The Resume Professional Summary: Is it Necessary?

How important is the Professional Summary on a Resume?

Imagine your baking a chocolate cake. You mix water, sugar, flour, and baking soda.  You put only these contents in the oven and bake.

Whoops, the chocolate was not added. Not adding any chocolate to the chocolate cake sounds ludicrous.  Not adding Professional Summary to your resume is really the same concept. That’s right, the Professional Summary is the main ingredient on your resume.


I would argue, in fact, the Professional Summary contains about 80% of the resume’s value. The person reading resume will likely scan the Professional Summary, and if it isn’t effective, they will read no further. If there is no Professional Summary, chances are they will just skip your resume and move on. As a resume reader, searching all over the resume for skills is downright frustrating. Just skipping the resume and moving on to the next applicant is much more efficient.

Writing a solid Professional Summary is actually quite simple. First, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Identify what they believe is important to know about you. Chances are they have a job opening based on a need that they are often times desperate to address (in fairness, the desperation doesn’t reflect in the pay often). If you properly answer the question: Why are you the best person who can perform the needs in the job description? The manager will not have a choice but to schedule that interview right away!

Now, I said the Professional Summary is 80% of the resume’s value. Why is the rest of the resume only 20% of value? The Education Summary is simply to indicate for the reader your highest degree or certifications/training completed. You could be the best student of all time, but in the crude world of hiring, industry experience trumps educational accomplishments. The Work Experience Summary (I prefer to call it Detailed Summary) simply shows what companies you performed the skills in the Professional Summary, the size of the companies, the industry related relevance in your past, and if you have a solid work history.

There’s value in the other summaries, no doubt. However, readers do take 6 seconds to scan a resume. Make it easy on the reader, and add a powerful Professional Summary to land that interview!

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