Career Summaries/Objectives on CVs? What should you write?

Career Summaries on CVs – what should they say?

You know it makes sense to summarise your experience, skills and career objective in one short and punchy 5-6 line  paragraph at the top of your CV but how do you avoid it sounding like it has been lifted straight from an MBA textbook?

Phrases like “works equally well in a team or on my own initiative” and “looking for a challenging and rewarding career” are overused and detract from the CV.  If you are going to lift a generic summary straight from a CV advice website you may as well not have it there at all!  So some tips on how to make it work for you;

  1. Target it

You know what experience and skills the employer is looking for – tell them you have them.  While you do not need to rewrite your CV for every application you should be rewriting your summary to make it hit the job description target. 

2.   Numbers and Names

Quantify your experience – a “marketing professional with 6 years experience of managing a portfolio of 50 clients (including Diageo, C&C Group Irish Distillers)  generating annual revenues of €5million” is much more interesting than a “marketing professional with experience of managing clients”  – and that’s the same person!    Rule of thumb – if one of your best friends can’t identify your career summary from a group of 5 presented to them, it is not specific enough.

3.  Give Proof

Excellent at working under pressure” sounds bland and I’m not sure I would believe it .  “Demonstrated ability to work under pressure during fast-track implementation of new software platform for client”  sounds like you may be able to take the heat.  Give them some context to your skills and competencies.

4.  Be specific – what do you want

When signing off you are not looking for a “challenging and rewarding career “– you are looking to secure whatever job it is you are applying for.  Make sure they know that you are focusing all of your attention on them – mention their name – but don’t forget to change it when you apply for the next job!

Please feel free to add a comment on what you think works well when writing a Career Summary

Sinead is a leading CV expert and has helped 100’s of clients secure interviews with her  CV Writing Services .  Contact her now for a free initial consultation.

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