Hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time reviewing resumes. They receive hundreds of applications every day. They go through as many candidates as possible. Recruiters will look for skills and experiences that are needed for the job. Therefore if you want to get noticed right away, you should include a summary of qualifications on your resume.
What Is A Qualifications Summary?
The resume is your marketing tool. Its content should spark the interest of the recruiter. When writing one, you should be thinking, “What would make the company want to hire me?”
Thus, a qualifications summary should outline your most attractive selling points. Its purpose is to show you as the best candidate for the job. For this reason, choose qualifications that cover all the bases.
What bases are we talking about?
- Strongest skill sets for the job;
- Achievements at work;
- Contributions to the company’s success;
- Awards and citations received
- Citations in media;
- People skills;
- Problem- solving skills;
- Ability to manage projects;
- Ability to produce results
The qualifications summary is placed near the top of the resume. Recruiters will see it right away. It must be short but concise. The details are presented in bullet point format for easier reading. Hence, choose your best qualifications that can be fitted into 5 to 6 bullet points.
Likewise, review the job ad. Get an idea of which skills to include in your summary.
When Human Resources (HR) write job ads, they post the skills required for the job. In addition to hard skills, they may include soft skills, minimum work experience, and certifications.
Take note of the details stated in the job post. Find out if you have these skills. If you do, put them in your summary list. Doing so will show that you are qualified for the job. Furthermore, the company will note that you read the ad in detail.
Do You Need A Qualifications Summary On Your Resume?
Your resume is a valuable real estate. The content you put must raise its value. Therefore, you have to think of the best way to present your skills.
One question that comes to mind is whether applicants should use a qualifications summary or a career objective.
They both highlight your most qualifications. The key difference lies in how these sections are written.
A career objective focuses on “why” the applicant wants this job. The qualifications summary shows the employer “what” skills and experiences he/she brings on-board the company.
For the reason that it is focused on the needs of the company, a qualifications summary should be on your resume.
Here are 3 benefits of having a qualifications summary on your resume:
- The summary brings your strongest skill set and greatest career achievements front and center. It is located near the top of the resume where it will surely be seen by the recruiter. Inform them know what you can do for them.
- Help you pass Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Companies use ATS to identify keywords targeted for the job. This is done as a pre-qualifying measure to speed up the selection process. Review the job ad. The details on the ad are those keywords.Because of this reason, you should include those details in your summary. They will help you pass the ATS.
- As we mentioned earlier, the qualifications summary will make the recruiter’s job easier. It will push the person reviewing your resume to give it attention and focus.
However, despite these benefits, the summary may not be for everyone.
Who Should Put A Qualifications Summary On The Resume?
The qualifications summary will greatly benefit applicants with vast experience and varied skill sets. These are the applicants who have more than 5 years experience in the industry. They also gained skills throughout the years.
People applying for jobs that require certifications will also benefit from putting a summary on the resume:
- A Software Developer with an Expert Level certification from Microsoft will have an advantage over someone who doesn’t.
- An accountant with a CPA will have better- paying job offers than an applicant who doesn’t have certification.
- Office Assistant applicants with longer work experience and more knowledge of popular computer software will get more attention.
How about fresh graduates?
Yes, the qualifications summary will benefit the graduate if he/she has impressive credentials from school. The summary should showcase:
- Honors and achievements;
- School organizations;
- Achievements in the student council;
- Projects managed;
- Civic work;
- Academic achievements;
- GPA higher than 3.5.
Consequently, applicants with no experience and few achievements will not benefit from having a summary.
On the contrary, it may even affect your chances of getting the interview. It will draw focus on your weak points and flaws. You will be better off with a career objective.
The career objective will let you share your story with the recruiter. Within 4 sentences, explain your career choice and why you want to apply for the job.
What Is The Difference Between Qualifications Summary And Work Experience?
Before we discuss the types of resume qualification examples, let’s distinguish it from work experience.
Many applicants get confused between the two because they have a similar look and feel. However, each one plays a different role in your resume.
As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of the summary is to present you as the best candidate among all applicants. It is placed near the top of the resume where it can be seen right away. Therefore you need to select your top skills and abilities for the summary.
In contrast, your work experience is a summary of your duties. It has more details on your previous job. This way, the recruiter will get a better idea of the type of work you did in your previous employment.
While the qualifications summary can be written in any order, work experience is usually presented in reverse chronological format.
Thus, a well-written summary can encourage the recruiter to review your work experience. Consequently, a poor one may discourage him/her altogether.
Resume Qualification Summary Examples
We’ve provided you three examples of a qualification summary for a resume. These are for management-level, rank- and- file applicants and graduates.
Example 1: IT Manager Qualifications Summary
IT Manager I Problem Solver – Creative Thinker – Results Driven
- 12 years experience in the technology industry; providing expertise in the fields of healthcare, finance, and retail.
- Managed a team of 20 technology specialists including software engineers, business analysts, network engineers, systems analysts and software testers.
- Developed network security and data protection programs that resulted in 10,000 blocked threats every day.
- Designed software programs that improved productivity by 333% and reduced operating costs by 81%.
- Awarded 2017 Manager of The Year award by RBC Retail Specialists Inc.
Example 2: Office Administrator Qualifications Summary
Office Administrator I Efficient – Highly Organized – Resourceful
- Certified by the CAP and ALP as an Office Administrator.
- 10 years work experience as Office Administrator in various industries: telecommunications, legal and healthcare.
- Highly proficient with the following programs and applications: Asana, SalesForce, WebEx, DropBox, and MS Office.
- Typing speed of 53 wpm.
- Ability to research and prepare multiple 2,400- word reports per week.
- Organized team building activities including seminars, outings, leadership training and family days.
Example 3: Fresh Graduate Qualifications Summary
Research Assistant I Dedicated – Detail Oriented – Hard Working
- Bachelor of Science, Economics; 3.77 GPA.
- Research Assistant; College of Economics; 2015 to 2017.
- Experienced with STATA, SAS and SPSS programs.
- Worked with a team of 5 research assistants.
- Awarded 2017 Best Thesis “The Informal Sector as a Measure of Poverty”.
As you have seen, these are all attention- grabbing strong points. The skills you put on your resume should impress the recruiter. They should make him/her set your resume aside for the interview.
If you want to know how to arrange your list, go back to the job ad. See how the requirements are shown.
For example, If experience is listed as the priority requirement and you have the tenure, put it first on your summary.
The qualifications summary can be a powerful tool to get you the interview. It is your chance to showcase your strong selling points right off the bat. Recruiters love it because the summary makes the job easier. A well- written summary will give the recruiter a reason to explore your resume further.
People with experience will benefit from having a summary of the resume. It will allow you to present the skills and knowledge acquired through the years. Recruiters will immediately notice what you can bring to the company. It will answer the question, “Why should I hire you?”
Similarly, graduates can use the summary to their advantage. They should state awards and citations. Likewise, they should include internships and volunteer work.
If your employment tenure is short and if you have not achieved much, go with the career objective. Also, don’t confuse the list of qualifications with your scope of work. The summary is not as detailed. The scope of work outlines what you did in your previous job.
Take your time writing the summary. Your objective is to appear as well-rounded as possible. Refer to the job post. Get an idea of the required skills. Choose experiences and achievements that best define your career.