What Is a Summary of Qualifications (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 26, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated November 26, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A resume is an important representation of your skills and experience. The hiring manager can take one quick glance at your resume and determine whether to shortlist you for the next stage of the selection process. Adding a summary of qualifications highlights your most significant work experience, achievements, and skills and captures the reader's attention quickly. In this article, we discuss how to write a summary of qualifications including format standards and strategies for selecting the most important information to feature.

What is a summary of qualifications?

A summary of qualifications is a short highlight of notable work history, skills, and achievements. The summary acts as a quick preview of the top reasons an employer may consider going through your entire resume. The need for a summary of qualifications depends on the job you are applying for or your perception of its necessity. Adding one is optional. This section gives you the advantage of directing attention to details about your qualifications.

Related: A Guide To Writing a Resume Summary With Samples

Why is it essential to include a summary of qualifications in your resume?

A summary of qualifications can determine your next interview stage. Sometimes, companies request candidates to include a summary of qualifications in their resumes and use this section to determine who proceeds to the next stage. Here are some benefits of having a summary of qualifications:

  • It gives your qualifications a prominent position in your summary

  • It might determine your success in moving to the next round

  • It draws attention to your qualifications efficiently

What is the right format for a summary of qualifications?

The accepted standard format of a summary of qualifications is a bullet point list. It makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan. You can consider using four to five bullet points limited to two lines, and the points do not have to be whole sentences. Every summary of qualifications achieves its intended purpose if it's effectively structured, brief and direct. The relevancy of the section can be strategic.

Related: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

How to write a summary of qualifications

You can use different strategies to draft your summary of qualifications. It's essential to consider the necessity of this section before writing it as directed by a job description. Also, check if some job descriptions require a specific resume format which may or may not include a summary of qualifications. Use the following guidelines to develop your resume profile:

1. Use quantifiable information

Figures are important to gauge your career impact. It also specifies your work in terms of numbers, ratios, and percentages. It's easier to compare quantities than qualities. The information may be the number of years in a position, the size of the budget you worked with, the amount of revenue you saved or earned, or the number of people you supervised. Example:

  • Influenced a 20% sales spike

  • Oversaw 1000 marketing campaigns

  • Interviewed 1700 candidates

  • Taught 9 hours a day

2. Write your summary in the active voice

Writing in the active voice uses fewer words and is thus more efficient and concise than passive voice. The voice makes the content of your summary of qualifications more engaging. Both statements portray the same information, but the active voice is more compact and precise. Here is an example of two statements using the two voices:

  • Passive voice: “A 25% increase in clients was created over three years.”

  • Active voice: “Increased clients by 25% over three years.”

Related: How to Use Active Verbs on Your Resume (With Examples)

3. Avoid using “I” or “my” or pronouns

Try avoiding the use of pronouns like “I,” “my,” “his,” or “hers” in your list of qualifications. Draw focus to the achievement and experience you possess. Using pronouns might be an unnecessary repetition considering the resume already has your name on it. A recommended practice by career experts is to begin sentences with action verbs. The examples below highlight this principle more clearly:

  • Before: “I was awarded best employee of the year three times in a row.”

  • After: “Awarded 'Employee of the Year' three times consecutively.”

The second statement is more compact and eliminates unnecessary words. Here are some helpful action verbs which can help you write your resume:

  • Technical skills: designed, calculated, engineered, programmed, upgraded, repaired, maintained, operated, assembled, installed

  • Creative skills: shaped, conceptualized, designed, performed, photographed, originated, illustrated, fashioned, customized, modelled

  • Assistance skills: collaborated, educated, coached, supported, contributed, counselled, volunteered, facilitated, aide

  • Accomplishments: reduced, spearheaded, transformed, won, accomplished, completed, exceeded, improved, succeeded, surpassed, improved, pioneered, resolved

  • Management and leadership skills: decided, delegated, trained, administered, executed, supervised, planned, oversaw, examined, conducted, surveyed, tested, coordinated

  • Research skills: investigated, measured, studied, analyzed, identified

  • Organizational skills: standardized, updated, scheduled, filed, cataloged, categorized, maintained, prepared, arranged, recorded

  • Communication skills: articulated, edited, presented, collaborated, composed, facilitated, persuaded, clarified, authored, translated, discussed, drafted

  • Data and financial skills: developed, reconciled, adjusted, appraised, allocated, adjusted, balanced, analyzed, managed, forecasted

Related: 280 Resume Action Words for an Impactful Impression

4. Let keywords guide your writing

Initial resume reviews may be done using computerized software such as advanced applicant tracking systems. Later on, the process becomes more and more manual. Large companies, which often receive thousands of applications, use keyword search functions to pick out candidates who have used a combination of specific keywords in their resumes. If you use these keywords in your summary of professional qualifications, you increase your chances of such software finding you and listing you as one of the top candidates for the role.

Related: What Are Resume Keywords and Why Are They Important?

5. Customize your resume

Customize your resume for each job posting by using the required keywords in your summary of qualifications. The following are sources of keywords you may use:

  • Industry terms: Use keywords relevant to your career field or the job you are applying for consideration.

  • Employment website: Employers may include a keyword search function on their employment page which you can use to find some keywords that you can use. Examining the “About us'' page also helps you find more information about companies which you can use to tailor your summary to fit the employer's cause.

  • Job description: The best place to find keywords would be the job post. You could scan the job description while looking for specific words relevant to the position, such as skills, educational qualifications, and length of experience.

Related: How to Create a Unique Resume and Impress Hiring Managers

Example: Project management position

A project management job description may look like this:

“At Poser, we pride ourselves on innovation. We're a marketing agency powered by big data and analytics to drive strategy for our clients. big data, automation, and problem-solving at scale. You are a project manager with a knack for collaborating with cross-divisional teams and motivating the people around you, ensuring all projects are running on track and on time to hit deadlines. You have used project management suite software. You pay attention to detail and manage complex project timelines, competing priorities, and budgets.”

From this job description, we can identify the following sample keywords:

  • Innovation

  • Big Data

  • Problem-solving

  • Collaboration

  • Teams

  • Time management

  • Detailed

  • Project management suite software

Structuring your summary with no relevant experience

If you are qualified for the role but have never worked on an innovative project, you may structure your summary as follows:

  • Five years of experience using Big Data for digital marketing

  • Resolved 14% of problems with clients within 24 hours

  • Collaborated with creative content teams to create marketing content

  • Delivered detailed research results within set deadlines

  • Currently learning Project Management suite 1

Related: 12 Employability Skills and How to Develop Them

5. Personalize the summary

Make the resume qualifications summary your own. Highlight your skills and experience like the following example:

  • Before: “Competent manager that helped cut department costs by 20%.”

  • After: “Six years of experience leading a team of 25 sales executives, during which overtime costs were reduced by 50%.”

The second statement increases your credibility, especially after quantifying information and using technical terms relevant to the specific industry.

Summary of qualifications resume template

You may not have much space on your resume to explain everything in the summary of qualifications. This means that you have to consider what to include carefully. Include some of the following elements:

  • Key achievements or significant projects in a past role, including quantifiable data

  • Summary of important daily tasks or responsibilities in your current role

  • Areas of expertise or special skills and training

  • Number of years of experience in a particular field or role

  • Highest degree received, including the program, school, and graduation year

  • Awards, honours, certifications, or other professional recognition

  • Management experience, including how many employees reported to you

Related: Statement of Qualifications: Purpose, Templates and Examples

Examples of summaries of qualifications

Here are two examples of summaries of qualifications:

Example 1: Account manager

  • Three years of experience in sales and building client relationships

  • Exceeded sales targets by more than 20% last year

  • Managed four client accounts and $860,000 combined revenue

  • MBA from the University of Toronto (2018)

Example 2: Registered nurse

  • Four years of experience as an RN, including two years in emergency medicine

  • Supervised a team of four and improved shift scheduling, reducing absenteeism by 10%

  • Monitored, evaluated, and recorded the conditions of 10-15 patients per week

  • Currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Nursing (on track to complete in 2 months), at the University of British Columbia

Example 3: Supply chain manager

  • Six years of experience in supply chain management and logistics

  • Bachelor's in Business Administration from Yorkville university (2003)

  • Supervised 20 direct reports across warehouse, demand planning, and materials management departments

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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