I Don’t Want to Read Your Resume Summary!

Robin Judson |

Job hunters often send us resumes that have extensive summaries at the top.  Professional resume writers love to advise job hunters of the necessity of including those summaries.  When we see these in-depth statements on resumes, we assume that the resume was written by an outplacement company or a resume service, not the job hunter.  We are usually right.

I have a pet peeve about those summaries.  No matter how much detail is included, I don’t get a sense of the individual from reading them.  I think these statements homogenize the person. The summary takes space away from the details of the roles.

Even worse, when a resume starts out, “Seasoned investment professional with 35 years of experience,” the reader may think any of the following:

  • This guy has more experience than I do and he is going to want my job
  • This guy is old. Why isn’t he retiring?
  • This guy won’t want this job. He will take it and jump as soon as something more senior comes along
  • I can’t afford this guy
  • This guy will not be able to adapt to our culture.

Many of those reactions are illegal and discriminatory but good luck with that.

What about key words to get past the bots that screen the resumes?  Use those words in the body of your resume and the screening software will pick them up. You will have more room for the details and successes you want to share.

I do not mind when there is a sentence or two that describes who the person is. That can prove quite useful.  If I were putting together my own resume and someone insisted that I put a summary at the top, it would likely say,

Experienced executive recruiter focused on roles at all levels in hedge funds, private equity and investment banking.  Wide network, deep industry knowledge and determination to assure the most advantageous matches.

However, I have never had a summary on my resume and I never will.  Save yourself the effort and angst and don’t add one to yours.

If you found this article helpful you might also want to check out, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Advice From a Famous(ish) Quitter


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