Most employers only spend a few seconds looking at a resume, and most of this time is spent looking at the top half of a resume. The higher the information appears, the more important it is, which is why the first part of a resume is key.
Resume objectives and summary statements (also known as professional summaries, personal statements, and resume statements of interest) are both possible first paragraphs of a resume and they are very similar in their make-up.
They are both brief 3-4 line texts which aim to highlight why someone is the ideal candidate for a job.
However, there are distinct differences between the two and when you’re writing a resume it is important to know which one you should use and how you should construct it. Using an online resume builder is an effective tool to help you write a winning resume.
It is up to you to decide which opening paragraph suits your resume the best, considering your work experience, skills, and qualifications, in relation to the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
What are the differences?
Both resume objectives and summary statements aim to sell you to the potential employer and provide a succinct introduction to your resume. However, the main difference between a resume objective and a summary statement lie in the details and focus of the text.
A resume objective mainly discusses the skills that make the candidate apt for the position, using keywords from the vacancy advertisement or job description and focusing these skills on how the specific jobseeker can be of sufficient value to the company. It also explains what kind of job the applicant is looking for (their objectives).
A summary statement focuses more heavily on an overview of work experience which fit the specific requirements for the job on offer, showing how that candidate has already worked in similar positions and can therefore do the work required. It aims to quickly show the hiring manager that you have the the required experience and are the best person for the job.
However you choose to write the first section of your resume, include keywords from the job description in your statement. This will immediately demonstrate your suitability for the job. The same principle applies for each section off your resume, understanding the principles of how to write a resume is key.
Resume Objective vs Professional Summary: Which one to use?
Another aspect which differentiates the summary statement from the resume objective is when a jobseeker should use each. When to use a resume objective or personal statement?
A resume summary statement would be best applied by candidates who are looking to move into the same or a similar role as the one they already occupy but in a different company or perhaps sector.
This allows them to showcase the experience and knowledge they already have which makes them the ideal candidate for the position on offer. It is typically used when writing a professional resume.
However, what if you have limited relevant working experience for the position you’re applying for? That’s when a resume objective is useful. It quickly tells employers which type of role you want to do, and why you think you are a strong candidate.
A resume objective is best used by jobseekers looking to change careers, by students or recent graduates, and by those looking to move up the ladder and take on a different role. It’s more typically used when writing a student resume or an entry-level resume.
A resume objective allows jobseekers to draw on their relevant skills to show their willingness and aptitude for the position, in the absence of enough relevant job experience.