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Writing a qualifications summary

From: Creating an Effective Resume

Video: Writing a qualifications summary

You have approximately ten seconds to catch the attention of a hiring manager before your resume is screened out. Because of this, the information you place at the top of your resume can either make you or break you. But a powerful and persuasive qualifications summary can capture and captivate the reader's attention in those precious ten seconds and entice them to read further. In a survey of over 600 hiring managers, an overwhelming majority stated that the most important part of the resume is a qualification summary-- yes, the most important part! That's a pretty powerful statement. And get this: the survey also conveyed that only 5% of the resumes they've received included one.

Writing a qualifications summary

You have approximately ten seconds to catch the attention of a hiring manager before your resume is screened out. Because of this, the information you place at the top of your resume can either make you or break you. But a powerful and persuasive qualifications summary can capture and captivate the reader's attention in those precious ten seconds and entice them to read further. In a survey of over 600 hiring managers, an overwhelming majority stated that the most important part of the resume is a qualification summary-- yes, the most important part! That's a pretty powerful statement. And get this: the survey also conveyed that only 5% of the resumes they've received included one.

Just think how that can improve your chances over the rest of the candidates by simply using this tool. A qualifications summary is your marquee, so to speak. It's a synopsis of your topmost professional skills and experience, your abilities and your talents and credentials, your achievements and your accomplishments, any quantifiable results such as dollar amounts that you can include, or percentages, your education, your personal characteristics, or anything that makes you the most qualified for the job.

Your qualifications summary should convey your top qualifications that define you as an exceptional performer in your field by using three to five impactful sentences or three to five bullet points. Or you can even use a combination of both by writing a qualification paragraph statement directly followed by a few bullet points. So how do you write a qualifications summary? First and foremost, think like an advertising copywriter. You must know what the consumer wants in order to know how to best to sell the product.

The product in this case of course is you. Do your homework and thoroughly research the employer and the requirements of the job at hand. The closer you can match your skills to the job, the better you can target your resume and prove that you are the best fit for this position. I've seen many people struggle with knowing what their true sellable skills are. Ask ex-supervisors and co-workers what they think your top abilities skills and accomplishments are. Then ask family and friends what they feel are your most outstanding personal attributes.

They may give you a completely different list of qualities that you would never even thought of yourself. Be careful of asking present coworkers and supervisors for their input. This may lead to you needing a job sooner than you think. Instead, look through your past evaluations and see where you've made above average scores. Ask yourself these types of questions by filling in the blanks under the Qualifications Summary section of the Career Management worksheet that comes with this course.

What makes you specifically qualified for this particular position? What are you most proud of that you've done in your career? How have you been recognized by winning special awards, commendations, or honors during your career? If you've recently graduated, did you receive any scholarships or academic awards? Have you assisted in increasing the company's bottom line, saved the company time, or increased productivity. What do you do better than others in your industry, and how do you do it better? What suggestions have you made that were implemented? What are your strongest strengths? How many years of experience do you have in your career or your industry, and what makes you stand out from the crowd? Now it's time to pull it all together.

Begin writing a list of your top five marketable credentials based on your research. Remember, your qualifications summary is the core of your resume and is what can really make it come alive and sparkle. Sprinkle keywords throughout your summary and speaking of sprinkling, don't forget to include your action verbs. You may center creating one main resume targeted to your career. This will be the resume you can post to resume banks. You can use your main resume as a template for creating your targeted resumes for each particular position that you are applying for.

You may need to change the qualification summary slightly according to the decision that you're targeting. Be sure to save each under a different file name; perhaps name each targeted resume by the name of the company that you're applying for. You'll need to bring it to the interview with you. Take your time. Your qualifications summary is your resume's marquee and can really make you stand out from the crowd by showcasing your most impressive attributes.

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This video is part of

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Creating an Effective Resume

49 video lessons · 29178 viewers

Mariann Siegert
Author

 
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  1. 3m 51s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
      54s
    3. Filling out the career management worksheet
      1m 34s
  2. 29m 13s
    1. Creating a marketing campaign
      2m 50s
    2. Discovering your dream job
      3m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of keywords
      2m 14s
    4. Finding essential keywords
      6m 34s
    5. Incorporating action verbs
      4m 51s
    6. Getting results using PAR statements
      4m 40s
    7. Researching the employer
      4m 25s
  3. 37m 2s
    1. Targeting your resume
      7m 16s
    2. Sidestepping blunders and the "10-Second Screen-Out"
      5m 44s
    3. Deciding on resume length
      6m 29s
    4. Keeping your resume concise
      5m 23s
    5. Refreshing your resume
      4m 52s
    6. Critiquing your resume
      3m 31s
    7. Avoiding identity theft
      3m 47s
  4. 21m 14s
    1. Entering the workforce
      7m 48s
    2. Filling in employment gaps
      5m 21s
    3. Dealing with long-term employment
      3m 9s
    4. Switching career paths
      4m 56s
  5. 12m 38s
    1. Understanding resume jargon
      1m 27s
    2. Reverse chronological
      2m 25s
    3. Functional
      6m 11s
    4. Combined chrono-functional
      2m 35s
  6. 7m 1s
    1. Understanding the curriculum vitae (CV)
      3m 29s
    2. Working with online resumes and portfolios
      3m 32s
  7. 41m 23s
    1. Formatting fundamentals for your resume
      6m 39s
    2. Including (or not including) an objective
      4m 10s
    3. Creating a headline
      5m 1s
    4. Writing a qualifications summary
      4m 47s
    5. Showcasing achievements vs. listing job duties
      5m 31s
    6. Including technical information
      5m 22s
    7. Putting your education to work
      4m 41s
    8. Including awards, honors, and other information
      5m 12s
  8. 19m 1s
    1. Knowing which file format is best
      2m 10s
    2. Saving to earlier versions of Word
      2m 48s
    3. Saving as a PDF
      5m 27s
    4. Creating a RTF version
      3m 54s
    5. Saving to HTML format
      4m 42s
  9. 15m 9s
    1. Evaluating online resume banks
      5m 32s
    2. Writing effective names for resume banks
      3m 43s
    3. Double-checking formatting after uploading
      2m 45s
    4. Becoming too visible
      3m 9s
  10. 21m 45s
    1. Creating a cover letter
      7m 47s
    2. Compiling your references
      4m 35s
    3. Writing thank-you notes
      5m 38s
    4. Printing, copying, and the importance of paper
      3m 45s
  11. 52s
    1. Goodbye
      52s

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