How to write an executive summary for a resume?

By Steven Mostyn

Table of Contents

An essential aspect of an executive resume is the executive summary section, which is probably the first thing other than your name that a prospective company will read about you. As this section is essential, you should make sure to make a great impression with it and write it the right way. The following article will explain in detail how to write an effective executive summary.

What is an executive summary?

The executive summary section in a resume, also sometimes referred to as the headline, or objective section is the first section in your resume after your name and contact information. The purpose of the executive summary section in your resume is to give potential employers a very brief highlight of your qualifications.

Why is an executive summary so important?

They say you have only seconds to impress a recruiter or hiring manager with your resume. With the executive summary in your resume being one of the first things that a potential employer will see it is partitive that it sells your skills in a manner that will make the person reading it want to bring you in for an interview.

How long should an executive summary be?

Your executive summary on your resume should be at least two rows long or two sentences long as a minimum and no more than five rows or three sentences.  If it is too short, it will not be suitable for an executive. On the other hand, if it too long, it will look out of the norm as executive summaries are not expected to be long in length.

Do I have to have an executive summary?

As an executive summary or objective section are a standard on executive resumes, you must follow this and include one on your resume. 

How to write an executive summary?

You must understand how to write an executive summary in a resume in the correct manner. Below you will find step-to-step how to write it.

  1. Start with some powerful professional adjectives that define you as an executive. An example might be transformational executive or award-winning executive.
  2. After the adjective list, either years of experience and or your area of expertise. An example might be with 15+ years of experience turning around firms in the insurance and banking industry.
  3. The next part of the sentence should be the role you are looking for. An example might be seeking a CEO role with a growth-oriented organization.
  4. After mentioning the kind of role, you are looking for at the end of the 1st sentence, the 2nd sentence should be another sentence that will sell you to potential employers. An example might be Experience driving business for positive change, including developing strategic solutions that increase efficiencies, profitability, and service levels.

Tips for adding an executive summary to your resume?

When adding an executive summary to your resume, It is essential as an executive leader that you write your executive summary on your resume in the correct format. Below you will find the critical points in writing your executive summary in terms of do’s and don’ts.

Do’s in writing your executive summary

  1. Do make sure your executive summary is written in the 3rd person.
  2. Do make sure your executive profile is at least 2 rows long or 2 sentences long.
  3. Do make sure you list your most significant accomplishments and or adjectives
  4. Do make sure your executive summary is the first section on the resume after your contact information is listed.
  5. Do make sure your executive summary grabs the attention of both hiring managers and recruiters.
  6. Do make sure your resume lists the domain or your industry experience you have.
  7. Do make sure you proofread your executive summary.
  8. Do list any key companies you have worked for in your executive profile.
  9. Do list any major awards if you have any in the executive profile.
  10. Do make sure to list the kind of employer you are looking to work for in the executive profile.

Don’ts in writing your executive summary

  1. Do not write anything that is not relevant.
  2. Do not write more than 5 rows or 3 sentences.  
  3. Do not write any gimmicky attention-grabbing words as it will make you appear unprofessional.
  4. Do not write a generic, boring-sounding executive profile.
  5. Do not write anything that is not positive in the executive profile.
  6. Do not list of year experience of more than 20 years in your executive profile to avoid ageism.
  7. Do not write anything about your non-work interests in your executive profile.
  8. Do not write an executive profile in a language or style not fit for an executive.
  9. Do not write the executive profile in a font different than other parts of the resume.
  10. Do not write an executive profile with a short form or abbreviated words.

Executive summary examples

Below you will find some executive summary examples

Executive summary example 1

Transformational CEO with a passion for innovation seeks a progressive role with a growth-oriented organization. Experience driving business for positive change, including developing strategic solutions that increase efficiencies, profitability, and service levels.

Executive summary example 2

Recognized leading executive in turning around struggling enterprises seeks new challenges.  

Results-driven, transformational expert who has been a featured expert on CNN, ABC, The Washington Post and many other forms of media.

Executive summary example 3

Results-driven transformational technology executive with extensive experience leading global billion-dollar innovation initiatives for global brands seeks an executive role with a dynamic organization.   

Executive summary example 4

Revenue generator with a 20-year career turning around struggling enterprises. Seeks a progressive role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization. Enterprise experience driving business for positive change, including developing strategic and innovative solutions that increase efficiencies, profitability, and service levels. 

Executive summary example 5

Results-driven transformational innovative CIO with extensive experience leading and building technology departments for both start-ups and large well-known global brands like Sony, IBM, and Amazon.

Executive summary example 6

Driven transformational innovation executive with extensive experience leading global billion-dollar innovation initiatives for global brands seeks an executive role with a dynamic organization.

Executive summary example 7

Award-winning transformational CFO with a proven track record for delivering financial solutions seeks a progressive role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization. 20+ years of providing holistic financial solutions for major organizations such as Bank of America, Oracle & GE.

Executive summary example 8

Detailed-orientated CFO, with over twenty years of operational and administrative experience seeks an executive financial role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization.

Executive summary example 9

Transformational VP of technology with a Doctorate in computer science from MIT and extensive experience creating quality software. This included leading & managing engineering teams in delivering projects on time and budget.

Executive summary example 10

Future-focused manufacturing executive with a proven track record of producing results seeks a growth-oriented organization where innovative leadership skill that can be leveraged to achieve exceptional results.

Executive summary templates

Below you will find some Executive summary templates examples

Executive summary template 1

Recognized __________ executive in turning around struggling enterprises seeks new challenges.  Results-driven, transformational expert who has been a featured expert on ____________ and many other forms of media.

Executive summary template 2

Results-driven transformational innovative __________ with extensive experience leading and building technology departments for both start-ups and large well-known global brands like _________________ seeks a ______________   role.

Executive summary template 3

Award-winning transformational ___________ leader with a proven track record for delivering ___ solutions seeks a progressive role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization. 20+ years of providing holistic ____ for major organizations such as ________________

Executive summary template 4

Transformational _______ with a _____in ______and extensive experience with ____in creating________. This includes leading & managing ________ teams in delivering projects on time and budget.

Executive summary template 5

 Results-driven transformational ________________ leader with a passion for innovation seeks a progressive role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization. Enterprise experience driving business for positive technology change, including developing strategic and innovative solutions that increase efficiencies, profitability, and service levels.

Executive summary template 6

Detailed-orientated _____ with over twenty years of operational and administrative experience seeks an ________ executive role with a dynamic, growth-oriented organization.

Executive summary template 7

Industry-leading ______ expert with extensive experience with managing and implementing high-level ______ solutions seeks an ____ role with a dynamic organization.  

Executive summary template 8

Executive Leader, with in-depth experience building businesses in multiple industries including ___________________seeks a progressive role with a dynamic organization Enterprise experience driving business for positive change, including developing strategic and innovative solutions that increase efficiencies, profitability, and service levels.              

Executive summary template 9

_______________, with a passion for innovation, seeks a progressive operations leadership role with a dynamic organization. Adaptable and successful industry experience that spans multiple industries including________________. Enterprise experience driving business for positive change, including developing strategic and innovative solutions that increase efficiencies, operations, outcomes, profitability, and service levels.  

Executive summary template 10

________ with a passion for innovation seeks a role with a dynamic organization. _____ years of enterprise leadership experience working for large organizations such as___________. Extensive experience with_________________.

Steven Mosytn
Steven Mosytn

Steven Mostyn has built a global reputation as the world-leading expert in job hunting strategies. Steven is the CEO of Alpha IT Recruitment and Career Boost Group