If ya don’t know, now ya know. The resume Objective Statement is out, and the Summary of Qualifications is in. Learn how to write one and take your resume to the next level!

By: Elyse Villanueva | Social Media Manager at Let’s Eat, Grandma

“Why won’t they notice me?!” 

If your job search makes you feel like a teen trying to get their crush’s attention to no avail, then listen up. A good Summary of Qualifications is like a fresh new outfit in the resume world – it’s sure to stop employers in their tracks!

Here’s the what, why, and most importantly, how of the Summary of Qualifications:

What even is a Summary of Qualifications (SoQ)?

An SoQ is an optional section at the beginning of your resume that highlights your key achievements, relevant experience, and skills. It serves as an introduction to your career and a way to immediately draw attention to your best qualities.

How is it better than an objective statement?

Objective Statements used to be popular on resumes. Basically, they explain what you’re looking to accomplish in the job, and briefly state why you’re qualified to do that.

A photo of a businesswoman holding a clipboard and gesturing with a pen to show something offscreen.
A great Summary of Qualifications will show the hiring manager exactly why you’re a qualified candidate.

A Summary of Qualifications, on the other hand, illustrates what the company is looking for in you, by summarizing all of your most relevant qualifications (whether in paragraph or bullet-point form – or both!)

If you’re like me, Objective Statements strike you as a little…dumb. I mean, your objective is to make money, right? It’s hard not to make an Objective Statement sound redundant.

That’s why they’re steadily being replaced by SoQ’s in the resume world. A summary of qualifications is a more concise and effective method that makes it easier for employers to identify you as the perfect candidate.

So, why should I write one?

A good Summary of Qualifications answers 3 key questions as quickly as possible:

  1. What experience do you have?
  2. What skills do you have?
  3. What proof do you have that you can deliver?

Even better, it helps you conquer those notorious Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), as it lets you include relevant keywords right at the top of your resume, ensuring that a real human will read it!

3 Easy Steps for Writing a Summary of Qualifications

1. Pick the strongest 3-6 parts of your resume and reword them in a snappy, concise manner.

  • You can include your job title, accomplishments, major projects, special skills, certifications, and professional qualifications.
    • But what if I’m a student with little experience? No issue at all! Write about coursework relevant to the job, leadership in extracurricular activities, volunteer accomplishments, and honors or awards.
  • Make sure to write in an active voice to express your achievements more clearly. The subject (that’s you!) should be performing the action, not the other way around. 
    • Active: Increased sales by 20% over the past year.
    • Passive: Sales were increased by 20% over the past year.

2. Write a killer first sentence to hook their attention. The first sentence is one of the most difficult parts of any resume, as it needs to capture your entire career in just a few words.

To write it, use this formula:

Descriptive Word + Job Title + Level of Experience + Key Feature in Career

Here are some examples using this classic format:

  • Seasoned + manager + with 20 years experience + delivering impressive contributions to productivity and profit
  • Experienced + engineer + with significant background in + design and construction of large-scale public-works projects.
  • Award winning + sales representative + with consistent history + of exceeding sales quotas with Fortune 500 employers.   
  • Patient focused + nurse + with expertise in + treating home health patients with dual diagnoses and complex medical needs.

3. If you choose to use bullet points, tie each of them directly to the job posting and make your achievements quantifiable to show the value you can bring to the table.

  • Keywords, keywords, keywords! Include and tailor important keywords for each job posting. Look at the each specific job description for important keywords.
    • Don’t overuse keywords or the ATS might flag your resume. Be thoughtful and honest with your keywords!
  • Numerical data can really emphasize the impact you had at your previous jobs. Use specific data like the number of years in a position, metrics improved, problems solved, or the number of people you managed.

Summary of Qualifications Examples

Here are some Summary of Qualifications examples that our professional resume writers have actually written:

Engineering & Programming

A screenshot of an effective summary of qualifications.
Notice the effective first sentence.

Recent Graduate in Finance

A screenshot of an example of an effective Summary of Qualifications.
Notice the professional strengths highlighted.

Senior IT Leader

A screenshot of an example of an effective summary of qualifications.
Notice the great bullet points!

Write a Summary of Qualifications that Stuns 

Congratulations! You now have the tools to write a perfect Summary of Qualifications at your disposal. That means you’re one step closer to writing the perfect resume, and one step closer to landing your dream job.

For more answers to every resume question you can think of, check out the many articles on our Blog or our Career Warrior Podcast. Better yet — cut out the middle man and sign up now for a FREE phone consultation with one of our business writing experts on our homepage!

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