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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

The Career Summary: Living and Writing Roles

Updated: May 26, 2020

In the career development world, it is not enough to have lived a role successfully. It must be written about it if more successful roles are to come! Summarizing for job search documents is an art that career service provides must both learn and teach. Now that is an accomplishment worth writing about! ~ Melanie Reinersman,

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

FOCUS ON: The Profile Section of a Resume

Whether its called a Qualifications Profile, an Executive Summary, or a List of Accomplishments, the top of the resume is where the recruiter looks for the overview. The key is to tailor this section to the specific job being applied for. Read more about summaries on resumes from

JOB SEARCHING: LinkedIn Summaries Are a 30 Second Profile

Conciseness is the key goal with summaries that only get a quick glance. After the critical first two sentences that describe one’s identity, then comes specifics regarding roles, followed by a strong finish. Read more about making an impact on LinkedIn profiles.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: A Review of Life Roles

When career practitioners talk about “life roles,” the name Donald Super should come to mind immediately. A review of his theory of the development and interrelatedness of life roles could be a starting point for the practitioner before helping clients examine their roles or write a career summary.

What Other Career Development Professionals Are Saying About… Career Summaries aka Accomplishments

“Detailing professional job accomplishments in your resume are advanced strategies for showing potential hiring managers that you’re more than just a ‘seat warmer,’ but someone who knows how to turn challenges into successes,” says Louise Garver, Resume Writer and Career Coach. She recommends that you keep track of achievements throughout the year so as to better recall successes in life, contribute to performance evaluations, set goals, argue for a raise, etc. Read more on her website at


What Other Career Development Professionals Are Saying About… Volunteer Roles

Not surprisingly, many people have volunteer roles included in their career summaries. Ron Elsdon is a big proponent of volunteering throughout one’s life. “Volunteering will evolve over a life time. The focus may shift from more tangible benefits in earlier life stages to more altruistic aspects later, from a stepping stone earlier to a destination later,” explains Elsdon. Overcoming challenges to volunteering can lead to living a life role that goes beyond a career summary. Read more about being a volunteer in this Career Convergence article by Elsdon.

TOP TEN: Best Resume Summary Examples

From a “15+ year business owner” example to a “career-changer” example, these ten well-written summaries also include WHY each is good. All ten are attention-grabbing and promise to lead to interviews. Read all ten at


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” - Georgia O’Keeffe
“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.” - Sandra Day O’Connor


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