On my earlier blog post, I have written that using an objective for a resume is no longer working. I also pointed out that instead of an objective statement, you should write a Qualifications Summary. A qualifications summary is a 3-5 statement summarizing your most applicable experience and qualifications. It is the bulleted sentences found at the top of a resume stating the candidate’s best achievements and qualifications.
Now, the question is, how do you write a qualifications summary? In this blog post I will give you the step-by-step process in writing and perfecting your qualifications summary.
Who Should a Write a Qualifications Summary?
First, who should write a qualifications summary? Well the answer is anyone. Every applicant can write a qualifications summary. But the ones who can write best qualifications are those who have related skills or experiences on the job they are applying.
Recent college graduates who were active at school are also best to write qualifications summary because they have the so-called “transferrable skills”. According to Martin Yate in his Knock ‘em Dead series, “Transferrable skills are set of skills that underlies the applicant’s ability to execute the technical skills of the job effectively, whatever that job might be.”
How to Write a Qualifications Summary
Qualifications Summary are sometimes written as Summary of Qualifications, Career Summary, Professional Profile or Career Profile but they all pertain to the same goal — summarizing the applicant’s skills and experience.
1. Make sure you know the exact position that you want. Be specific and use the industry standard. For example if you are looking for a job in Sales, you might be tempted to use Product Specialist or Property Specialist but the industry standard is Sales Representative, so stick to it.
2. List your Qualifications. I suggest take a 10-15 minute dedicated time in this step. Select your level below and start writing your answer to the questions that follow.
A. Entry-Level / Recent Graduates
- What knowledge/subject areas did you focus learning at school?
- What special skills did you know while you were studying? It could be a computer skill, writing skill or skills you learned from your school activities.
- What do you enjoy doing? List your hobbies — the things you usually do on your free time.
- Did you receive awards at school? These could be awards from academics or contests conducted inside or outside your school.
- Did you work part-time to support your studies? Write the things that make you stand-out as an entry-level candidate.
- Were you a scholar or a Dean’s Lister?
- What personal or professional traits do you possess that makes you employable? These are professional values that you can serve to your future employers.
B. Professional, Mid-Career and Executive Level
- How long have you been working in the industry? You can use your number of year experience in the industry as your top qualification. (Considering it is the same industry you are applying.)
- List out the experiences and knowledge you have about the job.
- List all the accomplishments that you made in your past jobs — accomplishments that saved the company time, money and effort.
- What makes you the best candidate for the position?
- Do you know some foreign languages?
3. Collect job posts. Look for job posts online for the position you are seeking. (Note: Location does not matter here. That means you can use job post from other countries.) What we are searching here are “keywords”. I would suggest you look at Monster, GlassDoor or Indeed. Collect at least 6 job posts, save it in Microsoft Word or print it out.
4. Extract the keywords recurring in the job posts. Here’s an example of a sales job post with keywords highlighted.
5. Select your most relevant qualifications. Now that you have the keywords taken from the job posts, choose from your written qualifications the most compatible skills for the job you are targeting. You can use Forbes’s CEASE technique:
- Characteristics: 2-3 personal/professional traits that make you a good fit for the job and the company
- Experience: Number of years you’ve worked in the industry or other experience that makes you qualified for the position
- Achievements: 2-3 things you have a strong track record in accomplishing for previous employers
- Skills: 2-3 high value abilities you’ve demonstrated that are relevant to the position in question
- Expertise: Relevant education, certification, or special experience that other job candidates might not have
6. Perfect your qualifications.
- Put the action words at the beginning of each qualification. (e.g. Awarded Top in Sales for the year 2016)
- Avoid personal pronouns such as I or My and be sure to ask someone to proofread your resume.
- Incorporate the supporting information throughout your resume. You can create a Core Competencies, Technical Skills and Foreign Languages section where you can further the information that you have written in your Qualifications Summary.
Qualifications Summary Examples
Here are some great qualifications summary that you can use as guide:
Sales and marketing professional offering more than 10 years of solid experience, with the past 6 years in the software solutions industry. Utilized consultative selling techniques throughout complex and multiple-level sales processes. Consistently exceeded sales quota, developed interactive business relationships with senior executives, created and implemented persuasive account strategies for a competitive marketplace, and effectively sold customized computer products and services. Computer skills include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and ACT!.
Accountant with more than 20 years of Finance and Accounting experience. Expertise in preparing financial statements, monitoring daily cash transactions, developing annual budgets, and recording all financial activity for small to medium-sized businesses. Recruited and cultivated a first-rate team of financial support professionals. Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with a strong background in Finance and Accounting methodologies and practices.
Customer Service Representative
Experienced in general office principles, practices, and procedures. Proficient in MS Office: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access. Detail oriented, proficient organizer with the ability to delegate and train others. Knowledge of diverse cultures. Team player with emphasis on quality.
Management professional with 12 years’ experience in the automobile dealership industry, including general management, finance and production management, and general sales management. Background includes establishment of programs to increase sales, improve productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer relations. Secure a higher penetration for finance products, including warranties, credit life, disability, and finance interest rates. Earned a master’s degree in finance.
Graphic Designer with 13 years of experience in graphic design and developing web sites.
- Extensive experience in developing for traditional and new media using a mix of traditional design techniques and computer aided techniques.
- Supervised creative path of client projects.
- Proven success in web site design including concept development, designing, and coding.
- Accomplished in all aspects of print design.
Self-confident nursing professional offering exceptional planning, prioritizing and goal-setting abilities to achieve the best patient outcome. Plan and implement nursing care and patient education for patients and caregivers. Professional and articulate – skilled interacting with physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Conscientious application of hospital policies and procedures; keep needs of patients foremost in mind. Capable of working under pressure in fast-paced environments and managing multiple and diverse tasks simultaneously.
- Recent college graduate — Summa Cum Laude.
- Organized, efficient, and precise with strong communication and liaison skills.
- Skilled in planning and execution of special projects during time-critical environments.
- Decisive and direct, yet flexible in responding to constantly changing assignments.
- Enthusiastic, creative and willing to assume increased responsibility. High initiative with strong self-management skills.