How to write a personal summary

The personal summary section of your CV can be used to create a great first impression right off the bat – if you know how to do it right.


You spend so much time crafting the perfect CV to show why you’re the right person for the IT job – but did you know that many employers spend just seconds reading it? That’s where the personal summary comes in. This is the section, right at the start of the document, that should give the reader an overview of exactly why you’re a great candidate. Employers should be able to skim this in seconds and be enticed to read further.

As human resource expert and business owner Tom O’Neil points out, your personal summary should act as the elevator pitch that that sells you in combination with the rest of your CV.

“A modern CV should really focus on how the job hunter can add value to a company by showing their achievements and successes,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

So do you know how to write an impactful personal summary? Read on to find out our resume advice.

1. Tailor it to the job

The aim of your CV should be to show recruiters exactly why you fit the requirements of the job you’re applying for. Consequently, a general personal summary is not going to showcase your skills in the best light. Instead, target your summary specifically to the position, and include the strengths and experience that will demonstrate your suitability and why the recruiter should pick you over other candidates.

2. Avoid cliches

Use your personal summary to stand out to recruiters and employers right up front. It should differentiate from other applicants at the same time as playing up your strengths. A summary full of cliches is not going to do that. Avoid phrases such as “team player” and “detail oriented,” as the recruiter has probably seen them so many times before. Think about the unique qualities that you can offer, and use them to make yourself stand out.

3. Be honest

Finally, while you should always try to highlight your great talents, skills and experiences, honesty is still the best policy. When you over-exaggerate your good qualities, you risk being caught out and ruining your chances of landing the job. But being honest doesn’t mean pointing out your weaknesses either. Rather, pinpoint the things about yourself that will recommend you without the need for embroidery.

So take these tips on board to start off your CV on the right foot, and the good impression your personal summary creates could unlock the door to your future IT career.