The New Stuff

resume objective or summary

The Great Debate: Resume Objective vs. Summary

There is often a debate about using either a resume “Objective” or “Summary” on a resume.  I am a big advocate of a “Summary” section.  I believe that objectives are outdated, and also they leave a lot to be desired.  Job seekers traditionally don’t take the extra step to customize their resume objectives based on the jobs they apply to, or even tailor them for what they are truly seeking in their next position.  They are usually very bland, generic, statements about how they want to contribute to an organization that appreciates their employees.  Well don’t we all.

Summaries, on the other hand, are your selling feature.  They are the most important section on your whole resume.  Why?  Because it summarizes all of the best things about you, at the top of your resume, in a quick snapshot.  It is more likely to be read and reviewed during the quick 5-10 second scan that many recruiters and hiring managers do in resume pre-screenings.  This is the place where you can professionally brag about your accomplishments and experience.

How do you sell yourself?

The best way to sell yourself, is to quantify a few things to get started. For example:

  • Do you have 10 years of experience in a certain industry? Make that a bullet point.
  • Do you have experience managing a million dollar budget? Make that a bullet point.
  • Have you decreased spending by x%? Make that a bullet point.
  • Do you have a proven reputation for hosting websites with 0% downtime in a year? Make that a bullet point.

Once you have listed all of your quantifiable skills (the skills you can put an actual number to), it’s time to move on to any specialty credentials or experience that make you stand out in your chosen field.

  • Do you have 1 or more industry certification(s)? List them.
  • Do you have an advanced degree in an area that pertains to your field?  List it.
  • Do you have knowledge of specific topics in your field? (ex: HIPAA, Medical Terminology, ICD-10) List them.

By the end of this exercise, you should have a solid base of 5-10 bullet points from which to draw from, to create a strong resume “Summary” section.   Try it.   If you can’t come up with a minimum of 5 bullet points based on your experience, try taking a look at some job descriptions that you would be applying to for ideas.  If you feel qualified to apply to these jobs, it is likely you have a few of the bullet points they are seeking in their job description.

Some people struggle with “selling themselves” and this is completely understandable.  The more humble among us may find it distasteful to toot their own horns.  However, sometimes you can let your experience, knowledge, and credentials do the talking for you, and help sell yourself without saying a word.   That’s what a strong summary section can accomplish, when done in the right way.

What are your thoughts on Objectives versus Summary sections on a resume?  If you have a preference, I’d love to hear about it.



Recently Published

how to get rid of work stress, work life balance, how to manage work stress

Find out how to get rid of work stress forever

Making time to recharge your internal batteries isn’t a priority ...

job search mistakes, job seeking

The 4 Biggest Job Search Mistakes YOU Are Making

Looking for a new job can be a terrifying and exhilarating endeavor, ...

delegate, delegation, delegating

You Can Do It, But You Can’t Do It All

You can’t do it all.  You may want to.  You may think you have ...

productivity, planning, time management, planning your day

Plan to Have Your Best Day Ever! Secrets of Productivity

Starting your day out on the right foot is crucial to actively ...

motherhood, management, leadership, child, employee

11 Ways Motherhood and Management are the Same

In honor of Mother’s Day which is rapidly approaching, I decided to ...

elevator pitch, introduction, sales pitch, what do you do for a living

What Do You Do?: Formulating Your Elevator Pitch

-“So what do you do for a living?” It is a pretty common ...


3 Things All Kick-Butt Resumes Have in Common

Resume writing is a necessary evil.  No one really loves to write ...

work life balance

Simple Ways to Create a Work Life Balance

Finding a good work life balance is a fine line to walk when you are ...

dealing with difficult people

Tips for Managing Difficult People in Your Life

There’s no way to avoid them, difficult people are everywhere.  ...