What are the best practices for preparing an Executive Summary?


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Consider the Executive Summary as the Abstract for your portfolio. It may be the focal point during your employment review. Discuss how to prepare the Executive Summary. What are the important items to include in your summary? Are there any items you should not include in the summary?


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An executive summary is a concise document that provides an overview of a larger report or proposal. It is usually the first thing that an employer or a potential client sees, and therefore, it should be well-written and compelling. An executive summary contains the key points and main ideas of a report, and it is often used as a standalone document to make quick decisions. In this article, we will explore what an executive summary is, why it’s important, and how to prepare one.


Preparing an executive summary can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential component of any report or proposal. The purpose of an executive summary is to provide an overview of the report or proposal’s main points in a clear and concise manner. It is a document that should be written in a way that captures the reader’s attention and encourages them to read further.

To prepare an effective executive summary, there are a few important items that you should include. Firstly, it’s important to clearly state the purpose and scope of the report or proposal. This should be followed by a brief overview of the key findings, conclusions, and recommendations. You should also summarize the main arguments and evidence presented in the report or proposal. Finally, it’s essential to include any actionable next steps or recommendations.

While it’s important to include all of the key points, it’s equally important to keep the executive summary concise and focused. It should be no more than 1-2 pages long and written in clear and simple language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon, technical terms, or complicated sentences. Additionally, you should not include any extraneous information that doesn’t add value to the summary.

In conclusion, an executive summary is a vital document that summarizes the key points and ideas presented in a report or proposal. To prepare an effective executive summary, you should include the main purpose, scope, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and any actionable next steps. Stay focused, use simple language, and avoid extraneous information.


1. To understand the importance of an Executive Summary in a portfolio.
2. To gain knowledge on how to prepare an effective Executive Summary.
3. To identify the important items that should be included in an Executive Summary.
4. To recognize the items that should not be included in an Executive Summary.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Upon completion of this content, students will be able to explain the significance of an Executive Summary in a portfolio.
2. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to prepare an effective Executive Summary that highlights their strengths and achievements.
3. Students will be able to identify and prioritize the key items that should be included in an Executive Summary.
4. Students will be able to critically evaluate the content of their Executive Summary and omit any irrelevant information.

Preparing an Executive Summary for Your Portfolio

The Executive Summary is a crucial aspect of any portfolio as it serves as the focal point during employment reviews. An effective Executive Summary should be concise, clear, and compelling, offering an overview of your experience, skills, and achievements. When preparing your Executive Summary, you should focus on including the most relevant and significant information.

Important items that should be included in your Executive Summary:

1. Brief summary of your professional background and experience.
2. Key achievements and accomplishments.
3. Relevant skills and qualifications.
4. Career goals and aspirations.

Items that should not be included in your Executive Summary:

1. Personal information such as marital status or age.
2. Irrelevant work experience or achievements that do not relate to the position or industry.
3. Negative or controversial information about previous employers or colleagues.

In summary, an effective Executive Summary should highlight your strengths, showcase your achievements, and provide a compelling overview of your professional profile. It is important to craft a concise and relevant Executive Summary that can capture the attention of potential employers and leave a lasting impression.

Solution 1: Tips for Preparing an Effective Executive Summary

An executive summary is a concise document that provides a brief overview of a larger report or proposal. It serves as a summary of the most important information contained in the document. The executive summary is an essential part of any report, as it is often the first impression a reader will have of the document. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare an effective executive summary that captures the reader’s attention and provides a clear understanding of the report’s content.

To prepare an effective executive summary, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

1. Start with a Clear Introduction: The executive summary should begin with a clear introduction that explains the purpose of the report and provides a brief summary of the main points.

2. Use Simple and Concise Language: Executive summaries must be brief, clear, and to the point. Use simple and concise language while avoiding jargon.

3. Highlight Key Findings: Identify the most significant findings and conclusions and include them in the summary.

4. Emphasize Recommendations: The executive summary should highlight the recommendations resulting from the study or research.

5. Summarize Data and Information: Condense complex data into easy-to-understand bullets, graphs, or tables.

6. Write the Summary Last: The executive summary must be written after you complete the main document. This way, you can ensure that it accurately captures the key points and findings.

Solution 2: What Not to Include in an Executive Summary

While there are several items that you should include in an executive summary, there are several items you should avoid. Here are some of the things that should not be included in an executive summary:

1. Detailed Background Information: An executive summary should not include long descriptions of how the study or project originated.

2. Excessive Technical Detail: Do not include detailed technical jargon, as it can be overwhelming for non-technical readers.

3. Personal Opinions: Avoid including personal opinions. The executive summary should only contain objective facts and findings.

4. Redundant Information: Avoid redundancies and repetition of information that has already been covered in the main document.

5. Future Developments: The executive summary should focus on the findings and recommendations of the report. Do not mention any plans for future development or research.

In conclusion, the executive summary is a concise summary of a larger report or proposal that acts as the first impression for readers. An effective executive summary must be clear, concise, and to the point while highlighting the most important findings and recommendations. Additionally, it should avoid personal opinions, detailed background information and future plans.

Suggested Resources/Books:

1. “The Executive Summary Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Executive Summaries That Can Win Your Business Plan, or Investment Proposal” by Patrick Riley
2. “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker
3. “Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Similar asked questions:

1. What are the differences between an executive summary and an abstract?
2. Can you provide examples of effective executive summaries?
3. How long should an executive summary be?
4. How do you tailor an executive summary to a specific audience?
5. Are there any common mistakes to avoid when writing an executive summary?

Importance of Executive Summary Preparation:

When preparing an executive summary, it’s important to keep in mind that it may be the main focus during a job interview or employment review. The summary should provide a succinct overview of the main points in a document or presentation, such as a business plan or research report.

Important Items to Include:

The executive summary should include the purpose and main objectives of the document, as well as an overview of the key findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It’s also important to highlight any unique or innovative aspects of the work.

Items to Avoid:

Avoid including too much detail or technical jargon in the executive summary. It should be written in clear and concise language that is accessible to a broad audience. It’s also important to avoid including personal opinions or biases in the summary.

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