How to Write A Winning Career Summary

By Relebohile Sera

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

A single job posting can attract thousands of applications. This makes the job of hiring managers tedious. Imagine having to read through every single curriculum vitae while looking for a perfect candidate for the post. There’s never any time for that! Instead of then going through each and every CV that hits their desks, they will only normally look at your career summary.

A career summary is a brief but powerful tool that summarizes your experience and key selling points in a maximum of 150 words. You can use it to help your CV stand out. Primarily, the reader should be able to grasp who you are in those few sentences, such that if they did not read past the first page they have a fairly good idea of your entire profile.

Your career summary must contain ACTUAL experience and ACTUAL achievements. Words like “I am self-motivated, self-driven, highly motivated, etc” mean nothing unless backed up by real and definite examples. Your summary then should match the employer’s needs, list achievements and skills, and include measurable achievements.

Take the following steps to have yourself a winning career summary:

Write your Career Summary Last

Yes, you got that right! Complete your CV first before trying to master this section. Your career summary summarizes your whole CV and what better way to work around it than complete the entire document. If you have written a business plan, then you will have an idea of what I’m talking about. Grab the bits and pieces from your CV that will make you stand out for the job and have yourself a winning career summary.

Conduct a Research

While going through a job description may give you insights on what the job really requires from you, going a little overboard and researching similar jobs will do a trick. Some job postings may not go into greater detail while listing the description of that specific job posting and a little research may help you know what things will catch the hiring manager’s eye faster.

Review your Credentials

Look at all your abilities, skills, achievements, qualifications, etc listed in your CV. Compare them with your research and pick the ones that relate more to the job requirements. And based on the research, do you measure up? Would you help your potential employer meet their goals? Do you have any added bonus besides your qualifications? Ensure that your credentials really match what is required of you in the job.

Relay the value you bring to the company

This is not the time to be modest or shy; it is time to sell yourself. You already have the perfect credentials for the job posting in hand; then merge them into your career summary. Explain how you would help solve your potential employer’s problems. Mention the value you bring to the employer, not just what you wish to gain from them.

Focus on your Target

Your aim while drafting a career summary is getting that desired job. This, in essence, means that for every single job posting you wish to apply for, your career summary should be tailored to fit it accordingly.

Proofread, Filter and Perfect

Proofreading is one of the few things a lot of people take for granted. You may have described yourself as someone who pays great attention to detail but have numerous grammatical errors on your Career Summary.

Proof read your work, a couple times at most, and if you aren’t satisfied with it ask someone to go through it for you. It will surprise you how many little mistakes you could have made and not spotted during your proofreading. Is your summary persuasive and free of errors? Is your tone appropriate for your career field?

Note, though, that there is a huge difference between a career summary and a career objective. While a career objective proves you want a job, a career summary shows you are qualified for that job. Don’t confuse the two!

Relebohile Sera (Ms) is a Professional Certified Career Coach. My mission in life is to help people be successful in their careers and to provide coaching for those seeking a new career direction.