Resume: An Introduction
The Introduction Section of the Résumé
The Introduction section of your résumé includes the heading, the executive summary and highlights of skills and experience you don’t want the reader to miss.
Here’s an obvious question: How easily can an employer reach you? Don’t send employers on a scavenger hunt for your contact information or worse, include so much contact information that they don’t know which method to use first.
The heading of your résumé should include:
- Your name
- E-mail address
- Phone number
Put your name, home address, phone number(s), and personal e-mail address at the top of the page. (Remember that a company e-mail account is not private.) Make sure your e-mail address sounds professional, such as email@example.com. If you must hang on to “firstname.lastname@example.org” then set up a separate e-mail address solely for your job search.
Provide daytime phone numbers if possible, unless you’re permanently employed and can’t receive personal calls discreetly at work. In that case, use your home phone number. You may also include a cell phone number. Make sure that any phone numbers or e-mails are answered professionally and checked regularly.
If you were born or have education outside the U.S. but are now a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, include your status on the résumé, in the heading section. If you have a temporary visa, however, do not state this information. If there are no suitable American candidates for the position, the employer may be willing to sponsor a candidate for permanent resident status.
You may also want to include the URL of your LinkedIn profile, or the address of a professional web page that describes your work. You can also use the “Edit Profile” feature on LinkedIn to change your web page’s URL to something more memorable.
Instead of an objective, you could write an executive summary that emphasizes your professional expertise and provides a strong introduction to your résumé. A summary establishes the benefits you bring to a company and shows why you are the best candidate for the job.
The summary is typically a short paragraph of your professional qualifications. You don’t have to call it a summary; and could be called a Profile, an Introduction, or an Overview. You can even use a headline that brands who you are. A summary can include all or some of the following elements:
- A headline that establishes who you are and your expertise: “R&D Project Manager”
- A statement that “brands” you: “Experienced technology leader and manager of processes that achieve increased business value.”
- A brief sentance or two that summarizes your professional qualifications: “Creative thinker and intelligent problem-solver, eager to tackle new challenges. Expert analytical chemist, with demonstrated ability to develop new SOPs as well as troubleshoot and maintain HPLC, GC and MS. Skilled interpreter of customer needs resulting in enhanced customer service.”
- A list of your core skills: “Strategic planning. Project Management. Customer Satisfaction. Team Leadership & Management.”
- A list of two or three career achievements: “Wythe Polymers, Inc.: Managed a portfolio of R&D projects that focused on the commercialization of new resin products for the global composites industry.”
Whatever information you put in the summary, make sure there is supporting information later in the résumé. For example, if your summary says you have excellent communication skills, the resume should include accomplishments such as publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals and giving invited or keynote presentations.
If you elect not to use an objective or a summary, you might use a highlights section instead. Sometimes this section is referred to as accomplishments or key qualifications. This section of the résumé guides the reader’s attention, bringing your most relevant skills and experiences to the forefront, and offers you the chance to present the “entire package.”
Here are some well-written examples of a highlights section:
- “Experienced in the synthesis, purification and characterization of organic compounds”
- “Skilled in identifying and preparing novel materials for use in fuel cells”
- “Adept at preparing fuel cells having high efficiency and extended shelf-life”
- “Originated techniques for detecting energy loss sites in photo-electric membranes”
- “Proven team leader with excellent interpersonal and communication skills”