When to use an Objective Statement or a Summary Statement in a Resume

Questions & Answers – Stating Your Objective

Should I use a Summary instead of an Objective?

In general, use an Objective statement when you:

Are an entry-level job seeker or recent graduate with minimal on-the-job experience.

Are transitioning into a new career field, exiting the military or returning to work following a leave of absence.

Are looking explicitly for a particular position, type of company or specific industry.

Know the exact job title of the job opening you are targeting and have time to tailor your Objective statement to match the job title, working environment and type of company for each position.

Your past work experience is diverse and crosses several different career fields, and you want the reader to understand your career direction clearly.

In general, use a Summary statement when you:

Are an experienced job seeker and are looking for a similar career within your field or industry.

Have a skill set that is diverse or widely applicable and you want to be considered for more than one kind of position.

Know that your resume will reside within a resume database and you want to be considered for a wide variety of job openings.

Have valuable experience or specific accomplishments that appear on the second page of your resume but want to highlight up front.

Your Summary contains at least one substantial accomplishment or qualification that supports your career objective.

Your occupation offers career pathways into many diverse career fields or spans several industries (such as Customer Service).

Should I tailor my Objective statement for each job?

A resume that is tailored for each individual job opening has the highest probability of success in landing the interview. Consider tailoring your resume for each company in which you are seriously interested. Minor changes to your job objective may not require a re-write of your resume. However, if your job target changes significantly, ensure that the skills, abilities and experience described in your resume demonstrate that you are qualified for the position.

Do I really need an Objective?

The majority of employers prefer to see either an Objective or Summary statement at the top of your resume. However, if you have held several positions within your targeted career field and your qualifications are apparent, then your preferred job target and previous experience will be obvious to the reader.

What if my Objective is stated in the cover letter?

Keep in mind that your cover letter and resume may be separated. If you are including an Objective statement, be sure to include it on both your resume and cover letter.