A photo of Erin Kennedy, Master Resume WriterErin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, is a Certified Master & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services, Inc., home to some of the best resume writers on the planet. She is a nationally published writer and contributor for more than 12 best-selling career books, and is the author of hundreds of career-related articles. She has achieved international recognition following yearly nominations of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award.  Find her on Twitter @erinkennedycprw.

“How does my objective seem to you… should I even use one?”

This is a question I hear occasionally during a client consultation. My answer is usually, “No.”

I’m not saying that all objectives are bad — because some, if written correctly, can be good. However, these days, most resume writers leave the objective off, opting to pen what we call a “career summary” as the intro portion of their resume.

A career summary is a brief description that encompasses what you have done, what you excel at, what your brand is, and what you can do for the company. It’s more detailed than an objective and gives the reader additional insights. It’s also a great place to sprinkle keywords for keyword scanning machines that may be inspecting your resume for appropriate jargon.

Giving Your Resume Objective A Boost

Consider the examples below. One is an objective, and the other is a career summary. Which would you prefer to read if you were the hiring manager?

Here is an example of a typical, old-school objective:

“To obtain a position in which I can utilize my expertise in healthcare IT and further my career at ABCTronics Company.”

Now, here is an example of a career summary:

“Technically-focused Healthcare IT leader adept at driving healthcare goals, controlling costs, and improving efficiencies through strong systems management. Accomplished at managing highly complex projects and motivating teams to achieve optimum performance. Passionate about improving the acquisition, storage, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Core competencies include: Clinical Informatics, Systems Implementation, Program Analysis, and Information Technology.”

The difference between the two is that the first one is about the job seeker. It says, “Hire me because I am trying to advance my career.” However, the career summary is about the company. It says, “This is what I can do for you; this is how I can help you”. Remember, the resume is all about what you can do for the company, not what it can do for you.

Keeping Your Objective Focused

When you’re sitting down to prepare your career summary, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will this be a benefit to the reader?
  2. Am I mixing my accomplishments with my strengths?
  3. Do I have enough keywords embedded into the content?
  4. Would I hire this person?

Answering these questions honestly will help you create a career summary that grabs the reader’s attention, displays your strengths and brand, and gets you to the interview.

Editor’s Note: Are you ready to put that resume to work?  Check out our featured jobs and apply today!

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