• Friday, July 01st, 2011

Writing can be a difficult task. Take it from someone who has been doing it professionally! When you’re writing your resume, trying to summarize what you have to offer an employer can be more than difficult. But the Summary section of your resume, a paragraph that goes right below your name and contact information and addresses your top qualifications for the job, is where most hiring managers  decide whether to read the rest of the resume.

If you have a hard time assembling a strong, coherent paragraph for a Summary, here’s a tip: Forget the paragraph and use bullet points. Since a bullet list is usually easier to read than a dense block of text, a time-pressed hiring manager will probably appreciate it.

For example, let’s say you’re a customer service manager looking for a similar position. Here’s a summary in paragraph form:


Experienced, award-winning customer service manager and leader with track record of success over the last 10 years in retail and online environments. Strong skills in analyzing and solving problems led to 25% jump in customer satisfaction over one year in current role, which helped boost market share 5%. Clear communication of changes in product and service offerings to associates resulted in 10% sales increase in a highly competitive year. Strong advocate of training and professional development programs for new and experienced customer service associates.

Now let’s break that up into bullets:


  • Experienced customer service manager and leader with 10-year record of success.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills led to 25% jump in customer satisfaction and 5% boost in market share over one year.
  • Clear communication to associates of changes in product and service offerings resulted in 10% sales increase in a highly competitive year.
  • Received company and industry leadership awards for developing successful training program for new customer service associates.

The bullet-form summary is not only a bit shorter than the paragraph form, it gives the reader a break by showcasing your value in easily digestible bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, the last bullet point reveals something more specific about your success in developing training programs compared with the last sentence in the paragraph.

In today’s tougher-than-tough job market, you need to be able to market yourself to land a job interview, and eventually, a job offer. If you have delivered strong, tangible results for your current and previous employers that can help you land the job, you may be comfortable in writing a paragraph for your Summary, but consider using bullets.

Remember: Writing is one thing, getting someone to read your writing is another.

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