The importance of summaries
Being able to summarize has become a skill that is more important than ever in today’s information overflow.
When I joined the executive search industry more than ten years ago, the internet did exist but it was only the dawn of the internet as we know it today. Social media, for example, has changed our business forever. Today, because of and thanks to internet, we have too much of everything when it comes to information and communication. The same goes for people and good candidates. If we only think about LinkedIn, I personally have some 2000 contacts and should I use a search word such as “Marketing Director” or “VP Sales”, I will receive results on more than two million candidates, many of them likely eligible.
For the benefit of our clients we have access to many more great candidates than before social media. Ten years ago, I had around 25 printed CV’s (and yes, many of them arrived by snail mail) to flip through for a particular position. Today, I have to deal with anywhere from one hundred to thousands online CVs after a single search.
Lately there has been a lot of discussion about our shortened attention span. Again, this includes me and I assume, my head-hunter colleagues too. I’m also guessing that hiring managers and HR-professionals are no different. There just never seems to be enough time to read every single line on a CV or online profile. However, when one pops up and catches my eye, I’m really interested to learn (quite thoroughly) what the person has accomplished in their career so far.
For the aforementioned reasons, one part of the CV, resume or online profile has become more important than ever and it is your summary. Summaries have to stand out and be engaging. Think about it! What are the most important facts about your previous career? There is no single piece of advice on what to write but make it personal and make it different. Make it short enough (remembering that recent studies show that we will lose interest, in seconds, if the content is not engaging) and make it relevant and be prepared to adapt it when necessary. Talk about your accomplishments rather than responsibilities. Think about your career summary from another person’s point of view; who will be reading it? But most of all, put the effort into it like it was the only and most important thing that counts!
Have you ever thought about using a video for your summary?