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Cheat Your Way to a Better Professional Summary

The part about resume writing that I loathe most is the Professional Summary, or Summary of Qualifications. And wouldn't you know, it's the most important part. It's the first thing employers read, and it has to draw them in enough to want to read the rest of your resume. So it makes sense that it would be the most difficult chunk to write.

Here are two ways you can "cheat" and make it easier on yourself:

  1. Have a friend write it for you. Jot down your duties, responsibilities, qualities, and accomplishments, then hand that list over to a friend and ask him/her to put it all together in an interesting, impressive, and formal way. This especially helps if you know someone who knows how to write well! If you find it difficult to talk yourself up (I do!), having someone else do it for you could produce better results than attempting to do it on your own.
  2. Copy someone else's. Borrow or buy some resume sample books and find a summary that most relates to your career goals and what you do. Then you can edit, paraphrase, massage, and tweak it to make it yours. You could even combine parts of different summaries if you're really struggling. The most useful resume sample books exhibit industry-focused resumes. For instance, if you're a nurse, you can jump straight to the nursing section to see what others in your field have written. Same goes for auto mechanics, writers, accountants, etc.

Bottom line: Writing your resume is about as pleasant as, well, nothing. But there are ways to make it less painful. And no matter what you do, make sure the final product is honest, accurate, and something you're comfortable with. And if you use either of these two approaches, don't send out a single copy of your resume without studying it word-for-word first. There's nothing worse than not knowing what your own resume says when employers ask about it in an interview!

For more help on writing your summary, check out these posts:

Have you had any success with either of these writing methods? Or do you have one of your own that has helped? Let us know!

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