Different resume introductions are more effective for certain types of job seekers. For some resumes, summaries work best, while statements of objectives work best for others. For a good number of job seekers, neither one might fit well.
A resume objective is a clearly stated statement that outlines your intended career direction by targeting the position that you are seeking to be employed in. The objective must be thoroughly researched and should be carefully tailored for your desired employment.
The objective is a quick summary that quickly and succinctly explains your career so far and where you want to take that career with the company that you are applying to. It is not a pleading to be hired, but rather a statement that pointedly communicates that the employer has found the right candidate for the job and does not need to spend any additional time looking at other candidates.
If not done correctly, many might see a resume objective as an amateur move. This is an accurate observation, but to be fair, any other section of the resume can feel the same way. Many believe that objectives lack in efficacy what other introduction methods deliver on, specifically that of a resume summary statement.
Resume Summary Statement
The goal of a summary statement is to leverage your employment history to illustrate to the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for a position. This is done by going over your set of skills, knowledge, and discipline, and how those will help you achieve results with the utmost efficacy.
A resume summary statement focuses less on the needs of the individual seeking a job and more on the needs of the prospective employer. The goal is to answer the question “what can I do for you?” and to put your value on display by highlighting your past accomplishments and your work experience.
The resume summary typically consists of mentions of any acquired certifications, achieved credentials, and other measurable accomplishments.
Resume Summary vs. Resume Objective
Regardless of whether you choose a summary or an objective statement to introduce yourself in your resume, you will want to work with particular job requirements and keywords that you reference from the job listing. But the two introductory statements are different when it comes to the use of metrics, purpose, voice, and goals. Here are some of the most notable differences in those three areas:
- Metrics: A resume summary statement references metrics, while an objective does not. Metrics serve to prove a candidate’s tangible value by showing evidence in dollar amounts and percentages.
- Voice: A resume summary uses an active voice and utilizes action words, while a resume objective uses a passive voice. The passive voice sounds more as a storyteller, while the active voice promotes confidence and assumes credit for hard work done to achieve accomplishments.
- Goals: While both summaries and objectives include goals, those on the resume objectives focus on the goals of the person seeking employment, while the summary statements direct the focus on the needs of the company. The latter is more closely related to the company’s specific needs.
Which One To Choose: Resume Objective Or Summary Statement?
Consider the following questions:
- Are you changing industries?
- Do you lack work experience?
- Are you new to the job search market?
- Are you seeking a particular job or position?
If any of the questions above drew a “Yes” response, then you are likely in need of a resume objective. If all of the above questions got a “No” response you should focus on compiling a resume summary statement instead.