The Career Highlights or Career Summary section comes in the beginning of a resume just after the applicant’s name and contact information. This is an alternative to the Summary Statement and therefore is optional. It is used to bullet-list your key accomplishments, skills, experience and qualification most relevant to the job applied in a nut shell.
You are most probable to find this section in a chronological or combination resume format where the applicant has sufficient relevant skills and expertise to show off. Instead of the Career Highlights section, you can also start your resume with a Summary Statement which is usually a paragraph of three or four lines summarizing your work experience, skills, potential and career goals.
For those who do not have much relevant skills or qualification to put across, it is recommended to not include this section in their resumes.
How to write the Career Highlights section
Here are some tips to keep in mind while writing your Career Highlights section.
Jot down your accomplishments
Think about all the achievements, skills, experiences and qualifications you have acquired or gained till date and jot them down. Remember that this section is a summary of your whole resume and your career so far, so it should include everything.
Shortlist important ones
If you have a job opening at hand to apply to, then read through the requirement specified and try to co-relate them with the list you have prepared and shortlist them. Otherwise, if you are simply creating a general resume for common use, then fish out and shortlist those that are most relevant for the job you are seeking.
Use action verbs
Once you have found the content for your Highlights section, frame proper and distinct phrases and/or sentences to list them concisely. Remember that this is only a glossary or summary listing for a quick reference for hiring managers. So make sure the sentences/ phrases aren’t too long or clumsy. Using action verbs to start each list item will help to put them across effectively.
Quantify your summary listing
Don’t just state your accomplishments; back them up with facts and figures if possible. This will increase the credibility of your claims and put you as a strong candidate for the job. For instance, if you are working in the hospitality sector, feedback and performance tracking systems are an inevitable part of your job. Hence, instead of simply stating “Proven customer service skills”, you can write “Achieved an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 for customer service over the 3 years of tenure”. Similarly, if you have trained employees or worked with a large number of clients, or improved sales, you can quantify them all with their respective numbers and figures.
Some examples of a proper Career Highlights section
· Transformed XYZ Company into an award-winning $30 million technology organization
· Increased sales at an average of 35% to 45% every year
Career Highlights for a Software Engineer resume
Highlights of Qualification
· Software Developer with history of productivity and successful project outcomes
· Specialist in the development of microprocessor-based firmware and software in real-time embedded environments.
· Adaptable and proficient in the design and programming of systems in wide variety of areas