resume objective

The rise in popularity of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) has rendered the resume objective outdated. If you do want to include a summary in a resume, ATS – automated systems that reject candidates if they don’t fit desired job qualifications – are responding much better to summary statements that explain both who you are and what you’ve done than to objectives. Objectives are not entirely obsolete, however. Here, we’ll tell you when and what to include for each type.

Resume objective

If you want to use one of the contemporary resume formats, you generally want to forgo the resume objective, also called an objective statement. The objective statement should only be used in two cases: when you’re applying for a job you haven’t had before or when you’re making an industry-changing career move.  

Like we mentioned, the purpose of an objective statement is to define your goals to the employer. If your work history doesn’t demonstrate that you want to work in a particular field, your objective statement can do that work instead.  

To write an objective statement, you should keep three things in mind. It should be short, specify the position you want, and let your potential employer know what hiring you can do for them. You should also mention how you’ll transfer skills learned in your previous industry  to serve the company in this new position.

An example: “To use my five years of customer service experience, marketing acumen, and technology expertise in a financial advising role at an expanding community foundation.”

Summary statement

If you’re staying in the same field, you want to use the summary statement, sometimes called the executive summary or career summary. A summary statement more efficiently tells employers about your value, articulates your most desirable skills, and focuses on your strengths. Decide on your ideal resume format before beginning to write your summary statement.

To transition your resume objective to a summary statement, first change the focus from what you want to what you can do for the employer. To figure out what you can bring to a company, scan through your resume to find patterns. For example, summarize the kinds of businesses you’ve worked for or the skills you often used in your work history. Also focus on your accomplishments.

An example: “Detail-oriented graphic designer with 10 years of experience managing employees, organizing sophisticated layouts, and incorporating technological innovations at a lifestyle magazine.”

This example is short, to-the-point, and incorporates this potential employee’s most valuable assets.   

Another piece of top resume advice: your summary statement should incorporate keywords found in the job posting. Your summary statement shouldn’t be the same on every resume; instead, it should be tailored to each job. Using Jobscan, you can find missing keywords from the job posting and incorporate them more efficiently into your summary statement.


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