Connecting the Dots: The Impact of a Resume Profile

By Sharon Fleshman

Have you ever applied for a position and wondered how to help the employer see the relevance of your experiences?  Perhaps you are seeking a career change and your recent experience seems unrelated.  Maybe you have an eclectic background with no obvious career focus.    A resume profile, sometimes called a summary of qualifications or highlights section, can allow you to note themes in your career path or key skills that a recruiter might not otherwise notice.   An effective profile is one that is not generic but tailored to a given career or position.  Consider the following examples:

“Over 10 years of progressive and diversified analytical and education-related experience in the public and private sector. Strong background in law, government and policy, including quantitative data management skills and advocacy experience. Skilled in SAS and SPSS.”

With this profile, a student sought to make a switch from law to education policy.  Note how the student emphasized a track record in analytical work (law and policy research) and experience relevant to the field of education (education law and volunteer work with high school students). The student also made note of skills in statistical software, which are vital in the field of policy research.

 “International experience with students from diverse cultures, through teaching, living, and traveling abroad.  Familiar with college admissions practices through work as an undergraduate liaison. Strong counseling skills with adolescents.”

This profile was for a student who wanted to move into an advising position in international programs and services at a university.  In addition to performing administrative tasks at an international programs office and interning as a counselor while in graduate school, the student had a variety of previous work experiences including teaching overseas, working in an admissions office and helping with education research.

To see how profiles typically look on resumes, take a look at the following samples:


Author: Sharon

Sharon Fleshman is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for students in Education, Nursing and Social Policy & Practice.