Harvard University Graduate School of Design

resume summary vs resume objective

How to write a professional summary?

As we said before, a good professional summary should compel an employer to read the next section of your resume — that’s all. If it manages to do that, then it has accomplished its purpose.

  • Write your professional summary last. It’s surprisingly easy once you’ve already written other sections of your resume. All you have to do is cherry-pick the most impressive facts and stats.
  • Tailor it to a specific job opening. Star with the job listing that made you apply for the job. Carefully reread it and find the most important keywords. These are the nouns or phrases that best describe the job position, related skills, as well as the ideal candidate. Before you begin to write, think about how they intersect with your own skills and experiences. In this way, you also have a higher chance to get through the ATS systems which companies use.
  • The first bullet point should describe your professional title. Don’t forget to add the number of years of experience. You want to communicate your professional identity immediately. You can also write it in bold. It can look something like this: “Certified Project Management Professional with over 4 years of experience”.
  • Pick the 3-4 most impressive parts of your resume and reword them into snappy bullet points. Tease your potential employer into reading further. Did you win an award for the best customer service? Or hit 95 % of sales targets for five consecutive years? These are the things that deserve a mention at the top of your resume!
  • Translate each achievement into numbers. Each bullet point should contain at least one piece of quantifiable data. Use percentages, numbers or impressive sales figures. It gives the hiring manager a better idea of how you performed in your previous jobs. Numbers attract attention. Take advantage of that.
  • Sum up what you have to offer. Instead of saying what you want, keep in mind what they want. Make clear what values you can bring to the company. Look for common threads in your work history and for skills which apply most to the job.

resume summary example

Tip 1: How to Write an Education Section that Stands Out

The education section demonstrates that you have the academic qualifications for the position. The key questions you should ask yourself while writing this section is, “Have I clearly communicated the strongest and most relevant aspects of my educational experience?” The next question is, “Is this section organized in a way that is easily readable by the employer?”

The education section is important for all applicants but may be weighted differently depending on how long it has been since you graduated from a degree program. For instance, an employer may have a different level of interest in the educational history of a college senior, compared to someone who has been professionally working for several years after college. Understanding this fact may influence where you choose to place this section on your resume.

In general, you should include all of the higher education that you may have had, including undergraduate, graduate, or professional schooling. You may also consider including online courses, certificates, and completed programs through companies like Coursera. Most people list their experiences in an order called reverse chronological, meaning that they list the most recent experience first, and work backwards down the page.

For each listed school, provide the full name of the school or online program, the years of your attendance, your major or majors, if applicable, as well as a minor if applicable. Include the type of degree received (e.g. a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science) and the year of graduation. If you are graduating soon, include the month and year of graduation so employers know when you will be available to work. If you have studied abroad, include the institution, program of study, and any relevant coursework.

You may want to include which semesters you qualified for special academic recognition, if any. Other special awards, scholarships, or competitive grants can also be listed in this section. If you have non-academic awards, such as for sports or community service, you may choose to create a separate section of your resume for honors and awards.

Résumé Formating Tips


How to write your résumé

✔ Be honest
✔ Use easy to read fonts
✔ Use simple words and action verbs
✔ Include unpaid internships to showcase your skills
✔ Limit your résumé to two pages max (one page if you’re early in your career
✔ Write the résumé to suit the position you are applying for
✔ Proofread you résumé
✔ finish crafting and then start editing it

How not to write your résumé

✔ Don’t include reasons for leaving your previous job
✔ Don’t include references – instead say that references will be provided if requested
✔ Avoid using too many bullet points
✔ Don’t save your résumé as a PDF unless asked to
✔ Don’t use an inappropriate email address
✔ Avoid including unnecessary information like your age, weight, and so on.
✔ Avoid including your picture in your résumé – just let the recruiter focus on your skills.

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