Resume experts advocate abandoning the objective statement in favor of the summary statement. The summary statement sits at the top of your resume below your contact information and serves a very different purpose.
The objective statement of yesteryear is vague and centered on what you’re looking for. Use that valuable resume real estate for the summary statement, which outlines your skills, capacities, experience, and results and more clearly articulates what you can bring to an organization.
The summary statement is perfect for a professional with a track record in a given field. It’s also useful for someone like me with a variety of seemingly unrelated experiences. In my case, it can draw attention to skills gained across different roles, while downplaying the variety of places I’ve developed them. If you only have a few years of experience that’s more straightforward, a summary statement may not be the best use of space. Instead, highlight your expertise and accomplishments as bullet points further down on the page.
The summary statement should be short and sweet. It entails a few action-packed sentences that will catch the eye of the HR professional and get flagged by the computerized applicant tracking system that’s programmed to seek those words.
Some approaches to this might be to imagine your next role and the qualities that might be needed for it or look at the actual job description for the position you’re interested in. Then consider what you’ve done professionally that would be relevant for that job or organization. What skills do you think would serve you best in a new role? You’re looking for the sweet spot between what you have and what a prospective employer needs. Then cast that into language that has momentum and speaks to competency, results, and value-driven work that can help a company succeed.
The summary statement should not be a repetition of what’s to come in your resume. It’s your chance to cast a bright light onto who you are, what drives you, and how you can parlay that into a new role within an organization.
It’s okay to let some authentic personality shine through in your resume, and your summary statement gives that glimpse of who you are and what you can do.
Here’s an example that I might use for an educational or training role:
An award-winning, creative, fun, and compassionate educator and trainer with a student-centered philosophy that appreciates each individual’s unique potential. Ability to develop engaging curriculum, authentically connect subject matter to real-world situations, and deepen student’s ability to use this information in their lives. Employs a collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach to instruction.