21

I've seen lots of resume which has it's first section called "Objective" which (usually) states your career plan as to what you want to be, and what kind of position you're looking for.

I find this section pretty much useless (most often), as it doesn't add anything interesting for a potential employer. It usually starts with:

  • Seeking a software developer position ...
  • I aspire to obtain a position ...
  • I would like to take the post of ...
  • My objective is to utilize my skills and knowledge ....

Irrespective of how sophisticated and honest they may be, they end up focusing on the need of the job seeker rather than the need of a potential employer. When you apply for a software developer position, the very act of sending-your-resume-to-the-hiring-team says that you're looking for a software developer position, then why write it in the resume also? Moreover, the so-called objective can reliably be inferred from the other sections, such as skill set, work experience, education etc.

I've never seen any section which highlights the most important keywords which might interest a potential employer. So I think it is a good idea to put a "Summary" instead of "Objective" (i.e as first Section of your resume). This section should summarize your all other sections and especially your experience in years in few words.

For example,

Summary

Software Developer with 5 years of industry experience with C++, C#, WPF, WCF, and other Microsoft technologies.

Anybody who likes this summary, will surely read the rest of your resume, because even though the summary is one-line, it answers many questions useful to a potential employer:

  • What position? Software developer.
  • How much experience? 5 years experience.
  • What skill set? C++, C#, WPF, WCF, and other Microsoft technologies.

Now someone might say that the same information can be put under objective section also. I would say the Objective sections are notoriously infamous that many hiring team don't read them at all. I, for one, didn't read when I was given this task to filter resumes in my office, and I'm sure many don't either. In addition to that, the statement fits more in "Summary" section, rather than in "Objective".

Summary could have bullet points, optionally can include the kind of work you're looking for (in case if it is not obvious from your resume OR you would like to take different kind of challenges from your previous job). For example,

Summary

  • Software Developer with 5 years of industry experience with C++, C#, WPF, WCF, and other Microsoft technologies.
  • Have interest in designing and crafting efficient modern softwares, and learning new technologies and tools if need arises.

My question

So my question is :

Is it a good idea to put Summary in place of Objective in your resume?


Related topics:

  • 12
    I would never waste space on an Objective. They never get you the job, but they can get you eliminated. A Summary is much better. Even better is an Accomplishments section. – HLGEM Mar 21 '13 at 17:31
  • @HLGEM: Post your elaborated thoughts (if you've time for that), I would love to read them. – Nawaz Mar 21 '13 at 17:37
  • 3
    Yes, 'Objectives' are silly, at best. Everyone's objective is the same: To get a job. So, I'd say replacing Objectives with ANYTHING is going to be an improvement. – DA. Mar 21 '13 at 17:57
  • 2
    Is this a poll? – Amy Blankenship Mar 22 '13 at 2:12
  • 1
    +1 for nice question. Several of us feels hesitation which one is better. – Md Mahbubur Rahman Apr 1 '13 at 18:14
13

Is it a good idea to put Summary in place of Objective in your resume?

Yes. It is good idea to put Summary in place of Objective in your resume.


Example resume of great people at Careers 2.0 http://careers.stackoverflow.com/spolsky

enter image description here Why ?

  • Point 1

An employer focused summary what you have done. Not what you want to do. I am looking for a C++/Boost developer, and I see a resume that says "Objective: An expert of C++/Boost and have 4 year experience on C++/Boost" that's very interesting to me.

  • Point 2

A good summary indicates with great specificity what you want and why you are right for it.

  • Point 3

It is an effective way to differentiate yourself among the masses of applicants when your resume screen-er is filtering through your names.

  • Point 4

A better summary utilizes the valuable space to sell your strengths.

  • Point 5

Job recruiters wants specialization, not overall good. A strong summary proves where you are strong and special.

  • Point 6

I like the point of @DA, 'Objectives' are silly, at best. Everyone's objective is the same: To get a job. So, replacing Objectives with ANYTHING is going to be an improvement.

  • Point 7

A good Summary helps describe the value you can bring to a would-be employer through your skills and experience. It’s much easier for a hiring manager to find that value in a short paragraph or in points than to try piecing it together from a lengthy history of professional experience and education.


But, while writing Summary we should maintain the followings

  • No more than 50-60 words.
  • Should be succinct and straightforward.
  • 100% fact, no fluff.
  • Anything longer might make the hiring manager stop and not bother to read the rest.
  • Should be Employer-Focused, not Job Seeker-Focused.
  • Neither show you are desperate, nor you generic. Choose the best keywords suits for you, your specialization and professionalism.
  • @Nawaz, I have improved my answer. Have a look to my updated answer. – Md Mahbubur Rahman Apr 1 '13 at 18:42
  • Good points. Can't give another +1. – Nawaz Apr 1 '13 at 18:48
  • This might be true for LinkedIn or sites like Careers, but I don't think this is actually true for a printed off resume. That's a lot of words you are expecting someone to read through when they skim your resume... – enderland Apr 6 '13 at 13:45
  • I would also add that I don't give it a header on my resume, it is just the top sentence under my contact info. Similar to how it is presented on Joel's Careers profile. – Fiona - myaccessible.website Apr 3 '14 at 9:45
  • "Job recruiters wants specialization, not overall good". Many employers actually want generalists, at least when we're talking about programmers. – Johannesberg May 22 '17 at 15:55
10

Once when we were interviewing we ran across a guy whose stated objective was to got a job with company XYZ. Since we weren't that company, do you suppose we bothered to read further and interview him? Other times you will see an objective to move to particular role in the next five years. If your company doesn't have that role, again you have knocked yourself out before anyone has even had a chance to be impressed by you in person or by the rest of your resume.

A Summary will tell people quickly what your qualifications are to make them want to read further, but so will a cover letter. It is a better use of space, but not optimum. Remember space in a resume is limited, it should be no more than 2 pages in the US (And even in countries where they are longer, I'd bet that people won't read the whole thing unless it grabs them in the first two pages. )

So what about you will impress people the most? That is what you need to put first in your resume (Of course after the name and contact info which is almost always expected to be first). Facts and figures and accomplishments if you have them matter a lot, then the qualifications of the type you would have in a summary, then the actuals of your work history and finally your education.

So for instance you were hiring for a SQL Server dba who will administer a terabyte-sized database with performance issues that need to be solved. If the first sentence you read is "10 years of SQL Server database administration and 3 years of Oracle database administration.", you are reasonably impressed and might think this is someone to look at further. Suppose the first sentence you read is "Improved performance by 25% in a 4 terabyte SQL Server database and reduced downtime of five major databases to less than 1% per annum." The next sentence is "Recently completed a data migration from Oracle to SQL Server of a 100 GB data base holding medical records with no user downtime." Now you are impressed, he knows how to deal with big data sets. Further you now know he thinks in business terms and knows how to improve database performance (which is really critical in huge systems) and is concerned about down time. Which guy is going to be first on your list to interview?

  • +1 Great blurbs about skills too -- 100% fact, no fluff, no adjectives. – jmac Mar 22 '13 at 0:04
  • +1. Also I would like to ask you a question, which word is better: summary or profile? I have seen both. – user8137 Mar 31 '13 at 20:54
  • 1
    "he knows how to deal with big data sets" -- but typoed terabyte, so it's swings and roundabouts ;-p – Steve Jessop Apr 20 '16 at 10:29
  • that "no more than 2 pages" advice is as outdated as putting an Objective on your resume - it needs to be succinct, but artificially limiting its length is stupid – warren Oct 25 '17 at 17:56
  • @Warren, I have never met anyone who reviews resumes who reads past the first two pages, Doing more is pointless. It is not smart to do something that annoys the people who are reviewing the resumes to select people to interview. Many people automatically throw out all longer resumes especially if you have thousands to review as is often the case. I have 40 years of work experience and I can create a two page resume easily. You have to focus on what will be important to the hiring manager. It is a summary not a detailed look. – HLGEM Oct 25 '17 at 18:21
4

Objectives are not useless in general. They are intended to tell the recruiter what sort of job you are looking for. This is different from who you are and what you have done. For example:

  • "Seeking a position developing user interfaces for mobile devices" Not obvious if your last job was writing databases, but you've decided you don't want to do that any more.
  • "Seeking a position as team lead or with potential for advancement" Tells you that he wants some managerial responsibility.

Neither of those would be communicated if you wrote a summary of your experience instead.

Now, if your ambition is to get a job doing pretty much what you've been doing up until now, then the Objective isn't going to communicate much, and replacing it with a summary is entirely acceptable.

  • 1
    +1 Good points. Agreed. That is what "Objective" should be for, i.e when it is not obvious from the resume. But often that is not the case in which case it is boring and useless. – Nawaz Mar 21 '13 at 21:43
  • Edited my question. See it. :-) – Nawaz Mar 21 '13 at 21:50
4

I favor neither one.

I can get a brutal listing of the facts elsewhere. In the example provided, if the resume is well written and formatted, I won't have a problem figuring out that:

  • You've been working 5 years (you presumably have 1-2 jobs that go back about 5 years)
  • The technical tool sets that are most prominent
  • And while there may be some careers out there for non-software developers that use these technologies, I'd bet SW development is the vast majority and if I'm not offering a SW development job, I'm still going to ignore your preference, because I need skilled people for a hard to fill role.

Call it a "Summary", or call it "Objectives" - I really don't care, but what I want to find in that very, very small opening paragraph is the 1-3 sentences/bullet points that I really must read to get a sense of who you are that I can't get out of the rest of the very fact-based resume.

My screening process will have covered raw facts like years of experience, business domain relevance, and technical hit words. As a hiring manager, I want to see anything I can find on whether:

A - You'll be interested enough in this job I have to be worth my time B - You have the qualities that make you a strong part of my team

I agree that plenty of objectives are pretty much useless.. but a summary isn't much better as a simple replacement - either way, I want highlights that I can't get from a resume.

Example:

  • Looking to be part of a closely-knit team (vs. Looking for a chance to be an independant, can-do person in a loosely structured setting)
  • Looking for a large, stable firm (conversely - Looking for an adventure in a growing company)
  • I pride myself on ... creative test development, tricky situations involving unclear customer features, major integrations involving diverse systems, etc.

Give me a few phrases that tie it all together.

Or be short.

I realize that this is something I want more of when a career is longer and more complex. Early on - short and sweet is fine.

  • I don't think the examples you gave would interest people from hiring team, whose job is to shortlist resumes by filtering out the boring ones. I think most people would simply ignore such bullets points, and may even stop reading the rest of your resume. – Nawaz Apr 4 '13 at 17:27
  • 1
    If you think that a hiring team reads a resume start to finish, think again. Having been the end of the hiring chain for years, and having read MANY boring objectives I beg to disagree that "boring" is a reason for gettting screened out. :) – bethlakshmi Apr 4 '13 at 18:16
  • 1
    I think a hiring team reads a resume start to finish only if they find they it attractive in some sense, and I believe "Looking to be part of a closely-knit team" would not attract them much. It is better not to write, not at least in the beginning. In fact, that is what a typical "Objective" looks like. – Nawaz Apr 4 '13 at 18:43
3

If you have a long resume - mine is 3-pages - with an extensive list of positions and skills, you might want to give some context and meaning to your listing of work experience and skills and if there is a unifying theme to your work experience and skills, that's so much the better:cite that unifying theme. Doing so would help whoever is screening your resume to make sense of your work experience and skills set. That's what the Summary section is all about, and that's why you would want to write a Summary section.

The Objective section is nearly useless to me, unless I have a passion - and I don't - for customizing my resume every time I send one to a prospective employer. I cover the contents of the Objective section in the cover letter - that's what the cover letter is for: putting the resume in the context of the requirements of the position and getting the prospective employer excited about interviewing you.

-2

I think it depends upon the job:

If you are facing an interview where company is opening there valued assets to you offering the job and they are looking for a long term relationship with you I think they would like to dig in a bit deeper in your life knowing what kind of person you are and that's what your objective would say.

In case you are in field which develops rapidly and recruiters are interested in getting there work done instead of peeping in to know the nature of the person, obviously summary suits well.

  • 1
    Comment, if you downvote :| – Birju Shah Nov 2 '17 at 7:16

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