Don’t lead with a boring summary statement on your résumé

Nearly two years ago I read an article by Laura Smith-Proulx, Award-Winning Executive Résumé Writer, called Is Your Résumé Summary Boring Employers? In her article, she asserts that jobseekers need to state accomplishments upfront in the summary, not simply save them all for the work history.

I took exception to Laura’s assertion, thinking why reveal the good stuff so early in the game. I mean wouldn’t it be like showing the opposing team your best routes in football warm-ups or your homerun power during batting practice or giving your kids the best Christmas gifts first?

So I contacted Laura and asked for her reasons behind showing the firepower so soon on a résumé. I don’t recall her exact words, but the general gist was get the employers’ attention quick and, yes, save enough fire power for the rest of your résumé. This made complete sense to me.

Since our correspondence, I’ve rethought my reasoning and believe in the great WOW statements that Laura describes so aptly in her article. I now tell my workshop attendees (of all levels) that a summary full of clichés, lofty adjectives, and broad statements of greatness are garbage. And why would an employer want to read thoughtless verbiage, let alone a boring summary?

Allow me to quote Laura: “You’re boring hiring managers if your résumé contains an opening paragraph like this: Accomplished professional with proven experience leading cross-functional teams, managing budgets, increasing revenue, and creating strong customer relationships. Able to work effectively in fast-paced environments, lead teams to successful project delivery, and communicate at all levels of the organization.

Instead, she advises to start with a concise, quantified accomplishment: “Logistics Director noted for launching global supply chain that cut expenses by $1M, plus orchestrating consistent supplies across U.S. operations for 19 distribution centers.”

The difference between the former boring summary and the latter precise, metric-driven WOW statement hits you over the head. Proudly displaying three or four accomplishment statements in your summary will prompt employers to pick up the phone immediately and schedule the interview.

Jobseekers, read Laura’s article and practice what she tell us. Employers will not be bored and will look forward to reading the rest of your résumé.


2 thoughts on “Don’t lead with a boring summary statement on your résumé

  1. Bill Ryan

    Be careful of this approach of placing too many accomplishments up front. Many recruiters, I have found with experience, would rather see accomplishments attached to specific positions and not separated from where and when they occurred.


    1. Things Career Related Post author

      That’s a good point, Bill. The idea is to not blow the load, rather to ignite some interest in reading the rest of the resume. I’m not a big fan of Career Achievements just for the reason you state. Where and when were the accomplishments achieved. Thanks.



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