Resume Tip #2: Professional Summary Not Objective

Here are a couple of examples of actual resume objectives I have received. Do you think they are effective (or not) and why?

A) To work for a  proven industry champion who provides software services to external customers, where I can utilize my strengths and abilities to my fullest potential.
B) Currently seeking a management position with an international manufacturing company.
They don’t really do much to distinguish this person from the next.  That’s because an Objective statement is pretty generic.  They all say the same thing: “I want a job in any company and I’m a good person. You can take my word for it.”

On the other hand, a well-crafted Professional Summary gives the reader a reason to keep reading. Like a good newspaper headline, it draws them into the rest of the resume.

The Professional Summary Statement found at the beginning of your resume focuses your Unique Value Proposition. It should contain 2 or 3 concise statements to draw the reader’s attention on the most important qualities, achievements and abilities you have to offer, and encourage the reader to say, “Hmm, I want to know more about this person.” You have about 4-6 seconds to grab their attention.

Your Professional Summary Statement describes the key competencies that you intend to utilize in your next career or professional position. Your qualifications for potential positions or assignments will be evaluated against the competency requirements for the positions. Review job postings for your position to see what skills are desirable in your field and include these skills, when appropriate, in your Professional Summary Statement.

Begin writing your Professional Summary Statement by answering the following questions about your career:

  • What are you best known for professionally?
  • What areas are you most skilled at?
  • What are you focused on professionally?
  • What do you want to be acknowledged for?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What would co-workers and/or superiors say about you?
  • What is the highest compliment you have received in a performance evaluation?
  • What have former clients said about how you helped them?

Write out your answers for these questions and then create a 2 – 3 sentence paragraph that describes you and grabs the attention of your potential employer.  You may include a “designation” for yourself such as: Leader, Professional, Executive, etc. You may also wish to include a “title for a specific position such as: Project Manager, Director of Human Resources, etc. You do not need to use complete sentences and avoid the use of personal pronouns (I, me, my, etc).

For more help writing a professional summary statement see:

More Resume Tips

 Resume Tip #1: Focus On Your Accomplishments

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