How to write a summary that looks really professional
In writing a summary, it can be tempting to fall into informal language and habits. However, there are many academic and professional instances where writing a formal, professional looking summary is of critical importance. Here’s how to do it:
- Read over the source material thoroughly, making notes and highlighting key points
- Organize notes and ideas
- Choose the main ideas which must be included in the summary
- Summarize each of the main ideas
- Create an outline
This is important, because in order to complete a professional looking summary, you need to have strong grasp of the topic at hand before ever beginning the summary.
Even for a short summary, it’s wise to go over the notes you’ve made and organize them in a clear, straightforward manner. Don’t worry about being concise at this point, simply get your ideas organized. Include your highlighted information in the process. Categorize your notes into main ideas.
Review the categorized notes and determine which of the main ideas is really necessary for the summary. Set the others aside; you may still want to reference them when writing the summary, but they’re not critical to expressing its key points.
Before going right to the summary, use a sentence or two to summarize each main idea.
Once you’ve summarized each of the main ideas, and you’re sure that you can express them clearly and briefly, it’s time to make an outline for the summary. The outline should consist of:
- An introduction: This should identify the topic of what you are about to summarize
- The body of the summary: This should include a section (even if it will only be a few sentences) for each main idea. Consider carefully what order you will use for presenting your main ideas
- A conclusion: This should summarize the source as a whole, including any extra information from the discarded ideas which you may feel are important enough to include if there’s room
Once you’ve got the content of the summary finished, make sure you format it appropriately. Depending on the purpose of the summary, the appropriate format will vary. Consider the field of study the summary is for, and if you didn’t receive any formatting guidance from your instructor, just look up summaries in the same field and format yours accordingly. Even if it’s not precisely what the instructor expected, they’ll see that it’s professionally done.