How to write a career highlights section on your CV

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career highlights section on your CV is beneficial to add if you have lots of experience in your career field. This section helps convey your strongest skills and accomplishments and encourages hiring managers to continue reading. Knowing how to write a highlights section helps ensure you include all the right information and increases your chances of progressing to the next application stage. In this article, we discuss what a career highlights section is, review how to write one and provide some highlights examples.

What is the career highlights section on a CV?

Otherwise known as a professional summary, a career highlights section of a CV is an optional, customised section that outlines relevant skills, expertise, achievements and experience for the position for which you're applying. Candidates with years of experience use this section to gain attention to their most applicable expertise. It's usually located at the top of a CV to better gain attention and encourage hiring managers to continue reading.

Related: How to write a CV employers will notice

How to write a highlights section

Here's a list of steps you can take to write a highlights section for your CV:

1. Read the job description

Review the job description before writing this section to ensure you understand the job requirements. Doing so gives you a better idea of what the employer is looking for so you're able to include those elements in your highlights. Be sure to read over the required skills, experience and academic qualifications and write them down. If you know any employees at the company, consider asking them for suggestions. They might be able to tell you what the company prioritises in their hiring processes.

Related: How to include a profile summary in CV: a guide

2. Select relevant highlights

Make a list of the skills, experience and academic qualifications you have that match those outlined in the job description. Arrange the listed components from most to least important to prioritise them. Ensure you retain any keywords or phrases the company used to describe certain requirements to increase the chances of your CV passing through applicant tracking systems (ATS). This helps guarantee that you phrase your highlights section in a way that appeals to the employer.

3. Choose your format

Choose how you want to format your highlights on your CV. If you have several years of experience in various fields, consider creating a short, bulleted list to better present the skills you learned over the years. This format is also easier for hiring managers to read and skim. You can consider writing a short paragraph that outlines what you offer the prospective employer in terms of your expertise.

If you choose this format, keep your paragraphs three to four sentences long to help ensure the information is easily accessible. Also state your most relevant skills and qualifications with a brief introductory sentence before creating bullet points for any other accomplishments.

4. Be concise

CVs are usually no longer than a page and have several components. For this reason, be brief and write concisely when listing your highlights. The more direct you are, the easier it is for the hiring manager to see your experience and qualifications. Assess your listed skills and experience and determine how much space they're going to take up on your CV. If they take up more than a few lines, consider removing some items from the bottom of the list.

5. Include relevant education and experience

Start your highlights by mentioning relevant academic qualifications and certifications you've achieved that qualify you for the position. Follow up your highest academic qualification with the number of years of experience you have in the field. Including relevant work experience demonstrates your proven ability to perform the position's responsibilities.

Related: Writing a summary of qualifications for a CV (With examples)

6. Explain specific experiences

If you have several years of experience, consider focusing on jobs that are the closest match to the one in which you're interested. Include a brief description of the tasks you performed in the position to showcase your expertise and explain what you've done within your experience. Follow on from your responsibilities by outlining any specific successes you contributed towards in the role, using quantitative metrics where possible.

7. List relevant skills

Note any relevant skills you've acquired over the years that might help you perform the job. Include a mix of hard and soft skills to show your range. Consider presenting your skills in bulleted format rather than listing them in a lengthy sentence to help aid readability.

8. Note your accomplishments

Highlight any professional certifications you have that are pertinent to the position. Demonstrate your commitment to professional development by referencing any courses you're taking to gain further certification or better your skills. Some other accomplishments to consider are:

  • awards earned from previous employers

  • awards from professional associations

  • presentations or teaching experiences at professional conferences

  • recognition given by your former employers

9. Discuss future aspirations

Finish your highlights section with a brief sentence about what you hope to achieve at the company if they hire you. Mention your career goal and how this position might help you reach it. Including your future aspirations allows the prospective employer to determine whether your goals and that of the company match.

10. Proofread the document

Once you've finished writing your highlights section, proofread it for spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes. Once you've made the necessary corrections, read the section aloud to ensure it makes sense and is easily understandable. When reading it, determine whether it accurately highlights your most relevant professional strengths and experiences. Consider asking a friend to review the section to ensure it's clear and reads well.

Examples of CV highlights

Some examples of highlights sections to consider include:

Sales manager

Here's an example of a sales manager highlights section in paragraph format:

Five years of experience working as a Sales Manager. Assured all sales records complied with regulations when making sales and purchasing inventory. Adept at consistently exceeding sales targets by building a customer base to increase sales revenues. Proven conflict resolution skills and strong leadership capabilities. Graduated with a first-class bachelor's in marketing. Currently undertaking a professional development course in marketing to learn about new trends and market shifts.

Head chef

Here's an example of a head chef highlights section in bulleted list format:

Head chef with 10 years of experience in an award-winning restaurant. Accomplishments include:

  • graduating from Professional Culinary School and completing the certified chef certification course

  • developing new menus that lead to the restaurant gaining a professional rating

  • implementing a kitchen staff system that improved efficiency and allowed us to serve up to 20 more customers per night

  • teaching new chefs in the company's new chain restaurant

  • leading a successful and diverse team of 20 kitchen staff

Related: How to write a chef CV (with an example)

SEN teacher

Here's an example of an SEN teacher highlights section in paragraph format:

Early years SEN teacher with five years of experience delivering educational instruction and assistance to children aged between two and five. Proven ability to work with children of varying backgrounds and education levels and help them achieve their goals. Fostered a learning and cooperative environment to ensure children felt comfortable. Skilled in test proctoring, audio-visual aid implementation and experiential learning. Looking to work with children of a higher age group, having obtained my PGCE in teaching.

Marketing executive

Here's an example of a marketing executive highlights section in bulleted list format:

A Marketing Executive with over five years of experience specialising in paid advertising and social media strategies to increase website traffic and promote a strong online presence. Accomplishments include:

  • spearheading social media campaigns that increased company revenue from advertising by 30%

  • decreasing customer acquisition costs by 45%

  • introducing e-commerce automation strategies that increase average order value per customer

  • optimising the company website for various devices, which increased website traffic by 35%

  • winning a recognition award for Biggest Brand Impact of 2022 in the Marketing Executives Awards

Related: CV summary examples (and 5 steps for how to write one)

Copywriter

Here's an example of a copywriter highlights section in paragraph format:

Professional Copywriter with over 10 years of experience working in advertising. Produced various types of content, including blog posts, articles, webpage content, commercials, brochures and social media posts. Helped a client increase landing page conversation rate by 45% in five months for all domains by creating engaging and SEO-optimised content. Created email campaign content that led to an increase in a client's revenue by 15% for the year. A certified technical communicator.

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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