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Working in Norway

How/Why Should You Write a CV Summary?

Written by Karin Lee Feb. 18 2020

Wondering what your CV Summary should look like? Read on. This must be the season for CV writing, as I’ve been busy lately editing an extraordinary number of them, mostly from graduate students entering the final phase of their studies and looking ahead to the world of work. But I’ve noticed that the CV a …

Wondering what your CV Summary should look like? Read on.

This must be the season for CV writing, as I’ve been busy lately editing an extraordinary number of them, mostly from graduate students entering the final phase of their studies and looking ahead to the world of work.

But I’ve noticed that the CV a lot of my young customers are sending me has the traditional format of heading with name and contact information, then directly below a jump right into their work experience.

Instead, I’ve been writing back to all these job seekers encouraging them to put in a Summary right under their heading.

What is a Summary, anyway?

What’s a Summary? In Norway I’ve been told that it’s a section that should include your key skills that are easily found in a search engine.

So graduates in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) would probably write terms included in their line of study (robotics, theoretical physics and the like).

Answer these two questions

Yet in the English-speaking working world, it seems we have a slightly different approach to writing a Summary. That is, while it’s good to include key skills here, I advise people to mix those in with a sentence or two answering the questions:

-What do you want to work with?

– Where do you want to do it?

In other words, try to be as specific as you can here. For example, think about question one: Do you want to work in a lab? Out in the field? With robots? With chemical analysis? You get the idea.

Then think about question two: Do you want to work for a private company? A government agency? A non-profit organization? Again, hopefully you get the idea.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

I will finish my Master’s degree in Process Technology in June 2020 and am actively looking for work in the process industry. Am open to relocating. My key skills include:

  • Fluid/gas flow correlation with operating conditions
  • Software and documentation
  • Testing chemicals and segregating alternate fuels

Why should I write a Summary, anyway?

What’s the point of all this focus on your Summary? Well, it should quickly give the hiring manager reading it a clue as to how you can be a good fit for their organization. It should also make him/her want to read more about your background.

Maybe you’re just the right person for the job? (Of course you are!)

Let your Summary be the start of showing potential employers that this is true.

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