Formula for the Perfect Professional Summary
Struggling to write your professional summary? You’re not alone. Talking yourself up isn’t easy, and for most people, it doesn’t come naturally. But don’t worry! I’ve got a simple formula for creating the perfect professional summary, and it’s as easy as one, two, three…four, five, six.
Make a list of adjectives that describe your best qualities, like passionate, driven, analytical, or creative. If you have trouble coming up with your best qualities, check out my blog post on discovering your top qualities and skills. You can also take adjectives from job listings that are similar to what you want (just make sure they actually describe you). For example, from the job listing below, I can extract the following adjectives: proactive, motivated, organized, and detail-oriented.
Make a list of nouns that describe your best skills, like team leader, critical thinker, or innovator. Refer to my blog post on discovering your top qualities and skills for help. You can also take nouns from job listings that are similar to what you want (just make sure they actually describe you). For example, from the job listing below, I can extract the following nouns: self-starter, problem solver, team player, communicator.
Make a list of some of your best work experiences, like “analyzing data and generating reports,” “collaborating with cross-functional teams,” or “developing custom software applications." Again, you can find these in job listings (just make sure you actually have the experience). For example, from the job listing below, I can extract the following experiences: "planning, leading, developing, and coordinating HR policies, activities and staff," "administering HRIS systems," "processing payroll," "training and developing staff," "managing safety and compliance," and "handling employee relations, compensation, and benefits administration."
Make a list of conjoining phrases, like, “demonstrated success,” “proven expertise in,” “proven track record of,” “adept at," and "skilled in."
Make a note of the following information:
The field in which you want to work, like “software development,” “human resources,” or “diversity and inclusion.”
How many years of relevant experience you have in that field.
Put it all together using the following template:
<Adjective>, <Adjective> <Field> professional with <Years> years of experience <Experience>. <Adjective> <Noun> with <Conjoining Phrase> <Experience>. <Adjective> <Noun> with <Conjoining Phrase> <Experience>.
The result may be something like this:
Passionate, driven software development professional with 15 years of experience developing custom software applications. Creative problem solver with proven expertise in analyzing data and generating reports. Organized team player with demonstrated success collaborating with cross-functional teams.
Make sure the adjectives, nouns, and experiences go together. For example, if you’re talking about training and coaching staff, a good noun to use would be “team leader” rather than “self starter.”
Feel free to combine multiple adjectives and experiences, but don't go nuts! Keep your summary to three to four sentences.
Elaborate based on your individual experiences. For example, “collaborating with cross-functional teams to deliver complex projects on time and under budget.”