Resume Writing – Part 2: Objective or Summary?

Last article I addressed how seasoned HR individuals state that in as little as 10 – 60 seconds they can look at your resume and determine whether you have what they want, starting with the name, address, phone number, email address portion of your resume. (Article available on  Today, I want to address one of the most common resume mistakes, the use of an Objective statement.

Objective statements are generally very vague and worthless. Consider the following objectives I have seen on resumes: “Position with an honest company” (Does anyone really want to work for a dishonest company?) “To find a place where I can use my skills to improve the company’s bottom line” (What skills?) “A position where I can utilize my broad range of skills within a professional discipline enabling effective performance of complex assignments” (What???) If you were the HR professional with the responsibility to review hundreds of resumes for a job, would any of these statements impress you enough to schedule an interview? Probably not.

An Objective statement is in essence telling the employer “This is what I want.” When employers post a job position, they have no interest in receiving hundreds of wish/want lists disguised as resumes. This type of document rapidly finds it way into the garbage.

Instead of telling the prospective employer what you want, the more professional and impressive approach is to tell them what you offer. The best way to showcase your skills is to use the phrase “Summary” or “Professional Summary.” Professional Summary statements consist of two sentences (three at the most) to summarize your professional skills and experiences that are applicable to the job for which you are applying.

Take a look at this example of an individual’s resume written utilizing the two different formats. “Objective: Position in inside sales or customer service where I can apply my skills in working with diverse groups and individuals to enhance the corporate image and achieve bottom-line results.” Versus this, “Professional Summary: Highly skilled sales and customer service professional with more than 20 years progressive successful results. Expertise in working with diverse groups of individuals and industries, while achieving excellent results in customer satisfaction and retention.”  The professional summary showcases the individual’s potential value to the company, not what the person wants.

Another comparison between the two formats. “Objective: The continuation of a career in management, at the center or corporate level, of retail properties.” Compared to ”Professional Summary: Real estate leasing and property manager with over 25 years experience in local, regional and national arenas. Highly accomplished at developing, evaluating and controlling plans and budgets to drive income and increase property value.” Give HR a reason to keep on reading your resume, not a reason to discard it.

Make sure the summary statement isn’t an objective in disguise, such as: “Dependable, dedicated and loyal individual with the desire, knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in a busy medical environment.” The Summary of the same individual was rewritten as “Medical Practice management Professional with over 20 years of comprehensive experience in administrative operations in multi-unit, medical specialty environment. Successfully managed staff and patient process including record keeping, billing, medical transcriptions, collection and revenue enhancement and recovery.”

Final comment. Many job seekers I work with respond that they feel like they are bragging if they write this type of resume. Dizzy Dean said it best, “If it’s true, it ain’t bragging.” Your resume must impress and intrigue to get you an interview; anything else is just a waste of everyone’s time. For more resume tips go to

Posted in Job Seeker, Resumes and tagged .