Writing a resume objective at the top of the page used to be the standard way to format your resume. However, objectives aren't as effective in today's job market as the new way to do things: the resume summary statement. Also called an executive summary, branding statement or summary of qualifications, the summary statement is a paragraph between four to six lines that summarize your experience and qualifications as they pertain to the open position.
How You Used to Write a Resume Objective
Writing a resume objective in the past included a nondescript sentence, such as "Experienced administrative professional seeks a position within an organization that will allow me to utilize my skills and grow with the company." Writing a resume objective used to be a quick statement of what you were seeking in a job with some reference to career aspirations. However, most employers already know that you're seeking to advance in your career. Adding a resume summary statement instead of writing a resume objective lets the employer know more about you and what you can offer his or her company.
How to Write a Resume Summary Statement
Your resume should contain relevant keywords that match the requirements of the job and are highly descriptive to get the reader's attention. That's the job of the resume summary statement, or attention-grabbing branding statement. Think about what you want to be known for, such as "goal-oriented administrative professional," and be descriptive and passionate about what you do.
Use the job description or the job posting to match your skills, knowledge and experience to what is described by the company. If the job description is for a sales representative and the recruiter explains that they are looking for "high-energy, competitive sales professionals," put those descriptive terms into your resume summary statement. If the opening is for a payroll staff member and you are a payroll professional with years of experience with small businesses, explain that in your summary.
Write your resume summary statement with the goal of informing and persuading the reader that you are the right person for the job. Make it clear and focused on what you can do in the position and for the company. If you are an accountant interested in a staff accountant position, use examples of specific accounting roles you have performed, such as "Accounting professional experienced at accurate and timely accounts receivables and payables processing."
Briefly but accurately, describe your personal and career strengths. For example, "Trustworthy, detail-oriented accounting major with five years of experience in general ledger, payables and receivables, and payroll responsibilities for small manufacturing firm" lets employers know exactly what strengths you bring before reading the whole resume.
Here's an example of an accounting resume summary statement in four concise sentences:
Highly ethical and trustworthy accounting and payroll professional with expertise in small manufacturing businesses. Excellent attention to detail and time management abilities. Ability to work with all levels of staff to understand business accounting systems and work toward better efficiency. Experienced with payables, receivables and payroll.
Consider describing yourself and your niche rather than any job titles you have had. Rather than say you are a human resources professional, you can describe your passion for delivering on human capital initiatives such as hiring, explaining company policies and procedures, and promoting employee development.
Including a resume summary instead of writing a resume objective is one of the best ways to update your resume. If you need a fresher resume to get interviews for jobs you really want, you may find more helpful resources at LiveCareer.