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Job Magician Writing a Powerful Resume Summary  

I know there is research out there from somewhere that says that the summary is the most important part of the resume, so you should have one.  I never read them – I skip immediately to the meat of the resume – but some people obviously do read them. In any case, the summary should take up no more than a third to perhaps a half of the first page of the resume, and no more.

Rule #1: Skip the self praise!  Highly professional, team builder, passionate leader - what balderdash! And what a waste of valuable space at a key location in your resume. Most summaries include these, and I have no idea why so many people insist on putting these in.  I’m probably beginning to sound like a broken record if you’ve been reading other sections of Job Magician, but nothing sounds faker than someone describing themselves as results-oriented, a strategic thinker, or driven.  You’ve obviously read a lot of resumes yourself by this point in your career, and did you ever pull one out of the pile because of how they described themselves?  No?  Then what did catch your attention?

Rule #2:  Position yourself quickly!  What caught your eye was proof that this person had something you needed.  You need to position yourself – quickly – with your resume.  One way is to name drop what you’ve done.  Harcourt Potter (click here to link to the summary in his resume)  name-dropped the accounts to which he has sold, and quickly positioned himself as someone who knows his way around the major channels of consumer products distribution.

You may not be in sales and marketing, but there must be keywords in your job that quickly will allow the reader to position you … and make him want to read further.  A few examples would be:

... Linux

... Directed engineering and design of automotive chassis for Ford, Subaru, Toyota and Caterpillar

... Processes included blow-molding, injection molding and metal stamping, with tolerances to .00001”

... Managed programs with the Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Raytheon

... Full Profit and Loss responsibility

... Modified reporting systems to comply with Sarbanes Oxley

The reader has just seen Sarbanes Oxley, an area he desperately needs help with.  He’s continuing to read the rest of your resume, which  has a paragraph explaining specifically where, when and how you modified things to meet the Sarbanes Oxley requirements.  And you thought name droppers were just irritating nebbishes at parties.

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