Particularly with highly sought-after positions, the hiring managers are swamped with applications and barely have time for a fleeting glance as resumes pile onto their desk. For this reason, it's imperative to use a well-written executive summary to grab attention and interest from those with the power to hire you. Purpose An executive summary tells potential employers why, in a nutshell, they should consider you for an open position. It allows you to highlight your experience in a way that entices readers to take a closer look at your resume and then contact you for an interview.
Getty Images Whether you've put together a business plan or an investment proposal, you're going to need an executive summary to preface your report. The summary should include the major details of your report, but it's important not to bore the reader with minutiae.
Save the analysis, charts, numbers, and glowing reviews for the report itself. This is the time to grab your reader's attention and let the person know what it is you do and why he or she should read the rest of your business plan or proposal.
The executive summary is also an important way for you, as the entrepreneur, to determine which aspects of your company have the clearest selling points, and which aspects may require a bit more explanation.
Akira Hirai, founder and CEO of Phoenix-based Cayenne Consulting, a firm that helps entrepreneurs develop business plans and financial forecasts, says the process of distilling the essence of your business down to a page forces you to think hard, decide what's important, and discard things that aren't essential to the story line.
Investors, lenders, executives, managers, and CEOs are busy. That means the executive summary is an essential gateway for your business plan to get read.
Think about it this way: If you had an endless list of things to do, and someone handed you an page document and said, "Read this! According to Bonjour, investors will read the executive summary to decide if they will even bother reading the rest of the business plan.
It's rare for an investor or lender to read an entire business plan, at least in the initial stages of analysis and consideration for funding, so having a strong executive summary is key.
When you're writing your business plan, your goal is to get your foot in the door and face time with the investor. The First Paragraph Just as a movie might begin with a fight scene or a magazine article open with a funny anecdote, you'll need a strong hook for your executive summary.
The first paragraph needs to compel the reader to read the rest of the summary. Perhaps you have a compelling aha! If you've identified a problem in the marketplace that isn't being adequately serviced, you might start with that.
The Nuts and Bolts There is no set structure for an executive summary, but there are guidelines you must follow to ensure your business plan or investment proposal gets the attention it deserves.
First, think about your core strengths.
Use bullet points to present your ideas, and make sure you always use concise language. After you've explained what your company does, it's time to sell why you believe you're uniquely qualified to succeed.
Lavinsky recommends addressing these questions when putting together your executive summary: Depending on your audience, you can also try a more rigid approach to the executive summary. After the first paragraph, Bonjour says one effective structure is to summarize each section in the same order in which the items are presented within the full business plan.
To make the structure as relevant as possible for the reader, typically an investor or a lender, he suggests considering these categories: The last thing you want is to leave the reader feeling like there's plenty of time to act. Chances are, if there isn't any urgency to your executive summary, your business plan won't get read.
After describing the elements above, the executive summary should also have a brief financial summary. For your financials, Bonjour suggests including the valuation of the deal, so that the reader knows right away what the risks are, and what the returns can be.
Strictly Professional or Humorous? This depends on who your readers are. If you're presenting your plan to investors, make sure the language of the executive summary caters to their backgrounds. For example, if you know your investor has a degree in chemical engineering, your language might be different from that in the executive summary presented to an investor who studied philosophy.
In other words, "use language that will resonate with your target audience," says Hirai. Don't be afraid to change your executive summary when you present it to different investors.
Consider creating different versions for each audience, he says, but make sure that it's always kept professional, crisp, and free of any embarrassing errors. Another good tip he gives is to use personal pronouns e.
Your reader will feel a stronger personal connection with you, your brand, and your idea if you can relate to the reader in the first person. Don't forget to be confident, either.
If the writer does not clearly believe in this company, says Bonjour, why should the reader believe in it? Put yourself in your reader's shoes, and ask yourself why you would want to invest in a company.
The Length Remember, every executive summary is--and should be--unique.For an executive summary of a published paper, it is not unusual for the first paragraph to be more attention-grabbing.
For example, from a recently-published report about green energy and the internet: For the estimated billion people around the world who are connected to the internet, it is impossible to imagine life without it. An executive resume summary statement is even more critical for advanced positions since prospective employers will be primarily focusing on and comparing the track record of success that candidates have developed in similar roles.
There’s no one right style or tone for an executive summary. Just try to make your executive summary be a true reflection of you and your company. Speak in the first person or first-person plural (“I” and “we”) and let your personality come through. Authenticity is compelling.
9. Ask for what you need. How to Write an Executive Summary for Your Proposal Jennifer Faulkner July 04, | 10 min. read The executive summary is arguably the most valuable component of any proposal, but most people are confused about its purpose. The mission-based summary opens with a broad description of what you do, then gets more and more specific.
This is a great choice if you’re using LinkedIn to engage with a variety of people. A resume summary statement is a brief list or few sentences at the top of your resume (after your contact information) that highlights your qualifications for a job. Also known as a summary of qualifications or a resume profile, a summary statement gives the hiring manager, at a glance, a synopsis of your professional qualifications.