“You know, I was told that my resume is going to be the game-changer if I want that internship. I’ve spent this last week just working on the Objective section.”
“Huh? Is that so? How is it turning out?”
“I think I nailed it.”
“Really? Why do you think that?”
He fumbled for words. Maybe that week could have been spent doing something else after all. “I highlighted all my achievements right on the top so they know what they’re up against. I got this, it should be a breeze.”
Yep. That week could have been spent doing something else.
I did not have the heart to tell him the truth.
As a former HR who spent years scanning resumes for a living, I did not need him to elaborate further to get to reach the conclusion that no buddy, it won’t be a breeze. It will be anything but that.
So where did he go wrong?
Isn’t this what you do too? Highlight all your achievements so they know ‘what they are up against’?
Well, yes. And no.
Before we go further, let’s take a step back and try to understand the bigger picture. Our 2018 Guide to the Resume Objective Section will broadly cover the following topics:
If you want to directly go and build your resume, you can use our online resume builder.
What is the Resume Objective section?
On the face of it, a resume is just supposed to highlight all your work experience till date. Right?
So why not just begin with all the places where you worked and what all you did in each profile? That should be enough to crack the deal and get you that coveted shortlist, right?
Well, not quite.
We often advise people to resolve all their resume-related doubts by placing themselves in the shoes of the recruiter. If I am an HR swarmed with hundreds and thousands of resumes containing ONLY work profiles, I’d get a brain aneurysm. For sure.
And this is where the Objective section comes in.
A particular job vacancy will only attract that particular category of resumes. A Sales Associate vacancy, for instance, will only call for applicants who have an acumen and experience in Sales. A hundred resumes responding to that vacancy will contain hundreds of work profiles ALL around Sales.
So as an HR, how do you filter through all these profiles?
An Objective or Professional Summary section on top of all these work profiles will give a bird’s-eye view of the applicant’s career trajectory till date. The HR won’t have to peruse through details of the entire Sales experience to reach the conclusion. A broad-level summary of key skills gathered in the course of the applicant’s career will do the job.
In addition to all the work experience till date, an HR has to also understand the motivation of the employee who’s responding to the vacancy. For any organization’s long term sustenance, it’s of critical importance that the motivation of all the individual employees is aligned with the motivation of the organization itself. Nothing makes an HR more anxious than an employee whose motivation they don’t know.
Is the applicant looking for just another Sales job? Is career growth a priority for him/her? Do they intend to stay in Sales for the next 2 years? 5 years? All these questions are considered and tackled in the recruitment process of each applicant.
Since you know these questions are critical to the HR in general and the recruitment process in particular, you can go ahead and utilize the Objective section to provide clarity on all these issues.
You can use choose from many resume objectives in our online resume builder to create your resume.
Do you really need the Resume Objective section?
What’s the point of asking this question if we’ve already established the importance of this section, you ask?
To the acquaintance earlier who said he had spend a week on the resume objective section, and to other job-seekers who are trying to find their footing in the job market, we like to misappropriate a JFK quote along the lines of:
“Ask not what the organization can do for you but what you can do for the organization.”
It’s that simple. If I’m an HR parsing through a hundred odd resumes a day, scanning a blanket list of all the things that people are looking for doesn’t do me any good, does it? And if out of those hundred odd resumes, I see someone who can demonstrate how s/he will be of value to me, instead of the other way round, then that applicant will stick out of the rest like a unicorn carrying a briefcase.
If only there was a way to link all your existing achievements with what the organization is looking for…
If only there was a way to only use 4-5 lines on top, like everyone else, and still manage to come out shining on the other side
In fact, there is.
It’s called the Professional Summary section.
But how to tell which one would better suit your requirements?
The question now becomes: do you need a Resume Objective section or a Professional Summary Section?
If you think you need a resume objective section, you can use our online resume builder to create your resume.
Objective or Summary?
Like we had earlier established, letting the recruiter know how you plan to add value to the organization, instead of listing out a bunch of things you are looking for, will get you more shortlists. In majority of the cases, a Professional Summary section will triumph the Resume Objective section.
You are a fresher
In that case, you don’t really have any significant or concrete list of achievements under your belt.
You cannot fool the recruiter here, and it becomes evident that you are still testing the waters. Hence, an Objective section would make more sense here.
Even then, do some research on your end and try to identify the background of the organization you are targeting - find out what their values are, what their mission statement is, how they plan to achieve their targets in the coming 1, 5 or 10 years.
You’ll easily find all the relevant information on the website itself, if you know how to look for it.
Since you’ll only get one shot of getting shortlisted, it’s better if you are doing everything you possibly can to maximize your chances.
On the other hand, the fact that you don’t have any professional accomplishments certainly does not mean you’ll go rambling on.
Our suggestion in that case is to keep your Objective resume section concise and targeted and strictly in accordance with what the company is looking for (based on the research you did from your end)
You’re covering up a long gap
You can have any personal or professional reason for not being an active member of the workforce for a particular period of time.
The question is, how do you not let it impact your job search now?
People usually try to mask the gaps in their professional career by going for a functional resume instead of a conventional chronological one.
In our experience, that is a hit-and-miss.
Surely you can’t hide it from your employer forever - sooner or later, at some stage of the recruitment or post-joining process, the fact is going to reveal itself.
We understand the relevance of a functional resume, but going for the same because you want to hide your career gaps in not a wise way to go.
In such a case, you can be honest from the get go and crisply state your intentions in the Objective for resume section.
No need to beat around the bush for something which will inevitably make itself clear.
In the resume objective section, you can highlight all your previous accomplishment under the shadow of what the recruiter is looking for.
If the reason is genuine enough and the employer feels that there’s no malice or misappropriation from your end, the gap itself will not be a hindrance.
It’s only an obstacle if you let it to be.
You are shifting careers/industries
This last case is evident.
We frequently come across people who have spent their lives in a particular industry only to realize they want a switch to a completely different sector.
We come across freshers who spent a major chunk finishing certifications and degrees, only to realize that they’d rather do something completely different.
Which is perfectly alright.
But this peculiar situation demands a certain level of dexterity from your end.
You can’t adopt a conventional Professional Summary approach wherein you are highlighting your achievements - simply because those achievements are now in the past and hold no relevance to the sector/industry which you are now targeting.
In contrast, a concise Objective for resume section in this case will help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go.
Your earlier accomplishment won’t hold any meaning in case you can’t link it to your targeted industry.
Hence, go for a Resume Objective section wherein you are outrightly honest with your intentions. In the long run, this approach will yield far greater dividends than any other.
Other than these 3 exceptions, we highly recommend that you ditch the Resume Objective section for a Professional Summary section.
5 Common Resume objective section mistakes
The Summary section is NOT your Cover Letter
A cover letter is a different game altogether. It’s a separate document that you send along with your resume. But of course you know that, don’t you?
What we mean here is the basic idea behind the two.
It’s imperative that you comprehend the objective and the premise of the Summary section and the Cover Letter, because very often, we see the Summary section containing points which would be better suited in a Cover Letter.
A cover letter is written for a particular job profile within a company.
You begin the same with a very brief background of yourself as a professional and the exact profile for which you are sending the resume.
You spend a couple of paragraphs (max!) detailing your previous work profiles while keeping it highly restricted as per the requirements of the job.
No need to elaborate each work profile - that’s the job of the resume.
You close the cover letter with the last paragraph talking about the organization itself.
Do some research to understand the values, mission statement, programs, etc. that the company engages in and try to link it with your own experience. And done.
The Summary section, on the other hand, will only contain what all broad-level skills you managed to acquire in your career till date, and how those skills will add value to the organization.
You won’t be mentioning individual companies or quantifiable achievements (reserve that for the relevant work profile section down below).
You can keep it either in short bulleted points or a short paragraph, but in any case, make sure it doesn’t exceed 4-5 lines.
Don’t dump all your achievements
We understand that you are quite proud of your Sales targets or a program you developed that enabled an unprecedented level of cost savings.
Be that as it may, try to restrain yourself from going overboard in this section.
We’ve seen people list out their sales targets for multiple years in the Resume Objective section itself.
In case you really are a stud who served multi-billion dollar brands or generated multi-million dollar sales, you can probably mention that once (once!) to make sure you don’t come across as a pompous ass who’ll be a nightmare for other team members.
We recommend that you reserve all your significant achievements for the relevant work profile, or have a separate Key Achievements section in itself.
But the Summary section is not the place to do that.
This is the section where you portray yourself as an essentially humble professional who’ll not only gel with others in the organization, but by the virtue of all your past achievements (without listing them here), will only take the organization to greater heights.
Keep it concise
Even though we mentioned throughout this article, we felt it was critical to have this as a separate point here.
This is a common mistake we often come across, more particularly in professionals with 10+ years of experience, or with IT professionals who assume that their resume will be scanned by another IT professional.
(Just so we are clear, it won’t. This goes for all the techies [not just IT] out there who info-dump their resume with so many jargons, they forget that it’s a Generalist HR who’ll eventually go through your resume (after it has been successfully parsed by the ATS of course).
A tech-heavy resume, contrary to popular belief, will not make you look fly.
If at all you can’t avoid all the jargons, at least spare a thought for the HR (and, um, your own future) and extend those points to include the quantifiable impact you managed to achieve for the organization.
That will pull your resume out of a strictly technical domain into something which actually benefits the organization)
Don’t have a 5-page resume wherein the first page is dedicated to the Professional Summary. That’s suicide.
Have a crisp 5-line summary with minimal jargons or numbers. Leave the specifics for the work profiles and the rest of the resume.
The job of the Summary section is to pull the recruiter further into your resume, not drive them away to the next applicant.
Show, don’t tell
This is a golden rule which holds true for each and every section of the resume, and more so for the resume Objective section.
You know what’s better than mentioning that you possess leadership skills or are good at negotiation (like hundreds of other applicants who are applying for that same profile)?
Demonstrating that you actually possess those skills.
Show how you led teams to achieve organizational goals, show how your negotiation skills led to significant cost savings, show how you optimized processes and boosted organizational performance across the board.
Substantiating your claims with facts and figures will do 10x more than merely mentioning the same.
The resume objective examples at the end of this article will further elucidate this point.
Any HR worth his/her salt can smell generic, mere space-filling points from a mile afar.
Go the extra mile and validate your points with quantifiable data. Just this one simple change will automatically boost your chances and place you above the rest.
Customization is the key
If the exponential rise of job boards and forums did anything, it was to make it easier for applying to jobs.
That could have been a good thing, but it’s not.
Are you also not guilty of uploading your resume just once on a portal and blindly sending it to anyone and everyone?
We understand the desperation of seeking ideal jobs and doing everything in your power to turn around your luck, but honestly, the above approach actually hurts your chances of getting a shortlist.
And guess what? HRs can see that in an instant.
Simply on the basis of a resume, they can figure out whether an applicant sent that same resume to a dozen other companies or whether the applicant carefully went through multiple JDs to finally zero in on that profile.
Which is why, customization is the key to unlocking those doors which seem that they are perennially shut only for you.
Spending 15-20 minutes on your resume and tailoring it to the JD/organization which you are targeting will do wonders for you, trust us.
How to go about it, you may ask?
Your basic work profiles and achievements will remain the same.
A simple option which you can do is to upload the JD on any of the word clouds available online.
They process the text and give you a list of the words used therein on the basis of how frequently they show up in the document.
Say, after generating the word cloud, you find that ‘process optimization’ appears 7 times in the JD.
Which means that the skill is in high demand in the mind of the recruiter.
Which means you can accordingly rephrase your resume (more specifically, your Key Skills & Summary sections) to include this phrase wherever relevant.
Note that ‘wherever relevant’ is the key.
Any monkey with a keyboard can stuff his/her resume with keywords, and both the HRs and ATS are well equipped to smell that from a mile away.
Incorporate only those keywords and skills which you can confidently substantiate if given the chance during the interview.
Use our online resume builder to create your resume and get access to sample resume summary and objective sections.
10+ Examples of Professional Resume Summary sections
Business Analyst Resume Objective and Summary Section
Dynamic and result-oriented Business Analyst adept at deploying analytical and database tools to scrutinize business operations across multiple sectors & deliver client-centric solutions. Highly skilled in identifying and fulfilling client requirements within the framework of organizational work processes. Employs effective data analysis techniques to form a support system for decision-making by senior management. Adept at preparing relevant reports to direct knowledge-transfer & ensure adherence to organizational processes. Proven track record in formulating process enhancements to streamline operations and achieve bottom-line.
Finance Graduate Resume Objective and Summary Section
Dynamic and result-oriented Finance Graduate adept at deploying analytical & database tools to scrutinize business operations. Proficient in employing effective data analysis techniques for sound decision-making & successful execution of projects. A goal-seeking individual with a comprehensive understanding of taxation & accounting principles and possessing a natural flair for research encompassing primary & secondary channels. An eager learner with excellent business communication skills & armed with the required skillset to be propelled to higher positions.
Telecom NPO Specialist
11+ years experienced, value-driven & result-oriented Senior Quality Assurance Manager & Telecom Specialist with a track record of spearheading diverse teams to champion LTE/WCDMA/CDMA/GSM Optimization, including 42 months of experience in RF Optimization/Tuning for LTE & 25 months for GSM. Proficient in formulating & implementing Network Planning & Optimization (NPO) strategies, in addition to conducting audits & directing parametric changes to achieve QA norms. Highly skilled in liaising with internal/external stakeholders to optimize network KPIs and deliver compelling business value to end-user & clients.
Distribution Head & Category/Channel Leader
31+ years experienced Sales & Distribution Leader and a Marketing/Brand Management professional adept at incorporating administrative and management experience to accomplish bottom-line and exceed category-based targets. Highly skilled in building and incubating teams from scratch & managing multiple departments across diverse locations for bolstering market penetration via multiple channels. Effectively managing various stakeholders to drive revenues and maximize customer satisfaction.
C-level Banking Executive
37+ years experienced & a dynamic, result-oriented C-Level Banking Professional with expertise in Corporate Credit Management. Possesses a stellar track record across a diverse range of profiles in one of the largest public-sector banks. Delivers fiscal, strategic & operational leadership to achieve revenue, profit, and business growth objectives in rapidly changing environments. Adept at managing teams to implement best practices & drive process enhancements for optimizing performance. Recognized for seizing control of critical areas & fulfilling customer commitments.
HR Manager & Recruiting Specialist
~15 years experienced HR Professional with an extensive background in large-scale recruitment management, handling alumni relations, formulating & executing HR strategy & policies, etc. Proficient in employing latest human capital practices to attract and retain high-potential talent. Highly skilled in formulating executable strategy and implementing end-to-end HR policies for enhancing employee productivity and motivating the team. Forward-thinking change agent adept at strengthening corporate culture & addressing grievances for cordial management-employee relations.
Tailor your perfect resume summary in our online resume builder.