In the past, new graduates would try to stand out by writing a resume objective to tell employers that they were highly motivated to work for those companies. Today, the growing trend is to write a summary statement instead because it is a useful tool to grab a hiring manager's attention quickly. A summary statement lets a potential employer learn about your unique value and get a sense of how you might fit in with their company.
How You Used to Write a New Grad Resume Objective
Most graduates used to begin a resume by writing a resume objective telling companies that they were ready to be hired. You would state that you were a qualified candidate seeking employment with a respectable company where you could grow your career in the long term. This was restrictive in what it told potential employers, and it lacked the ability to set one candidate apart from the next. For example, every potential employee might write something to the effect of: "Motivated recent graduate seeking position with the potential for career advancement."
While writing a resume objective could be useful in some situations, such as applying for an entry-level position or seeking a promotion, it has largely gone out of style in the business world. The summary statement has become the new standard for starting a powerful resume for all job seekers. This is especially true for those whose skill sets are largely obtained outside traditional work experience, such as students with internships or volunteer experiences.
How to Write a New Grad Resume Summary Statement
In contrast to writing a resume objective, a summary statement is key to conveying your long-term potential and qualifications quickly. Think of the summary statement as your 30-second elevator speech. It is a succinct way to relate your most notable abilities and expertise to a hiring manager.
Remember to keep your summary short and relevant. Tell the employer who you are, where you're headed and how that unique combination fits with the qualities they're seeking. You have roughly four to six lines to convey your most suitable personality traits, experience and skills. Include transferable skills you obtained while in school whether they were through classes, internships, research or part-time work. Begin your phrases by picking out specific strengths and expertise and writing them out in third-person voice. Finally, include a line about what kind of role or industry you'd like to pursue so that hiring managers can begin to have a vision of your future with the company beyond the first interview. The summary should be in paragraph form, and sentences formatted as fragments are encouraged.
Consider the following example a new grad seeking a role in a privately owned marketing firm might write when creating a summary statement:
Marketing major with focus in integrated marketing communications and graphic design. Led peer teams to create more effective, exciting online presence for business clients. Researched and executed varied communication styles for oral and written presentation to a diverse selection of markets. Applied knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw software to redesign logos for local small businesses looking to update their brand for a new generation of consumers.
A candidate hoping to get in with a construction firm could begin their resume this way:
Architectural and construction engineering major with an emphasis in structural design. Internship for one year working on teams to construct a state-of-the-art high school gymnasium. Focused, analytical, organized and excellent written and oral communicator. Performed extensive research on classical and innovative methods used in structural steel design in multipurpose commercial buildings. Extensive experience creating 2-D and 3-D designs using architectural design software, including ArchiCAD, Punch and Autodesk Revit.
Instead of writing a resume objective, today's graduates need a strong summary statement at the top of their resume to stand out. You might find the resources at LiveCareer helpful in fine-tuning your summary statement to present you in the best possible light.