How To Write an Executive Summary for a Resume

Updated 9 December 2022

Your executive summary is one of the first sections hiring managers may read when viewing your resume. Reviewing your executive summary can give employers a brief understanding of your background, skills and expertise. It's important to craft a compelling summary that's relevant to the role and poses you as the ideal candidate. In this article, we discuss what an executive summary for a resume is, explain why it's important, detail how to write your own and share examples of effective executive summaries.

Related: Understanding Resume Design (Definition, Steps and Tips)

What is an executive summary for a resume?

An executive summary is a section of your resume, typically at the top of the document, that briefly describes your experience, accomplishments and skills. It's typically three to five sentences long and highlights how your achievements and abilities make you a valuable candidate for the role. Most candidates use this type of summary when applying for executive or senior-level roles.

Why is an executive summary important?

An executive summary is important because it's often the first section a hiring manager reads of your resume to get a better impression of you and your abilities. An executive summary may convince the recruiter to read more of your resume to determine what makes you the ideal candidate for the job.

An executive summary improves your resume by enabling you to showcase the aspects that make you a great candidate. Most executive positions require advanced knowledge, experience and skills. An executive summary is an effective way to highlight these qualities in a few short sentences. Listing your strengths and accomplishments in a professional and comprehensive format can attract the hiring manager's attention and entice them to continue reading to get more in-depth details about your expertise.

What makes a good executive summary?

A good executive summary should be brief and relevant to the role. It should focus on proving to the recruiter that you are the ideal candidate for the job. A great executive summary should also closely match the role preferences and requirements listed in the job description. This shows hiring managers you have the knowledge and experience they're searching for and can complete the tasks involved in the role.

Try to be as specific as possible in your summary as well. Mention certain accomplishments you met and use numbers to ensure your results are measurable and accurate. Keep your executive summary professional by reviewing it for any spelling or grammatical errors.

Related: How to Use Resume Adjectives (With Examples)

How to write an executive summary

Your executive summary should highlight attributes that show you're a quality candidate and help you stand out from others. Follow these steps to write an impressive executive summary for your resume to impress hiring managers:

1. Review the job description

Adjust your executive summary to match the specific job position you're applying for by reviewing the job description. Read through the description carefully to better understand the skills, experience and academic qualifications an employer is looking for in prospective candidates. Try to find keywords within the job description that you can highlight in your summary.

Keywords are phrases or words used in the requirements or preferences sections to describe the skills or experience they're looking for in quality candidates. Take note of these keywords and determine which you can feature naturally in your executive summary.

Related: 139 Action Verbs To Make Your Resume Stand Out

2. Highlight the qualities that make you a great fit for the role

Think about the qualities you have that make you stand out from other candidates, and consider highlighting these strengths in your summary. Try to use your executive summary to sell yourself and describe why these qualities make you stand out, add value to the role and pose yourself as the best fit for the position. Consider using action verbs when listing any tasks completed or contributions made to the role.

Read more: Skills Employers Look For (And Tips on How to Showcase Them)

3. Craft the first sentence

You can use bullet points or sentences to summarise your professional background. Your first sentence should provide an introduction to your executive experience by briefly summarising your career. You can mention your job title, years of experience and an adjective to describe you.

Related: How to Write a Resume Introduction (Guide and Examples)

4. List your accomplishments and skills

The next one to three sentences or bullet points can highlight your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Demonstrate how these skills and accomplishments relate directly to the job. Review your list of keywords and include them in these sentences when possible. Lead with your most valuable skills or accomplishments that highlight your ability to excel as an executive.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include on a Resume

5. Include additional achievements

The last sentence or two of your summary should wrap up your strengths. Include additional notable accomplishments that may impress hiring managers and make them want to continue reading your resume. Add any specific achievements you contributed to previous roles that enhanced the company's performance or made an impression on previous employers.

Read more: How To List Achievements for a Resume (With Examples)

Examples of executive summaries to include in your resume

A compelling executive summary can attract the hiring manager's attention and pose you as an impressive candidate for the role. Use these examples to better understand how to craft a resume for different types of roles:

Healthcare sales executive

  • Innovative healthcare sales executive

  • Ability to use strategies to take advantage of untapped healthcare products

  • Experience in negotiating a partnership with reputable distributors of healthcare products

  • Firsthand experience in revitalising underperforming healthcare through sustainable and scalable strategies

Human resources manager

  • Progressive experience in managing employees

  • Experience in managing employee hiring and onboarding

  • Experience in performance management processes

  • Past achievement in building solid relationships with employees

Business manager

  • Over 15 years of experience in business leadership and management

  • Flexible business management professional with a solid track record in managing and building business relationships

  • Experience in designing business management modules

  • A transformational and flexible business leader with a knack for creating effective business strategies

Social media marketing executive

  • Social media professional with proven successes in crafting effective social media strategies

  • Extensive experience in utilising multiple social media platforms, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook

  • Knowledge of leading social media campaigns

  • Experience in promoting client engagement, consequently increasing conversions and web traffic

Marketing manager

  • A seasoned marketing manager with over a decade of marketing experience

  • Experience in conducting email marketing campaigns

  • Past success in implementing effective marketing strategies

  • Knowledge of inbound marketing and social media marketing

Read more: 10 Skills Needed for Marketing You Can Add to Your Resume

Warehouse supervisor

  • Warehouse supervisor with experience in customer service warehouse management and forklift experience

  • Dependable manager with more than 10 years of warehouse management experience

  • An expert in inventory management

  • Experience working in positions demanding high responsibility

Related: How to Create a Forklift Driver Resume Objective (With Tips)

IT project manager

  • IT project manager with a wealth of IT experience

  • Knowledge of computer networking strategies

  • Creative and strong problem-solving and analytical skills

  • Ability to apply IT strategies to improve customer service

Marketing executive

  • A dynamic marketing executive with vast marketing experience

  • Ability to uncover crucial marketing drivers

  • An eye for discovering marketing opportunities

  • Experience in marketing management

Project manager

  • Project management professional with years of delivering and initiating sustainable project management strategies

  • Essential experience in strategising and managing cross-functional teams

  • Experience in managing project management processes

  • An expert consultant in project management

Finance management executive

  • An experienced finance management strategist

  • A keen interest in building businesses

  • Ability to define new business strategies

  • Flexible and willing to emulate new financial strategies

Related: How to Write a Finance Executive Resume (With Example)

Chief executive officer

  • Chief executive officer with over 10 years of experience leading organisational operations

  • Experience developing policies that enhanced company efficiencies by 20%

  • Apply advanced writing abilities to create vision and mission statements

  • Oversee the fiscal and financial activities of the organisation by implementing budgets, audits and reports

Vice president of communications

  • Highly experienced vice president with over 20 years in the marketing, public relations and communication fields

  • Apply advanced organisation, scheduling and time management skill sets toward building engaging public relations campaigns

  • Five years of experience developing communications strategies that reach key target audiences and enhance company brand awareness

  • Use enhanced event planning skills to host press conferences, educational seminars and fundraising campaigns

Director of operations

  • A director of operations expert with over 15 years of business and organisational operations experience

  • Create and oversee various customer retention initiatives

  • Experience developing growth strategies and training procedures to onboard 50 new employees in one year

  • Use advanced leadership abilities to motivate, guide and train team members to grow and advance in their fields

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Professional Resume

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.


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