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How to write a profile summary for your CV or Resume

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

The Professional Summary or Profile should be the first thing that a recruiter reads on your CV or Resume. It's designed to give a brief overview of you and highlight relevant core strengths that your future employers are looking for. After reading this section, the reader should find your application relevant and feel motivated to read on. This section has 2 components: A value proposition, including a job title, followed by 5 value-added strengths and when brought together make 1 paragraph. I typically write these so that they are 7-8 lines deep.

First, decide what are you professionally - this is your professional label. It may be your current job title or something different. Think about what recruiters in your chosen sector are going to be looking for and try to match that; for example, if you want your next position to be in project management call yourself a Project Manager. Be specific and try to avoid using words like “professional” or “consultant”. It's always best to match the title of the position that you are applying for, As long as you can justify it... You do have a pinch of poetic licence with what you call yourself on your CV or Resume.

Examples of good titles:

  • Project Manager

  • Financial Director

  • Business Analyst

  • Construction Superintendent

  • Operations Geologist

  • Non-Executive Director

Examples of bad titles:

  • Marketing Professional

  • IT Consultant

  • Office Worker

  • Communications Executive

  • Or anything non-specific…

Then create a value proposition - here are a few examples:

An experienced Non-Executive Director, an expert at providing strategic oversight, performance and risk analysis for Oil & Gas Majors to ensure sound decisions are made based on well-structured business cases.

An internationally experienced Director of Operations, with a proven track record of managing Technical Training, Operations & Maintenance (O&M) teams in field and workshop environments for the MoD, Aerospace & Electrical / Mechanical Engineering Organisations.

An experienced Digital Product Manager, with a proven track record of delivering eCommerce solutions and optimising user experience to increase conversion rates for online retailers by managing digital product roadmaps from concept through to delivery

The next step is to create 4-5 value-added strengths - here are a few examples written in a feature followed by benefit style:

  • Acting as a single point of contact for external and internal stakeholders on all aspects of service delivery to maintain relationships and ensure customer satisfaction

  • Creating value from mature assets by introducing cutting-edge technologies that replenish productivity and enable business growth

  • Defining and delivering commercially viable business cases and roadmaps that can be developed and sustained for continuous improvement

  • Reviewing technical, visual and analytical aspects of websites and applications to identify and present customer-focused solutions, strategies and roadmaps for digital transformation projects

  • Providing strategic multi-cultural leadership to multidisciplinary management teams to improve performance and deliver projects within $multi-million budgets and schedules

  • Designing effective delivery models, building supply chains and demand pipelines to sustain and grow business

Full Summary / Profile Examples (Obviously these will be less deep when used on A4 or US letter size - approximately 7 lines deep depending on font):

An experienced Head of Transformation, with a proven track record of leading multi-disciplined / multi-sector teams and creating/executing business transformation plans to realise strategic and transformative visions across global businesses. Key strengths include: going beyond the expected and designing, developing, and delivering people and culture change - blended with an influential and soft skillset to achieve new ways of working; developing digital transformation roadmaps using Agile manifesto principles that deliver best-in-class solutions; and engaging internal/external stakeholders to support and deliver business solutions with high-energy and emotional intelligence.

An experienced and chartered HSE Manager, with a proven track record of leading HSE functions for international oil, energy and marine sector organisations with focus on improving human organisational performance and global environmental protection through safety leadership and culture change. Key strengths include: managing and planning vessel dry-docking and maintenance periods by collaborating with shipyard management and contractors to improve NPT; managing and developing impactful animated safety videos for safe onboarding and induction of sub-contractors; developing simplified procedures and checklists to ensure execution of incident-free projects; and coaching personnel and teams to ensure career progression and improve competencies.

An experienced Senior Project Manager, with a proven track record of delivering Infrastructure, Software Development, Fintech and Cyber Security projects for Governmental agencies, enabling digital transformation and delivery within planned timeframes. Strengths include: managing business and IT stakeholders in matrix managed organisations, including c-suite engagement and presentation to gain buy-in for concepts, plans and roadmaps; adapting to new landscapes with ease without any prior experience by grasping software and security delivery frameworks; utilising agile & hybrid methodologies to efficiently manage and deliver outcomes; and leading projects from complex greenfield implementations by building entire frameworks from scratch to turn around stalled projects.

An experienced Product Line Director, with a proven track record of leading delivery of well intervention and completion technologies for global oil and energy service companies with the ability to manage and motivate cross-functional teams to achieve set goals across multiple overseas locations and projects. Key strengths include: managing full P&L, budgeting and forecasting, including (REV, FOP, EBIT, DTI, DSI, DSO) to ensure commercial viability and revenue generation; governing service quality across all levels of organisations to assure products, services and teams; reviewing and setting product line strategy aligned with existing and future markets to grow year-on-year; engaging with both IOC and NOC senior leadership teams to identify and evangelise business opportunities; and strengthening brand positioning through service line optimisation, pricing strategy and communication of product portfolios to increase market share.

Here's an example of page one of a modern and well laid out CV / Resume.

To help you with composing a new profile summary for your CV or Resume I suggest using Grammarly. Grammarly upholds accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, but is also clear, compelling and easy to read. Grammarly's suggestions help identify and replace complicated sentences with more efficient ones, refresh repetitive language, and strengthen your writing to say what you really mean.

You can also identify keywords for your profile summary by using Teal. It's the secret weapon that I've been happily using for the past couple of months to help my clients identify keywords for their CVs, Resumes and LinkedIn profiles - and believe me the tool is mind-blowing. Teal is a full-proof solution that easily stores jobs that you're interested in, tracks your progress, including notes and also automatically highlights important keywords for every job you save. It's like an online excel sheet on adrenalin and did I forget to mention, it's free to use!

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