As an introduction to your resume, the qualifications summary is a an excellent option to make sure your application stands out and grabs the attention of a potential employer.
Hiring managers or human resource staff spend hours looking through resumes when they have a vacancy, this can become very tedious when all of the applications they receive have similar work experience or skill sets. That is why learning how to write a winning qualifications summary for your resume could be the key to earning you a chance at an interview for your dream job.
Having an attractive, optimized resume introduction like a qualification summary, also known as a professional profile or summary of qualifications, which showcases your strengths in a short, clear section right at the beginning of your resume is a surefire way to capture the reader’s interest.
Read on for a simple guide on what to include in a qualifications summary on your resume, tips on how to write it and practical qualification summary examples to help you create one of your own.
The qualifications summary tends to be used more often in functional or combined resume structures as opposed to the classic chronological format but this is not always the case and can be a great addition to any resume.
What is the Qualifications Summary?
Knowing how to write a qualifications summary for a resume can mean the difference between an average application and one that stands out from other candidates.
A qualifications summary is one of three options for a resume introduction that begins by showcasing the most relevant and influential aspects of the candidate’s experience such as their major achievements, skills and qualifications.
Contrary to the resume objective or summary statement, a qualifications summary is written in bullet point format, highlighting the most impressive elements of your professional profile ensuring to focus on the position being applied to.
There are different ways to start a resume and the qualifications summary is an optional section which can be added or replaced depending on each candidate’s needs. The resume format you choose to employ and your level of experience, whether you are writing a student, entry-level or professional resume, will influence your decision to use the qualifications summary or another of the possible resume introductions.
The qualifications summary on a resume is a useful tool for candidates whose resumes will likely be reviewed by Applicant Tracking Systems. The reason for this is that ATS software is designed to read through resumes in order to discard any that do not include the keywords that have been programmed for that particular position. This is a subtle reminder for jobseekers to ensure they use keywords taken from the job description etc. to detail their abilities and knowledge.
To write a qualifications summary which presents the most inviting information about your professional profile, you must ensure that this section concentrates on the benefits that you can bring to the company or position in question. That means that it will include your most outstanding achievements and skills which are relevant to the sector and role to which you are applying.
A qualification summary on a resume often attracts attention from potential employers because it makes their life easier. Hiring managers save time and energy usually spent reading through the entire resume by reading the highlighted qualifications in the summary and are able to get a basic understanding of what that candidate can offer the business.
Key qualifications to include on your resume
Whether you use a resume template or not, it is worthwhile to have an idea of some of the key qualifications to include in your resume to use as a guide.
The following is a step-by-step guide to help you get a better understanding of how to write a qualification summary for your resume using these 6 different points:
1. Start with your expertise: Begin by introducing your years of experience in the field or in similar positions for professional resumes. You can indicate a general overview of your responsibilities in these jobs. Mention here any special courses or training you have undertaken. For students or entry-level candidates, you will include your highest degree and can emphasize majoring or minoring in a subject, any projects or your final thesis as long as it is relevant to the vacancy.
2. Show off your creative side: Explain an instance in which you have introduced, implemented or created a program or practice or found a new solution which has been beneficial to the company or association in some way.
3. Prove your efficiency: Include an example of when you have increased productivity or revenue for the company by any means: using resources well, personal effort, saving time or energy, updating, renewing or improving practices etc.
4. Acknowledgements: Mention any awards or honors you have received for your work or collaboration. If you have been commended in any publications or been praised for your actions in any way related to the position or industry you are applying to, state the source and the reasons for the recognition.
5. Management: Describe any positions of leadership you have held, including the number of people under your supervision, any specific management styles you pertain to or ways in which you have managed a project or assignment and seen it through to the end.
6. Interpersonal skills in practice: Finally, also include an explanation of your social skills regarding communication. This can allude to relationships with coworkers, junior or senior staff, customers, clients or suppliers. Or you could demonstrate your skills in terms of public speaking or giving presentations.
As well as these 6 points which should be addressed as fully and clearly as possible, you can also introduce any other aspects that are relevant to the position and you feel would benefit your application or would be advantageous to offer the company.
Although it is highly recommended to focus your attention on quantifiable examples and the basic information from these points, you can also include other soft or hard skills or certificates which may be unique to your application, while remaining suited to the position, and will therefore stand out in the process. Learn more about how to include professional certificates on your resume.
Following these rules and remembering to tailor your qualification summary to the position on offer will help you to create a resume that will get noticed for the right reasons.
Remember, if you need a little extra guidance, you can also use an online resume builder to help you construct an effective resume for your ideal job with an outstanding qualification summary to boot.
Tips for writing a good qualifications summary
Whether you’re just learning how to write a qualifications summary for your resume or you just need to give it a new spin, these top tips will help you make the most of this all-important resume tool.
You need to ensure you match each part of your qualifications summary to the job that you are seeking. The way to do this is to follow these tips for writing a good qualifications summary:
- Firstly, ensure you describe how you meet the employer’s requirements as stated in the vacancy advertisement including education, work experience and skills.
- To do so, you must remember to repeat keywords and use synonyms to detail the important information from your profile.
- Do not overcrowd your resume or overuse keywords.
- Make brief but pertinent points regarding your achievements and qualifications.
- Use quantifiable examples where possible to give evidence of your skills and expertise.
- Remember to focus your qualifications summary on the needs of the employer.
- Do not be afraid to add other training courses, experiences or qualifications which are relevant to your desired position as this will help differentiate you from other candidates.
The qualifications summary on a resume is a very effective tool for candidates who have an extensive work history either as a professional in that sector or as a career changer who has transferable skills.
Examples of Qualifications Summaries
To be able to create an effective qualification summary introduction, check out some of these examples to grasp the structure and style of qualification summaries.
Key Account Manager Qualifications Summary Example
- Sociable – Organized – Goal-oriented
- 5 years experience in customer and client relationship building.
- Exceeded sales targets by more than 60% two years running.
- Landed and managed several individual client accounts of $100,000+.
- Effectively trained and led team of 8 Sales Executives.
- Received Top Sales Award from company 3 years.
- Spearheaded new marketing plans with research and media strategies which have improved profits by $2.6 million gross per annum.
Executive Chef Qualifications Summary Example
- Creative – Team player – Excellent time management
- 12 years experience in Michelin star restaurants in NYC and Paris.
- Expertise in French haute cuisine.
- Prepared between 700-1000 covers daily.
- Reinvented menu to improve attendance by 110% and profits.
- Specialist knowledge of FDA requirements.
- Catered for a wide range of 3 and 5-course fine dining galas, fundraising events and festivals.
Entry-Level IT Associate Qualifications Summary Example
- Analytical – Resourceful – Flexible
- Two years experience in Library Helpdesk Technical Assistance.
- Graduate of BSc in Computer and Information Technology with 3.50 GPA.
- Proficient in several programming languages, software applications, operating systems and database management.
- Exceptional troubleshooting skills resulting in an improvement of 30% in issue-resolution.
- Accustomed to fast turn-around times for maintenance and technical tasks.
The qualifications summary on a resume differs from the summary statement simply in the manner of formatting the information included. As seen in these qualification summary examples, the general layout is what makes the difference between the summary statement and the qualification summary as opposed to the content or focus.
If you prefer to offer a paragraph format for your summary or to get extra resume help with your summary statement you can take a look at our guide to writing one to ensure you create the best possible introduction to your resume for your job search.
If you need help putting together your qualifications summary, ResumeCoach also offers an online resume maker which gives you professional advice and clear, practical examples to follow to ensure you get the most out of your resume.