Time To Update Your Resume — Here’s One Secret To Use

Time to update your resume.
Is it time to update your resume? A crucial part is your Summary of Qualifications.

Valerie, 59, is a human resources manager, working at a prominent company, who had asked for my help in writing her resume. She said, “I think now is the right time to polish up my resume. I see resumes all the time. Thousands have passed through my hands, but when it comes to writing my own, I have a difficult time doing it. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertisement. But an important piece, especially in today’s job market. I hate to admit it, but I need help writing mine.”

Many people may be thinking I should update my resume now. Some over 50-year-olds may have been at the same company for a long time, and they realize with so much turmoil and layoffs happening, everyone should be updating their resume.

Let’s assume you made it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and the HR person or recruiter is now looking at your resume on their computer screen. An important finding from our national survey of 600 hiring managers was that the most crucial part of your resume is your Summary of Qualifications section.

This section has an incredible impact since employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read. And, if the briefly stated summary demonstrates solid ability to fill the advertised job, it then causes them to slow down and give that candidate more careful consideration. The average resume gets a 15-20 second glance to start. So you must have a persuasive resume that compels the reader to want to learn more about you.

The Summary of Qualifications is almost like a secret weapon because hiring managers reported that the vast majority of resumes do not contain this vital section. As a resume writer and career counselor, I never write a resume without it. Think of it as a mini-outline of you, a highly influential summation containing the big highlights you bring to the job. This section comes early in the resume after the Career Objective section. It usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits, and skills.

Example Summaries

Here are some examples from my resumes files of clients whose resume got interviews.


Award-winning human resources leader with 15+ years of experience providing strategic direction for an organization that was recently named a national, best places to work company. Global thinker who contributed to company’s success as a strategic and operational business partner. Display strong entrepreneurial drive having been responsible for delivering new programs, HR systems and major policy enhancements. Repeatedly recognized for innovative leadership and for the ability to improve productivity and enhance each employee’s contributions.

Distinguished leader with ten years of experience in the development and implementation of global communications and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Excel at executive coaching, branding, product positioning and product launches. Recognized for delivering superior results that added millions of dollars in revenues to the companies’ bottom-line profits.


Project Manager with an engineering background and ten years of proven expertise leading cross-functional product teams from conception through release. Demonstrated entrepreneurial drive with excellent collaboration, consensus building, communications and process improvement skills. Recognized as a leader who can be depended upon on to deliver new innovations, highly profitable business products and technical solutions that exceed expectations.


Award-winning hotel general manager having led high-end, chain and boutique properties. Extensive experience as a hands-on manager who repeatedly delivered millions of dollars in new revenues, improved profits, and higher levels of guest satisfaction. Superior business operations and management skills with demonstrated entrepreneurial drive and ability to develop managers and staff members into world-class service teams. Excel in marketing, sales, business analysis, process improvements, and team development. Recognized as a leader who can be depended upon on exceed goals and expectations.


Top sales leader focused on team development, improving sales and delivering millions of dollars in new business. Launched 13 new drugs delivering sales results that exceeded quotas and expectations. Exceptional business development skills capitalizing on opportunities others miss. Background includes 10 years of experience as sales rep repeatedly ranking in the top 5% working for large national pharma companies.

How to Start Your Summary

There are several ways you can start your Summary of Qualifications section. For example:

· Eight years of Engineering experience in the Automobile Manufacturing environment

· Creative problem solver known for delivering notable cost-savings and operational improvements….

· A XXXXX subject matter expert that delivers exceptional results…

· Recognized by management for delivering the highest levels of customer service.

· Senior operations manager with a solid history of delivering technical improvements, productivity enhancements, process improvements and cost savings for employer.

· Award-winning IT support professional with nine years of experience delivering world-class customer service.

First Resume, Then Summary

The easiest way to create your summary is to write your entire resume first. Make sure you are emphasizing the results and accomplishments you achieved. Then ask yourself this question: what am I best at? Think about your unique strengths and what supervisors have told you in the past. Write those ideas down. From there, craft your 4-6 sentence Summary of Qualifications. It likely will take you some extra effort but stick with it.

Conclusion: Always Include Your Summary

The Summary of Qualifications, which speaks volumes on consolidating the best you have to bring to the job, is a secret weapon that grabs attention and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Don’t ever send in a resume without it.

This article was originally published in Forbes.com.

©2024 Robin Ryan

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Robin Ryan

A career counselor that helps clients land jobs, I offer Resume Writing, LinkedIn Profile Writing, Interview Coaching, and Salary Negotiation services.

I’ve appeared on Oprah, Dr. Phil and over 3200 other TV and radio shows. A Wall Street Journal #1 bestselling author, I have written eight career books including: 60 Seconds & You’re Hired, Retirement Reinvention, Winning Resumes and Over 40 & You’re Hired. Currently I write a careers column for Forbes.com.

Helping people advance their careers and land a new job is my mission.

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