How to Start a Resume: The Complete Guide to a Resume Introduction in 2023
Think about the last book you read. When you picked up the book and read the first page, what enticed you to keep reading? Was it the first sentence? The first page? The first chapter? At some point, you made a decision about whether to keep reading the book--or whether to put it down in favor of another. That decision was likely made very close to the beginning of the book. And for hiring managers looking to fill open job positions, reading job seekers' resumes is often no different.
You don't have much time to convince a hiring manager to read your entire resume--statistics show they typically spend 6-7 seconds on each one. That's why a resume introduction is so important. As the first section of your resume, this summary uses a brief 1-3 sentences to explain who you are, what you do, and how you can add value to the company.
In this post, we'll cover the different types of resume introductions and how to write them. Plus, you’ll learn how to customize your resume introduction to make it stand out.
3 Key Takeaways:
- Resume introductions are brief statements that summarize the rest of your resume, highlighting your most relevant skills and qualifications.
- It's important to use a resume intro because it grabs the eye of the hiring manager.
- Best practices for writing a good resume introduction include customizing it for each job post, including metrics and action verbs, and writing your introduction last.
Why are resume introductions important?
A resume introduction, not to be confused with a resume headline, is a brief statement that appears at the beginning of your resume, summarizing your professional background and qualifications. You might also hear this section called a professional summary, resume summary statement, career summary, short professional bio, resume objective, or personal statement.
Some of these terms mean different things (we'll cover that in the next section). Others are interchangeable. But whatever the name, the idea is to catch the hiring manager's attention by providing a quick overview of your relevant skills, experience, and career goals.
This section of your resume is something you must pay attention to. Resume introductions are important because they "hook" a hiring manager, convincing your potential employer to keep reading and learning more about you.
An effective resume opening statement entices the reader by highlighting your unique selling points. It sets the tone for the rest of your resume and helps you stand out from other applicants.
Understanding the basics of a resume introduction
Your resume's opening statement might include information on your educational background, relevant skills, work experience, or anything else that counts toward your strongest selling points. The idea is simply to provide a concise, well-written overview of any relevant information that will grab the employer's attention.
Just like choosing the right resume format, you'll also need to choose the right resume introduction. There are a few different types of resume introductions from which you can choose. Make a good first impression by using the right one for your situation, such as a:
- Resume objective: While a career objective was once a staple in resume writing, times have changed. In today's job market, your goals and objectives are secondary to demonstrating your potential value to the organization. Rather than an objective statement, consider a professional summary that packs a persuasive punch.
- Professional summary: As a way to summarize your career, a resume summary is ideal for somebody who has diverse workplace experiences under their belt. We encourage most Teal users to stick with a professional summary.
- Qualifications summary: Use a qualifications summary if your skills and experience are highly relevant to the position you're targeting. This can help prove that you're qualified for the job.
How to write a resume introduction
In this section, we'll explore how to craft an introduction that showcases your value and motivates the hiring manager to continue evaluating your application. The tips we'll share can mean the difference between getting an interview and being overlooked in the review process.
A powerful intro that sparks interest and highlights your strengths, experience, and passion for the work can lead to an interview—or mean missing the chance altogether.
The tips we'll share will equip you to craft an introduction that gets you noticed and motivates the reader to keep turning the page. Make your opening count by showcasing what you can offer that no one else can.
Make sure your resume introduction is the proper length
Start a resume off right by choosing the type of introduction that's best for your current work history and industry skills. The best length for a resume introduction is 1-3 sentences. This gives you enough space to call out the most important information without going overboard (remember, the idea is to write something that people will actually take the time to read).
Match your introduction to a job description
To more effectively position yourself as a successful employee, remember to customize your resume introduction for each job application. Read the job requirements mentioned in the job description and note any ATS keywords, technical skills, or other specific qualifications. Then make sure to incorporate those words into your resume summary or objective to position yourself as someone who has exactly what the company is looking for. \
Teal's Job Application Tracker & AI Resume Builder help extract the top keywords so you can quickly customize your resume and let a company know exactly why you are applying for a specific position. (Teal's Matching Mode in the free AI Resume Builder can make writing a resume much easier--more on this in a minute.)
Make sure to include metrics
If you're able to include numbers in your resume introduction--specific metrics or other quantifiable information--this is a great way to prove your capabilities right off the bat. Metrics contribute to a great resume introduction because they demonstrate the impact you made at your prior organization.
To find metrics, consider how success and performance are measured in your industry or job position. Then see if you can dig up relevant numbers. Incorporate what you find by adding a resume opening sentence that sounds something like: "Accomplished mid-career copywriter who crafted SEO-optimized blog posts that improved click-through rate by 10%."
Use strong action verbs
Another helpful tip for the best resume introduction: Use action verbs. Strong action words help spice up your opening statements by bringing your prior work to life and strengthening your resume summary, as the hiring manager can easily picture the impressive work you did.
You can find countless lists of action verbs for resume online that will help you paint a vivid picture of your key skills in your resume intro.
Write your resume introduction last
And while this may sound counterintuitive, it's actually helpful to write your resume introduction last. It'll be faster and easier to go through your finished resume and pull out the highlights rather than starting from scratch (nobody likes staring at that blinking cursor).
Make it easier to write your opening statement and impress hiring managers by using Matching Mode in Teal's AI Resume Builder. Quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume. Then receive a "match score" and see where you can strengthen your resume by adding additional relevant experience.
Resume introduction examples
Regardless of your resume format, these examples of resume introductions can inspire you to create a compelling resume that will assist you in your job hunt.
Resume introduction for student
"As a highly motivated student pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology with an interest in sleep research, I'm excited to apply my academic knowledge and gain hands-on experience in the field through an internship. I'm a quick learner and team player with a solid understanding of the principles of neuroscience, physiology, and research methodologies, and I am ready to contribute to ongoing research projects focused on improving our understanding of sleep and sleep disorders."
Resume introduction for recent graduate
"As a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology and a passion for understanding the science of sleep, I'm eager to apply my knowledge and skills to a career in sleep research. With a strong foundation in neuroscience, physiology, and research methodologies, I'm well-equipped to contribute to studies aimed at improving our understanding of sleep disorders and their treatments."
Resume introduction for entry level professional
"As a skilled HVAC professional, my strong foundation in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems makes me well-equipped to make a positive impact. I have gained practical experience through hands-on projects helping with the installation and maintenance of various HVAC systems. I am confident that I have the skills and motivation to excel in this industry."
Resume introduction for mid-level professional
"As an experienced social media marketing professional, I'm excited to apply my project management skills and expertise to drive growth and engagement for your organization. With a proven track record of success in developing and executing social media strategies, I have a strong track record of delivering results managing social media campaigns across a variety of platforms. I am highly analytical and data-driven, and am also a creative thinker who is always looking for new and innovative ways to engage audiences and drive business results."
Resume introduction for experienced professional
"With over a decade of experience as an attorney, I have a proven track record of success in handling complex legal matters, including contract negotiations, civil litigation, and intellectual property disputes. I am highly skilled in legal analysis, negotiation, and advocacy, and I have a reputation for delivering results that exceed expectations. My strong communication skills and attention to detail make me an asset to any legal team."
Make your entire resume stand out with Teal
If you're looking for a quicker and easier way to craft your resume, Teal can help. Use the AI technology integrated within Teal's AI Resume Builder to generate professional summaries directly within the Teal platform.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you receive AI outputs of the highest quality:
- If you haven’t signed up already, create a Teal account and download the Chrome extension without any charges or commitments.
- Next, log into your web browser account and select the AI Resume Builder on the left-side navigation bar.
- Scroll until you reach the “Professional Summary” section, then click the button that says “Generate with AI”.
- If the response doesn't meet your expectations, you have the option to edit it or choose the "Regenerate with AI'' feature.
- After selecting the best summary, make sure to save it.
Note: Each Teal member will receive two AI-generated professional summaries, while Teal+ members can enjoy unlimited access to summaries.
Create multiple versions of your professional summary using Teal’s AI integration feature. Then attach a job description to incorporate relevant keywords. Finally, send your polished resume off to the job ad and impress human resources with your resume introduction and beyond.
Teal’s AI features can also help you generate resume accomplishments and an entire cover letter as well. Sign up for a free Teal account today to see for yourself.