Resume Summary or Objective - is it Necessary?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by barr08, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. barr08 macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    Hey all,

    I recently got laid off from an IT position at a major company, and have been sending out my resume to various consultants, recruiters, connections, etc. to try and find a new job. Before my recent job search started, I never included a blurb at the beginning of the resume that states one's skills and qualifications - often called an objective or, more recently, a summary.

    When I was laid off, my company provided me with a career counselor who emphasized the importance of a summary, so I wrote one and added it in there. Now, however, a couple of my connections have asked me to omit this section from my resume before they send it out. They said it would cause many recruiters to ignore it from the start, whereas my counselor said the exact opposite.

    I know there are a lot of professionals on this board, so I'm curious about your thoughts on this subject. Right now, my instinct is to keep the summary in there, but have a summary-less copy on file just in case. But, if the summary really is unnecessary, maybe even hurtful, then I should just totally eliminate it.

    Thanks for your time and thoughts on this!
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #2
    This sounds like something that would fit well in the cover letter. That way you wouldn't just state your skills and qualifications, you'd put them in context with the position for which you're applying and directly relate your experience with the needs of your prospective employer.

    Sorry about the layoff.

    Nobody needs that.
     
  3. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #3
    I agree. I write personalized cover letters to the positions that I myself apply for. However, given the nature of the paths I am currently taking to find employment (recruiters, family members and other third parties sending out my resume to various positions), it is not always possible for me to include a personalized cover letter.

    I am hesitant to write a generic cover letter to send with my resume for the same reason that I am hesitant to include the summary/objective.

    Thank you. Fortunately, I am young, with relatively few responsibilities, and very supportive parents. I have the time and flexibility to find a job that really appeals to me, but I want to make sure I don't get in my own way with any potential positions.
     
  4. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #4
    Depends!

    Here's an article that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the "objective" statement on your resume....hopefully it'll be useful for you in considering your own situation.

    correct link (opps!)

    Also, it's quite useful to have multiple versions of your resume. You can tailor each resume you send depending on the situation.
     
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #5
    Leave the objective off, don't pigeon-hole yourself.

    Include a summary, it's your 30-second pitch and the top third of the first page is the most important place to make it, with details backed up in the body of each position you've held in terms of accomplishments, not duties or responsibilities.

    In the summary, avoid using the word 'I'. Keep it as snappy and condensed as possible, like a marketing statement.
     
  6. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #6
    I have a pile of resumes on my desk right now. Every single one of them has an objective or summary statement. I can't promise they're necessary, but they aren't an impediment. The absence of one would surely not be an extra incentive to hire you.

    The only way it might hurt you is if it's bad and cliched. "Experienced self-starter seeks challenging position working in successful organization" will cause some to wonder whether you go into restaurants and order "something palatable and digestible."
     
  7. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    Here is my summary as it exists today:

    I have only had two real jobs. On my resume, each is accompanied by many detailed examples of achievements during my time in each position.

    Please feel free to give comments and feedback.
     
  8. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #8
    Yes, it depends, but you won't pigeonhole yourself if you write a different objective for each job.

    Edit: seeing your objective there, I have to say it doesn't read like an objective. I always thought of the objective as a line or two about career goals, i.e. (crudely) 'want to be member of data processing team.' You could say, with xyz background, you want to do ____.
     
  9. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9
    I believe an objective and a summary are two different things. From what I understand, summaries are the norm today, and objectives are out of date. The summary is supposed to be more of a sales pitch, whereas the objective is just as you described.
     
  10. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #10
    Well, I have been off the market for a few years. The summary is something I'd probably avoid because there's only a certain level of self-aggrandizing I can take. That's not to say anything about your summary, btw. These things are often a necessary evil. I could understand, kind of, the objective. The summary, I'm not so sure.

    I need to bolt, but as a quick critique of your last line, you might try avoiding the colloquialism, 'above and beyond.' Maybe aim for something more concrete. Instead of 'get the job done' maybe something along the lines of 'complete daily tasks' (or whatever the particular job might be asking of you - teamwork etc.).
     

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