Mar 22, 2020 in Coaching

Back to Basics: Resume Summary vs. Objective

Which should you use in your resume?

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In resume writing, introductory statements are beneficial for job seekers. The purpose of having an introductory statement is to highlight your career goals and to summarize your qualifications to give potential employers a quick overview of your skillset. When deciding whether to include an introductory statement, job seekers often have a hard time choosing if they are going to use a resume summary or an objective statement since they serve different purposes and we are all taught to use one or the other. 

Let’s first look at the definitions and purposes of each:

A professional summary, also known as a professional profile, is a short paragraph at the beginning of your resume that highlights your key skills and experiences. This is a way of telling the employer who you are, what value you have to offer based on your past experience, your skills and knowledge, and what makes you unique or different as a job candidate. Its purpose is to directly relate the job seeker’s experience and qualifications to the company’s needs.  Here’s a good example of a professional summary:

Five-year Human Resources professional with a proven track record in hiring, training, and retaining top talent for large companies with a record of increasing employee retention by over 20%. Passionate about boosting employee engagement and solidifying corporate culture.

On the other hand, an objective statement is a short paragraph that details that you are a great candidate for the position you are applying for, but it also specifies what your career or employment goals are and what type of position you are seeking.  Here’s a good example of an objective statement for the same candidate:

Five-year Human Resource professional with a track record of hiring, training, and retaining top talent, seeking a challenging managerial position that will allow me to utilize my background to boost workforce engagement and decrease employee turnover.

Now that the definition is clear, which should you use? 

In today’s job market, an objective statement is less attractive to an employer than a professional summary or profile. An employer wants to know that you could add value to the company through your prior experience, knowledge, and skills and what differentiates you from the many other job seekers applying to that position. So the professional profile is the way to go. You can see the evident difference between the two. The one is telling the employer what value you have to offer, whilst the other is stating the type of position you are seeking.

Upgrade and utilize a professional summary in your resume and not an objective statement. Show the employer who you are, what value you can offer, and what makes you unique from the other candidates based on your knowledge, your skills, and your past experiences. Creating a great professional summary is a key strategy for catching your prospective employer’s attention and the best way to have a great first impression. 

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