How to Write an Executive Summary for Resume (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

3 January 2022

Executive summaries allow you to advertise your professional abilities to a prospective employer. You can highlight significant achievements to capture an employer's interest in this section. Discovering how to write an executive summary for your resume may increase your chances of making a good impression during your job search. In this article, we explain what an executive summary for a resume is, outline how to write one and provide examples you can use as a template.

What is an executive summary for a resume?

An executive summary for a resume is an introductory part of your resume to highlight your experiences and most valuable achievements. Your executive summary is an informative lead meant to pique the employer's interest. You can use this segment to showcase why you feel you're a good fit for the position. An executive summary differs from your resume objective, which suggests what you aim to gain in your career. The section is usually three to five sentences long.

Why are executive summaries important?

An executive summary is important because it summarises your past job experiences at the top of your resume. This can help you show potential employers how your experience has prepared you for a new role. Including an executive summary on your resume can help hiring managers quickly understand your abilities and experience.

Related: 139 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to write an executive summary

Here are five simple steps to follow when writing an executive summary for your resume:

1. Think about the job you're applying for

Read through the job description and look for skills the employer specifies. Examine the job description to determine what kind of experience the organisation wants, how many years in the field the organisation prefers and the required level of education for the role.

In your executive summary, you can try to highlight how you've met these requirements in your past jobs, so you can also think about how your past experience has qualified you for the roles you want in this step.

2. Highlight the reasons you're the best person for this job

Think of your executive summary as a pitch for why you're the right person for this job. In a few concise sentences, list your significant career achievements and experiences. An example of these accomplishments may include outstanding client feedback, exceeding annual targets, launching a new website or increasing a client base.

3. Write your first bullet point

Aim to position your executive summary at the top of a resume. This positioning helps immediately capture an employer's attention and shows that your strengths align with the open position.

This first sentence contains a brief description of yourself. State one positive thing that you think separates you from other candidates. Try to summarise your professional career in this sentence. This line provides the essence of your resume without the details. When possible, use that sentence to relate a specific skill you have to the company's job description.

4. List your skills and accomplishments

In two or three bullet points, write what essential skills you have that suit this role. You can list your technical skills or accomplishments specific to your industry. If applicable, mention any well-regarded companies that previously employed you.

5. Mention any other accomplishments

Use this last sentence as a soft sell to finish your pitch. Mention anything that specifically applies to the position. This might include factors like saving money for a company, increasing revenues or introducing innovative ideas. Make a statement that helps you attract the hiring manager's attention.

6 executive summary examples

You can write your executive summary as bullet points or a brief paragraph. Here are some executive summary examples for your perusal. You can use these as a template when writing your own:

Example 1

Here's an example of an executive summary for a business owner:

  • motivated individual with a positive track record of driving sales

  • manages projects efficiently from start to finish

  • customer-oriented and skilled at understanding their needs

  • team leader who started their own business

Example 2

Here's an example of an executive summary for a store supervisor:

  • over five years of experience in retail

  • strong skills in stockroom management, timekeeping and team leadership

  • excellent communication skills and forming good relationships

  • hard worker, dedicated and committed to excellence

Example 3

Here's an example of an executive summary for a marketing manager:

  • team leader with a commendable history of achieving results

  • implemented a marketing strategy that cut costs by 10 percent and increased sales by 5 percent

  • increased online conversion by 10 percent across all branches

  • improved customer engagement by 20 percent across all media channels

  • successfully managed a department of 30 employees

Example 4

Here's an example of an executive summary for a sales leader in a short paragraph format:

Results-oriented sales executive with over 10 years of experience in consumer products and individual sales execution. Track record of exceeding sales quotas. Areas of expertise include effective sales strategies and presentation skills, profit-and-loss management, talent recruitment, training and management.

Example 5

Here's an example of an executive summary for an editor:

Creative and objective editor with over 10 years of experience in newspapers and magazines, creating content for the everyday reader in The Hillside Times. Meticulous writing, editing and proofreading skills with a proven record of delivering compelling and unique copy, adhering to house rules and achieving set deadlines. Very well organised, driven and punctual, with a team-oriented mindset.

Example 6

Here's an example of an executive summary for an optometrist:

Optometrist with over five years of experience performing eye exams and effectively providing treatments. Excellence in diagnosing ocular conditions and explaining prescription terminology. Displays exceptional product knowledge and effectively explains features and benefits to patients.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Tips for adding an executive summary to your resume

Use the following tips to write the most effective executive summary for your resume:

Brainstorm first

Before you write your executive summary and customising it for a specific job, dedicate some time to brainstorming your ideas. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What am I most proud of?

  • What are my three most impressive achievements?

  • Where does my expertise lie?

  • What are some of my best soft skills?

  • What is a unique trait I bring to the table?

Address it to a specific employer

You can address your executive summary to a specific employer to show you're qualified for a particular job. Try to use keywords from the job description. Customise every resume to suit a targeted position, the same as the way you might customise a cover letter.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter

List specific targets and accomplishments

In your executive summary, try to list specific targets you've met, accomplishments you've achieved and previous experiences you can use to excel your new role. Instead of saying you're goal-oriented, talk about specific goals you've achieved. You can also list your most memorable achievements, such as awards.

List transferable skills

If the job you're applying for is in a completely different field or industry, but you have acquired a transferable skill, include it. You can add a summary of your experience to make your application appealing. If you're changing careers, include the reasons this position interests you and mention how your transferable skills may be an asset to your new job.

List measurable achievements

Use measurable achievements to increase the strength of your resume summary statement. Use quantifiable numbers such as percentages or impressive sales metrics to show specific professional achievements. By showcasing these strengths, you can demonstrate your abilities and value to the company.

Use keywords

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that helps companies select candidates during the recruitment process. Many companies use these systems to filter resumes. Therefore, adding keywords from the job description to the executive summary is vital. Customising your resume can help you become a top candidate.

To include keywords, you can read the job description and identify words that describe the employer's ideal candidate. For example, if the job description mentions that the ideal candidate is organised, you can mention that you're organised in your executive summary.

Related: What to Include in a Resume

Ask others for an opinion

Ask family and friends for their opinion on your resume, as they may have suggestions for different attributes or accomplishments you can highlight. They may have alternative ways to describe your strengths. Asking others for an opinion may help you include better information in your executive summary.