• Career Center

Objective VS summary

You only have about ten seconds to grab an employer’s attention when looking at your resume. You want to ensure that you are not sacrificing space or drawing the employer’s attention to unnecessary text.

Objective

Some view a resume objective as outdated and no longer an essential part of a standard resume. Objectives are used to specify what type of roles you are pursuing; since you will likely have submitted your resume to a job application a objective is not needed since applying to this role demonstrates that you are searching for those types of positions. Additionally, objectives are typically focused on what YOU want rather than what the employer wants – your resume needs to demonstrate the value that you can add to the company.


Rather than using your resume to highlight your objective, leverage your LinkedIn profile to do so. Share a link to your profile in your resume header so that potential employers can be aware about what type of roles you are targeting. Additionally, your cover letter can be used to discuss your career objective.


When could an objective be appropriate? Candidates typically use an objective if there is a need to clarify your intent or provide unique information. If you decide that an objective is the right fit for your resume, make sure that your resume objective changes based on the current application you are completing. Utilize keywords that are specific to the industry, job description, and desirable skills you possess that align with an employers interests. Demonstrate why you are a well-qualified candidate for this position and what value you have to offer the employer.


Wrong Objective: To secure a position in corporate finance at xyz company.


Effective Objective: To leverage skills in research and coursework in economics to secure a position in corporate finance to help forecast positive cash flows and improve the firm’s competitive position.


Summary

Similar to an objective, a resume summary statement is used to provide an introduction to your resume and sell yourself to the potential employer. However, a summary statement focuses more on your transferable work experience that fits the requirements of the job posting. It is used to demonstrate that the candidate has the experience and transferable skills necessary to do the work required. Unlike an objective, a summary can be a helpful way to highlight several key selling points you offer that make you a good fit for the open position and therefore worth taking space on your resume.


Use the most relevant highlights of your professional experience and present them in two to four brief bulleted statements that incorporate industry specific buzz words and/or action words that are related to the position you are applying for. Your bullets should not include personal pronouns and should avoid repeating information found elsewhere on your resume.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for candidates to demonstrate how an employer can gain from hiring the candidate and NOT what the candidates will gain. You must be effective at communicating your value so you must have a strong understanding of what you have to offer, how that fits with the employer’s needs, how to leverage your experiences and transfer your skills. Demonstrating this in your summary is critical.


Example Summary:

· Completed 12 credits in coursework focused on financial analysis and modeling

· Demonstrable skills in data analysis using Excel and ability to collect and organize research data

· Excellent cross-functional communication and organizational skills that thrive in competitive environments

In both cases, summaries or objectives are both optional. If you are considering one ask yourself:

Does it take space on my resume that would be better served on other details/experiences or information?

Is it helpful and aligns directly to the job I am applying to?

Does it repeat information found elsewhere on my resume?

Is the language industry specific?


The answers to those will help you decide if a summary is right for your resume.


Center for Career & Professional Development

Maginnes Suite 500

(610) 758-3710

careercenter@lehigh.edu

#hirelehigh

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