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Is Your Resume’s Career Summary a Failure?

Ask any Resume Writer and she or he will tell you that the vast iStock_000018433363Smallmajority of homemade resumes have poorly written summaries. Ideally, a resume’s career summary should contain a number of key elements, including:

  • A title and/or positioning statement that clarifies what kind of position(s) you are seeking.
  • A brief summary of your career brand or value proposition statement.
  • A clear indication of the impacts or results you have created throughout your work history.
  • Any credentials or pedigree elements that set your candidacy apart.

All of this content should be wrapped up into just a few lines of lean text and used to introduce additional achievements you wish to highlight. And yes, that’s quite doable!

Consider this summary from a real-life, self-written resume. Do you think it’s strong enough to get this candidate interviews?

Sample Summary:

I am an operations executive with extensive experience managing multiple plants in the U.S., Mexico and Asia primarily in the electronic and industrial sectors. I have a very technical approach to management utilizing Lean, Six Sigma and TS techniques to drive down costs and improve service. Strengths include global supply chain management, product development, ERP systems including forecasting and planning. Over 10 years P&L experience as GM/COO with a strong financial acumen.

At first glance this summary might appear to be a good one. After all, it contains some key details about this candidate’s work experience. However, the problem is that this summary doesn’t help this candidate to stand out. There is nothing in the above paragraph which would not be true of most candidates applying for the same kinds of roles. In reality, this summary makes this candidate look and sound like every other applicant for the job.

That doesn’t help at all.

Here are a few of the issues I see with this career summary.

Sample Liabilities:

  • Although this summary indicates the candidate is an operations executive, it does not communicate anything further about her desired next role.
  • “Multiple” plants is vague – share the number, focus on more relevant details, or eliminate this fact altogether.
  • There are punctuation and grammatical errors in this paragraph, including missing commas and a missing colon needed for possessive usage (10 years).
  • Although this summary represents a C-suite executive, we have no idea that is so until we arrive at the final sentence.
  • This summary provides almost no unique-to-this-candidate information and thus does not brand her IT leadership experience. This paragraph does not set her apart or make her readers want to know more about her.

And to help make my point for me, here’s a revamp of this same summary using just a few facts I pulled from this woman’s resume.

Sample Makeover:

Finance-savvy Senior Operations Executive and experienced GM/COO who rose through the manufacturing ranks to executive leadership of electronic and industrial plants throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica with up to $500M P&L. Leverage Lean, Six Sigma, and TS techniques to drive costs down +30% and fuel business growth from $30M to $100M in 3 years. MBA-educated with PMP.

Do you see the difference?

More importantly, are you inspired to makeover your own career summary? I hope so!