team building in the workplace.
This manager resume summary example effectively summarizes the candidate’s most important experience from the very first sentence. Without relevant experience, it’s nearly impossible to land work as a manager, but this opening line quickly establishes the candidate as both experienced and qualified.
Then after describing a major career highlight that proves they can make a valuable impact in a managerial role, this veteran manager includes a relevant certification and touches upon their major management skills. In three quick sentences, the employer knows that this candidate is:
Experienced and qualified
Proven to be effective
Adept at managerial work
Interested in growing and building a team
If you’re mid-to-senior level
If you have at least 1-2 years of professional work experience in your field, you can write a compelling summary for your resume in three easy sentences.
First sentence: # years of relevant professional experience, plus your most notable duties in that profession
Second sentence: Your top on-the-job skills, and how they helped you accomplish your greatest professional achievement
Third sentence: Other related skills, certifications, and accomplishments that make you a worthy candidate
Resume summary example (mid-level)
Executive assistant with 4+ years of experience providing daily executive-level support. High standards for organization led me to introduce inventory supply software (Zoho Inventory) to management in 2018, saving us 5% in operational costs every year. 115 WPM typist, highly proficient with QuickBooks, Zoom, and Google Workspace.
After starting with their experience and primary job responsibility, this candidate provides a good example of how a soft skill (in this case, organization) helped them make a quantifiable, positive impact on their company. Saying you have a skill on your resume is simply less effective than if you provide an example of that skill in action.
The candidate wraps up their professional summary with a few strong, related hard skills that they can immediately apply to their work if hired. Combined with their experience and quantified achievement outlined in the first two sentences, they’ve set the rest of their resume up for success by effectively summarizing the value they can provide an employer at the top of their resume.
If you have no experience
No experience in your field or industry? You can still write a good summary for a resume by using the following 2-3 sentence structure:
First sentence: Descriptive adjective + your current standing (student or jobseeker is fine), GPA (if 3.5+), and any relevant experience from in or outside of the classroom
Second sentence: Your top relevant skills, and how those skills helped you achieve success (like on a term project, or receiving an academic award)
Third sentence (optional): Additional skills, achievements, or experiences outside the classroom that make you a better candidate for jobs in your field
Summary for resume example (no experience)
Highly motivated 4th-year journalism student with 4 semesters of experience working as Head Editor of my university’s newspaper. My passion for editing and copywriting earned me the Jim D. Goodfellow Award for journalistic excellence in the Journalism Department (2020 academic year). Skilled with all Google Workspace products, Office 365, Evernote, and can type 95 words per minute.
After reading this resume summary, it’s clear that even with no professional experience, this candidate is qualified to work in any entry-level job that requires writing skills and a strong work ethic.
And if this applicant’s degree isn’t relevant to the job they’re applying for, writing is still a transferable skill that applies to other fields (like marketing, for instance). Any company looking for an inexperienced but hardworking and capable writer would be drawn to this candidate because of their professional summary.
Need help getting ideas for your no-experience resume summary? Check out these resources and mix them into your own writing:
40+ professional resume summary examples
To help you write your own professional resume summary, let’s look at some resume summary examples from various industries and experience levels.
Whether you have no work experience or are applying for an executive role, we have resume summary examples that can help you as you write your perfect resume.
10 good resume summary examples (entry-level)
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a resume summary with no experience. If you have accomplishments related to the position you’re applying for, then writing a resume summary statement can help you land work.
Here are 10 summary for resume examples written by candidates with no relevant work experience to give you some ideas:
Related resume samples:
Skills summary (2 examples)
Last but not least is the skills summary.
If you have extra space on your resume and want to make your introduction stand out even more, you can try writing a skills-focused summary for your resume
Using bullet points and bolded skills, this type of professional summary achieves the same effect as a good 3-sentence resume summary but adds a nice visual element with the bolding.