Wait, What’s the Difference Between a Resume Summary and an Objective?
Summary tells hiring managers what you’re looking for from the company: “Experienced engineer seeking management-level position”. You’re summing-up your past experience. Usually used in the past for people not switching positions or re-entering the workforce, but more for people with decades of related experience. A quick way to “sum up” around ten pages of a resume.
Objective tells the hiring managers what you can do and what value you can bring to the company, but maybe you’re new to the industry: “Accurate bookkeeping skills”, “Understanding of back office accounting”. This is focused on what you can bring to the table, instead of what they can do for you. Roughly this should be three to five lines long. Think of this as your “elevator pitch”, but on paper. Always recommended.
Do I Need a Resume Objective?
Resume objectives are useful for transitioning, either because you’re changing careers, graduating from college, or maybe re-entering the work force after doing other things for a while. Before we get started, please make sure you know what job or industry you’re looking to enter (or re-enter) into. Keep in mind that this is not the same as a cover letter. The cover letter is the more detailed story of your professional achievements, which can’t be summed up in a paragraph under each job description. Fun fact: recruiters don’t usually have time to read cover letters, but will skim your objective.
Make sure to include your Transferable Skills!
Tailor the Objective to the Job
If you know where you’re sending that resume right now, go get the job description and pull out the buzzwords. Find a way to use those buzzwords in your summary, because that’s how the internet’s algorithm is going to promote your resume to the hiring manager’s email address. Don’t have a specific position to apply to and just sending it out to everyone? No sweat! Industry buzzwords will work as well. The trick is to make sure you use them in a logical manner, because ultimately a human being will be reading this, not a robot.
Why Are You Qualified?
No, really, why? This is a crucial part, particularly if you’re changing careers. Mention your past achievements, experiences, goals, any volunteer work you’ve done in that industry, and make it easy for them to see that you’re the go-getter who’s going to get there. Get that elevator pitch out there!