Adding a “Professional Profile” to Your Résumé

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As an AmeriCorps VISTA, you’ll develop and apply a wide range of skills that are attractive to employers. A professional profile is a short statement that appears on the top of your resume that highlights your experience, VISTA and otherwise, and the value you can bring to an organization.

Since employers often spend less than seven seconds in making a decision on a resume, a professional profile can help you make a quick first impression. For job seekers, a professional profile can serve as an extremely concise cover letter, it can be tailored to specific vacancy announcements, and lets you highlight the keywords that employers are looking for based on the position description.

What is a professional profile? It is a short statement, usually 50 words or less, that focuses on what you bring to a position and organization. It differs from a resume objective in that it’s less centered on what you are looking for than what the organization is seeking. It goes by many names, including personal profile, career summary, profile statement, and others. You can find resources across the Internet by typing any one of those terms into a search engine.

What does a professional profile look like? Here are some examples for various scenarios:

  • Fundraising and development team player with two years AmeriCorps VISTA experience at agencies providing services to homeless youth. Raised more than $300,000 through events and donor solicitation. Skilled in project planning, marketing, and donor relations.
  • Bilingual community organizer with experience in rural health care. Successfully established government-nonprofit partnerships to form training and technical assistance network for staff at community health centers that provide service for hundreds of rural families.
  • Experienced curriculum and training developer. Created financial literacy eight-week course curriculum adopted in four counties. Recruited 20 dedicated community volunteer workshop facilitators to implement curriculum. Designed and facilitated a “train the trainers” workshop. 
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