Far too many resumes start with weakly worded and poorly considered intro statements. The top half of the resume is likely the most important part and it must not only introduce you to the reader but also encourage the reader to do something; i.e. call, write, email, send out a smoke signal. Most job seekers sense that employers are not so much interested in what the candidate is seeking in a job, but rather interested in whether the candidate’s background meets their needs.
Resume Objective vs. Summary Statement
The outdated resume objective is not employer-focused but self-focused. As a result, most job seekers write very poor objectives. Let’s look at this example:
“Objective: To apply my skills and enthusiasm in business to meet the project engineering and construction needs of a progressive company.”
Very blah, right?
What does this objective actually say?
Does it address the needs of the employer?
Does it give any information about the candidate?
Would any job seeker NOT consider him- or herself enthusiastic when vying for a new job?
This objective statement is a very typical, ineffective piece of writing that all-too-often appears in resumes.
If an objective statement is not the best choice for your resume, then what is?
A better choice for the beginning section of a resume is a summarizing statement or paragraph. Three to five lines of text that summarize your qualifications and details exactly what you have to offer an employer. If you have specific qualifications that provide an edge over your “competition,” that information should appear in the summarizing statement of the resume.
Examples of information that might give a professional that edge over other candidates might be bilingualism, experience with special projects, involvement with industry executive boards, acquisition of certain certifications, and so on. The summary statement of your resume is ideally a VALUE-RICH STATEMENT that shows your worth to potential employers quickly and effectively.
Avoid cliché or overused phrases and words in a summary statement in the resume out of necessity. Some examples would be “enthusiastic”, “detail-oriented”, “people person”, “goal-oriented”, and “dedicated”. These phrases have been used so much in resumes that readers no longer give any credence and consider them fluff. Choose better words that more powerfully paint a picture of your wealthy career.
Keep your summary statement to a summary, not an expository paragraph. If a piece of information does not contribute directly to positioning you as a candidate to be interviewed, it should not appear in the summary and maybe not even in the resume. Within three to five lines of text, capture the reader’s attention and generate the desire to read the entire resume rather than scanning it cursorily and putting it in the ‘maybe’ pile.
An example of a well-written summary:
Manage civil projects involving environmental and construction aspects of the engineering field — projects typically budgeted from $769,000 to $2.3M. Liaison to the executive board during project milestones. Served as Project Administrator during a recent management change, which involved managing the company’s $32.2M P&L in addition to overseeing project budgets, implementing cost controls, and identifying on-site improvements to avoid construction delays and costly errors. Recently saved $371,000 by identifying and remedying an equipment schematic flaw previously overlooked by mechanical contractors.
Which do you think the hiring company would prefer?
It is doubtful that any WEAK START TO YOUR RESUME would produce ideal results, regardless of whether you opted for a resume objective or a summary statement.
Speed is an asset when vying for the limited number of positions that are available for professionals — and the above summary example of a keyword-rich, well-written piece that should definitely speed up the job-search process.
When striving to give your resume edge, remember to consult with an expert in resume writing for the best results. Most experts will tell you to ditch the objective statement and go with a powerful summary statement to reach out and grab the attention of the hiring manager. Avoid handicapping your prospects for success by utilizing the outdated, ineffective resume objective.