In case you missed the memo, the “Objective” section in your resume is dead. It means very little to anybody evaluating your resume and is quite useless. What’s not dead, and in fact is still very well alive and kicking, is the Professional Profile or Profile Summary. If you’re an independent contractor and don’t have a Profile Summary in your resume, stop whatever you’re doing right now and start writing one. It may just be the fastest way you can help yourself get more call backs from recruiters.
Successful sales people develop an elevator pitch — a quick blurb about their product they give to clients that grabs attention, opens a door, and allows them to deliver their complete sales pitch. Independent contractors need to follow the same logic. Your product is you and your services. Your client is the recruiter or hiring manager. And your Profile Summary is your elevator pitch. It’s what grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read the rest of your resume. Without that great elevator pitch, a sales person risks losing the opportunity for a future sale and without a great Profile Summary, you risk having your resume overlooked.
Let’s take a closer look at six items you need to consider in your resume’s Profile Summary that will make it exceptional so you stand out among the other job applicants:
- Positioning: It should be obvious. The Profile Summary needs to be at the top. First thing, right after your contact information.
- Easy-to-Read: You want this to be a quick and easy read. Consider bullet points or a short paragraph with simple sentences. This is not the time to try and impress people with your complex academic writing (unless it really fits the position to which you’re applying).
- Tailor it to the Reader: When possible, write a different summary for every application you submit. Know what the reader will be looking for in the application and highlight those points.
- The Meat: As noted above, you need to include information that the reader cares about. Give a high-level summary of your experience, education and skills that are relevant to this position. Remember to add quantifiable facts, such as “Managed 15 people ” or “20 years of experience.”
- The Fat: You know all of those fancy clichés and unique adjectives? Delete them. All of them.
- Your Differentiators: Like every great product, you must have one or two qualities that separate you from your competition. Perhaps you led a very successful and complex project, or maybe you’re and expert in a single skill you know that client is looking for. Know what separates you from the pack and then make sure the reader knows it too.
As noted in #3, ideally you will tailor a Profile Summary for every resume, but you also want a generic one. That base Profile Summary needs to be absolutely flawless. Spend hours working at it, re-reading, and the re-writing. When it’s done, pass it to friends for feedback and continue updating it until you have the perfect elevator pitch about yourself (that’s also 100% fact). Your final summary will be more than just a block in your resume, it can then be used for intros to emails when you send a resume or your LinkedIn profile.
Even Recruiters will appreciate your great Profile Summary. In fact, once you’ve sold them on your abilities, their job is to sell you to clients and, that’s right, your Profile Summary will be their number one tool. Sure, if you write a terrible one they’ll re-write it to something awesome, but it won’t be as great and you will have less control over the content.
Do you have a Profile Summary? Are you proud of it or is it something you’ve just thrown together? If that’s the case, we recommend you have a look at it.