How to Write a Personal Summary for Your Resume

What is a personal summary?

A personal summary is a brief statement, usually at the beginning of your resume, that tells the reader who you are, what you do, what your career goals are as well as your intention for applying to a certain position. Ideally, your personal summary should be written in 50 to 200 words and in 3 to 4 sentences. 

Related: The Best Way to Introduce Yourself: Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

Why your resume needs a personal summary

  1. Pass the first resume screening. An effective personal summary should immediately inform the hiring manager that you are a relevant candidate.
  2. Hook recruiters from the start. Use your personal summary to entice hiring managers into reading the rest of your resume. You can do this by putting your value as a candidate center stage!
  3. Set you apart from the competition. Get creative and use this space to not only show off your strengths but also inject your personality. The aim is to be memorable and unique!

How to write your personal summary

A personal summary should include:

  • Your current job title or function
  • Your skills, strengths or niche
  • Your short and/or long-term goals
  • The position you’re applying to

Writing your personal summary

If you are unsure how to start writing your personal summary, you can begin by answering the following questions. Then jot down your answer on a notepad or Word document:

  • What is your current role? 
  • How many years of work experience do you have?
  • What is your current/previous job scope? List the 2 to 3 you are confident in!
  • What role are you seeking?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals? (Tip: Relate these goals to the role or type of company you are applying for)
  • What work environment do you work best in? 
  • What strength can you bring to the company?

Personal Summary Examples

Your answers to the above questions can be used in a personal summary as such:

[Your current role] with [X years of experience] in [2 to 3 examples of your job scope or niche]. Seeking a [job position you are applying for] to [your short-term or long-term career goal]. Excels in [type of work environment you work best in] that demands [your skills, expertise or strengths].”

An example of the personal summary should look something like this:

Digital Content Executive with 4 years of experience in writing SEO-compliant educational articles and executing email marketing campaigns. Seeking a Senior Copywriter position to expand copywriting and content strategising skills as well as lead a team of creative writers. Excels in an open and collaborative work environment that demands creativity, meticulous research and honest communication.”

Writing your personal summary when you have no work experience

Just because you don’t have work experience doesn’t mean you have no experience at all. If you are a fresh graduate eyeing an internship position, look back at any experiences and transferable skills you can draw from your time as a student or other involvement. 

Ask yourself the following questions to start crafting your personal summary:

  • What did you study? 
  • Where did you graduate from?
  • What was the scope of your study?
  • What were your involvements while studying (if any)?
  • What did you work on during the aforementioned involvements?
  • What role are you seeking?
  • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  • What work environment do you work best in or would like to work in?
  • What strength can you bring to the company?

Answering the above questions will help you outline your personal summary. See the sample below as a guide and replace the bold phrases with the answers you’ve written for yourself.

“An Architecture graduate from UiTM with a focus on Built Environment and Design Fundamentals. While studying, led community engagement projects to promote public awareness of inclusive universal design importance. Seeking a UI/UX Design Internship to learn the industry standard for UI/UX design practices and play a role in building accessible mobile applications. Interested in working in a fast-paced work environment that requires analytical insight and out-of-the-box creativity.”

Other tips to keep in mind

  • Tailor your personal summary as specific as you can to the type of roles you are eyeing for. This means selecting key experiences, job scopes, skills and strengths that match the job and even company type of your choice! 
  • Avoid work environment descriptions that give recruiters red flags. For example, if you do your best work in an environment where you are trusted and given less supervision, instead of saying “relaxed work environment” try “independent” or “autonomous” instead. 

Although the above personal summary example is a good starting point for many, we encourage you to customise it to make it unique to your strengths and personality. Feel free to include other information you think will give you an edge and opt out of any information you find irrelevant to your application.

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Level up your resume game with other tips on Hiredly:

How to introduce yourself at a job interview with an elevator pitch (link article)