Pursuing Your Career

A “Summary of Qualifications”? Yes, They are Effective

I had a client last year who was understandably frustrated as the client’s job search had been fruitless, which is why the individual reached out to me. In our initial conversations, I reviewed the client’s résumé and discussed with the individual their career plans and goals. After explaining my format of résumé writing, the client was flabbergasted that I included a “summary of qualifications.” Apparently, the client had been informed by a recruiter that such summaries were outdated and useless.

We pause here for a moment so I can smack my forehead into my desk. Multiple times. Really hard!

And we’re back. At the time I was a bit irritated, but I kept my cool and indicated that while I respect others’ ideas about appropriate résumé designs, since that recruiter’s input/designs were fruitless job-search-wise, why not give my design a chance. I informed the client that I wouldn’t except any payment until the individual obtained a job interview (and was 100% satisfied with the résumé I created). I explained why I used such summaries. For the record, with clients possessing a significant amount of experience, I often use a ‘professional profile’ instead of a summary of qualifications. Either way, I use the ‘summary of qualifications’ to identify a client’s experience and achievements relevant to the job the client is applying to. After two decades of writing résumés and serving on search committees, I find such summaries are incredibly effective and are components of résumés that hiring managers and committees focus on. The important thing with summaries is that job seekers should adjust these summaries for each job (ad) they apply to! That’s the key! Use these summaries to identify your skills and achievements that match the required AND preferred skills listed in the job ad!

Yeah… the client received multiple offers to interview within days of submitting the résumé I designed for the jobs they wanted to apply for. At interviews, the client said that multiple interviewers complemented the résumé and cover letter I wrote for the individual.


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