How to include a profile summary in CV: a guide

Updated 13 April 2023

The process of crafting your CV for the first time can feel both exciting and overwhelming. You could think of it as a chance to prove to employers that you're ready to face the workforce and to use your skills for the company's benefit. Writing an efficient CV profile can help to impress hiring managers and increase your chances of receiving an invitation to an interview. In this article, we discuss what a CV profile is, why it's important and what to include in it, to help you write a profile summary in your CV.

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What is a profile summary in a CV?

A profile summary in your CV is a short paragraph that highlights your skills, experience and achievements to your future hiring manager. This section represents an efficient way to get the employer to notice you and pay attention to your qualifications. By creating a compelling summary, it's more likely that employers could consider you for an interview.

Why is writing a good CV profile summary so important?

The purpose of your CV profile is to prove to employers you're a highly valuable professional and to present to hiring managers why they and their company would benefit from offering you the position. Make sure you read the job description a few times to be aware of all the required skills and special qualities that you possess and of all the requirements you meet.

Related: CV template for a successful application (with example)

What can you include in a CV profile summary?

If you want to know what to include in your CV profile summary, note that it typically contains the following:

1. Skills

List both the soft and the hard skills you've developed throughout your career. If you lack experience, you could consider all the skills you've acquired through your education and all of your personal qualities that make you a great fit for the role. Think of what in particular makes you stand out from all of the other candidates who are applying for the same position as you.

Related: What are hard skills and how do they differ from soft skills?

2. Publications and presentations

Regarding publications, think of all the relevant ones, but keep the list short, since this is a summary. Remember that it's not necessary to provide a detailed list of all the titles and to include full citations and co-authors in this section, as you mention that in the rest of your CV anyway. Concerning presentations, think of important ones that can make you stand out to the hiring manager. Write down the titles, but leave out details about the venues and dates of your exhibitions.

3. Awards, honours and scholarships

Mention all of the awards and honours that you've received and that are relevant to the position you're applying for, but exclude details, such as their names, the year when you received them or the awarding organisation. Include any scholarships you received, but leave out mentions of the award dates or the name of the institutions. Try to list them in reverse chronological order, as this is the official approach.

Related: Where to put awards on your CV (and tips for including them)

4. Licenses and certificates

Insert the names of all the relevant licenses and certificates that you've received. Remember to exclude the name of the institutions that awarded you and the dates of earning them. Write them in reverse chronological order, since this is the standard way of presenting information in a CV and it makes you look professional.

5. Work experience

Include all the relevant expertise you've acquired so far, but keep your content concise. State what positions you've had and what you've managed to achieve through them. Remember to only write about work accomplishments that relate to the position you're applying for. Think about what you've gained from all the work you've performed in terms of how this can make you stand out. It's a good idea to review the job description of the role you're trying to secure and to match your work experience to the employer's requirements. Remember to list your expertise in reverse chronological order.

Related: How to write work experience on a CV (tips and example)

How to write a great CV profile summary

If you wish to draft a compelling profile summary for your CV, you might benefit from exploring the next eight steps:

1. State all relevant degrees, certificates and licenses

It's always beneficial to mention all the degrees, certificates and licenses that are relevant to the position. These can all help make your profile more attractive to employers, increasing the odds of an interview. Note that most hiring managers appreciate you listing these at the start of your profile summary. This is helpful if you're a new professional and you're freshly joining the workforce or if you're changing your career path.

Related: How to write a summary (Plus steps and tips)

2. Use fewer words

Hiring managers have plenty of applications to read and spend around one minute reviewing your CV. This is why a CV profile summary typically has between five and eight lines and highlights your potential. Recruiters want to have a clear view of all your work expertise, so you can present it under the format of a list. Write only a few concise statements instead of long paragraphs.

Related: Words to describe yourself when applying for a job

3. Use data when talking about your achievements

Both precise numbers and estimates help to make your work experience seem more palpable. Using quantities also makes it easier for employers to picture your full potential and the value you could bring to their company. Make sure you support your accomplishments with real percentages to give your CV credibility and to make an impact on the hiring manager reading it.

4. Pick the recruiter's interest

Describe how you could help the company improve or at least maintain its high standards. Let the hiring manager know why they would benefit from hiring you by providing them with a quick overview of your set of skills, expertise and personal qualities. This summary can help to grab the employer's attention and make them read the rest of your CV.

5. Proofread

Encountering even just one spelling or typographical mistake is enough to make your CV look unprofessional. Ensure that you review your entire CV summary several times. You could try doing a word-by-word and line-by-line check to help you inspect your document section thoroughly and catch any typos. You can also print your CV on paper and use a pen to follow the words and lines to find potential misspellings.

6. Use an outside perspective

Try asking a friend, a family member or even a mentor to read your CV before sending it to hiring managers. You can always benefit from hearing suggestions about wording and what else you might want to include in your document. You could've easily missed a mention of an important event or accomplishment out of stress.

7. Use the keywords recruiters wrote in the job description

Hiring managers enjoy reviewing CV profile summaries that showcase your ability to use their language. Take this chance to inform recruiters that you're aware of their company's lingo. Reading your CV profile summary and finding their own keywords in it helps them see that you're a strong fit for the position. Another advantage is the fact that if your CV ends up being posted on an online database, such as Indeed CV, the right keywords represent your key to being found by employers.

Related: How to write a CV headline (with examples)

8. Show confidence

All recruiters like to see that you take pride in your accomplishments and that you're highly confident in the skills you possess. Ensure that these two attributes can be easily identified in your CV profile summary. Highlight all of your personal qualities and your most relevant achievements.

Related: How to write about yourself confidently and effectively

Highlighting skills in a CV profile summary when you have no work experience

Note that recruiters almost always seek a mixture of soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are those you can apply to more than one role. They include working well as part of a team, strong written and verbal communication and attention to detail. Hard skills are those you earn through high-level education or job training. They include being proficient in information technology and fluent in various foreign languages. When they look to hire candidates for entry-level positions, the majority of recruiters prefer soft skills rather than hard skills, as soft skills are more difficult to teach.

Be certain to mention the information that's the most relevant to the role. If you wish to apply for the role of an administrative assistant, for example, you could mention how your babysitter position helped you improve your time management skills, rather than discuss how this experience helped you develop various childcare skills. Ensure that you frequently revise your CV profile summary, so that each job you apply for can show the hiring manager that your qualifications align with what they require for the position.


  • CV summary examples (And 5 steps for how to write one)

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