Professional Summary - catch attention in 30 seconds

If you are looking for a job, whether full-time or part time, you need to focus your search. It is all too easy to say to yourself or anyone who asks “I'm just looking for anything". While easy, this approach will not lead very far. You may ask “Why?” Doesn’t this approach demonstrate flexibility?

Perhaps, but in today's economy no company or prospective client is looking for a "person who can do anything", or a "person in charge of whatever needs to be done." Companies large and small are very selective in hiring and bringing people on-board. Larger companies that have teams of people working on particular topic are seeking someone who will be a precise fit into that team. Small businesses want someone who can solve a problem perhaps working alone. But everyone is looking for an experienced professional who can articulate succinctly what they can do to solve specific problems.

Before you start looking for work opportunities, you need to create a clear and brief statement of who you are and what you're qualified to do. Many hiring managers or small business entrepreneurs looking for extra help want to know within first few moments whether the person they are meeting is qualified to do the job. Therefore, it's important that you be able to deliver your summary in 30 seconds or less explaining what it is that you're looking to do and what value you can bring.

With increased use of on-line job platforms, summary qualifications are becoming even more important. While in an interview or a meeting you have a chance to convince the person in front of you that you have what it takes, on-line profiles will get only a brief look and if there is nothing catching the attention of the reviewer, they will move onto the next profile. There is no look-back.

So how do you go about crafting this summary? For starters, being vague, broad or lengthy is not helpful. Someone who has 30-40 years of experience may have to leave out some important facts. But that is ok – once you have captured the attention of your prospective client, there will be plenty of chances to show all the great things that you can do.

In a written form, your summary should be no longer than 3 sentences and should contain both your accomplishments and qualifications. Good example would be a statement like this:

"I'm a finance professional who enjoys working in a small business environment. I have a wealth of experience in creating metrics to help the business to understand the underlying levers of growth."

In just a few words you can convey your area of expertise, working style and value that you bring. Another example would be:

“I am a highly organized administrator with deep experience in managing small and medium sized offices. I have a long track record of providing efficient support to the field staff through use of technology and interpersonal skills”.

Once you have written your brief summary, find supporting evidence in your prior experience that demonstrates how you have applied them in real-life. If at all possible, find examples of actual work products that can be shown to your prospective clients or employers. Obviously you need to make sure that there is nothing confidential there.

In summary, you should avoid the temptation to say that you're looking for anything, and be focused in your search for encore career. It's the best way for you to know what you want and can do. We are here to help you to start. Send us an email if you want to review your summary!

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