The Executive Summary: Key to Selling You
By Kim Isaacs and Karen Hofferber, Certified Professional Resume Writers

The “Executive Summary” (AKA “Executive Profile”) is typically placed below the resume’s headline or title. This brief section consists of one or two short paragraphs or several bulleted statements condensing for employers your breadth of experience, major areas of strength, relevant highlights from your background. The summary should project your brand message, and is the perfect place to really “sell” yourself. If done well, this section should convince an employer to contact you for an interview.

Your summary should explain how an employer would benefit by hiring you. It should encapsulate the key strengths you bring to the table and convincingly address why you should be called for an interview vs. your competition. Keep your summary concise. You’re not telling your life story here. Just hit on whatever elements from your background are most compelling in terms of your new career target. You will expound on these strengths later in the resume. Summarize your most marketable traits, experience, and credentials.

Before you begin your executive summary section, make sure you have a solid grasp of what employers are looking for in your targeted field. Research job ads on the web or in the newspaper similar to what you are looking for to identify the key skills and credentials you offer that match employers’ needs. Compare the job ads you find and take note of similarities between your background and frequently requested/required skills mentioned in these ads.

Draw up a list of your top five to ten marketable skills and accomplishments, and use this as the basis for your executive summary. Keep in mind that employers particularly value executives who can prove they have helped to generate revenue, enhance shareholder value, improve morale, save time, cut costs, improve service, solve problems, or further company goals. These traits are universally valued, regardless of the industry or field you are pursuing, so detail your most standout accomplishments in these areas in your Executive Summary.

Reprinted with permission from The McGraw-Hill Companies, excerpted from The Career Change Resume by Kim Isaacs and Karen Hofferber. All rights reserved.