Resume Headlines: Objective, Summary & Profile…Oh My! (Part 2 of 2)

Now that you have answered the questions “what is your job target, who are you, what do you want and what type of job seeker are you?” The next step is to determine which headline fits your unique situation. Remember when I said “stating which type of job seeker you are will help the employer understand your motivations”? The reason for using any one of these headlines is to provide your motivations up front. These headlines are all about your motivation-notice I didn’t say they are about what you want. We all want something but when speaking with an employer, we need to recognize that they also want something and unless we are able to identify what the employer’s needs are and speak directly to those needs, a headline, regardless of whether it’s an objective, summary, or profile statement are nothing but words on a page.

If you can’t decipher what the employer needs most within their job description, using the title of the position they are hiring for as your headline, rather than creating a statement is an option, but only if you have the experience, skills and education that reflect that title spelled out in your employment history. Using a title is also particularly effective when used in conjunction with one of the other headlines, as it can lead in to describing your motivation within your statement.

Objective
Typically the objective statement is designed to tell the employer what you want but says very little if anything about what you will contribute, which is the reason so many career experts tell you not to provide one, or to use a “Title” instead. There are many opinions about whether or not to use an objective statement in your resume. Some articles claim objectives are good, while others claim objectives are useless, so which is it? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but I can say this; an objective statement can be useful for all types of job seekers if done correctly. However, in general, it is probably more useful for someone with little to no work history. Just an additional thought; Along with your Objective statement, it may be in your best interest to also provide a Summary statement in order to give the employer an overview your strengths.

Providing information about your background that may not be relevant to the job you’re applying for, such as; providing empty statements, or no information at all, can be detrimental to your efforts. Whereas, articulating your motivations will give the employer a better idea of why you applied and an objective statement is your opportunity to do that. Here are a few examples of bad and good objective statements;

Bad Examples:

Objective: Obtain a full-time job with your company to learn new skills.

Objective: Payroll, AP/AR, filing, typing, answering phones and greeting people

Objective: Obtain part-time work in a challenging and rewarding environment

Good Examples:

Objective: New to the workforce with a recent Payroll and Office Administration
certificate. I am eager to perform various payroll and AP/AR duties, as well as provide General Office support.

Objective: Secure a full-time Office Administration position, where my contributions include; more than 5 years experience performing various payroll and AP/AR duties and providing General Office Support.

Objective: Skilled Administrative professional seeking new career path within Project Management. I am able to immediately contribute advanced knowledge of MS Project and have demonstrated experience with allocating resources and scheduling project details.

Summary or Highlights of Qualifications
Summary statements are most often a series of statements highlighted behind bullet points that describe your skills and strengths through the use of action verbs. These can be very effective if what you say in each statement is reflected somewhere in the body of your resume. However, if you are just providing empty statements to fill up the page, or repeating the information in the job description, your resume will likely be discarded, as the employer will be unconvinced of your skills because you didn’t provide any information to support what you wrote.

What is an empty statement? The following are some examples of an empty statement; “hard-working, friendly, reliable, dependable and punctual.” Not only are these classified as empty statements, they also don’t speak to your skills or strengths. Instead, they are traits of a work ethic that you have yet to prove to an employer and it may be near impossible to support these empty statements in a resume. If you can’t prove it or support it, don’t write it. These traits are better left for your references to discuss with the employer.

The employer is most certainly looking for someone who fits their job description but that doesn’t mean they want to read verbatim what their job description said in your resume. Please don’t do that! Use a little creativity to describe your skills and strengths with action verbs that represent your style…For example; if the employer is looking for someone with good communication, ability to meet deadlines and has attention to detail then try something like this…(But again, make sure you can support your statements in the details of your resume.)

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with strong ability to build rapport
  • Efficient and productive with focus on detail and priority
  • Flexible to work in teams and individually to complete daily objectives in a timely manner

Profile or Professional Profile
Out of the three choices, my preference is this one because it answers these questions; “what is your job target, who are you, what do you want and what type of job seeker are you?” A well crafted profile statement will provide this information in 3-4 sentences. This approach is particularly effective for career changers, skilled professionals, seasoned or executive professionals and recent university graduates, as well as seasonal/contract only and Independent Contractors. For those who are new to the workforce, an objective statement with summary of strengths is probably going to be more appropriate for your experience level.

The key to an effective profile statement is to be specific but brief, be relevant to the position you’re applying for and most importantly, to show your motivation. Motivation is a direct reflection of your passion, commitment, and desire for your chosen profession and/or position. By providing your motivation up-front, chances are, your next employer has found value in your ability to be open and will likely continue reading for more information about your background. Below are two examples of a profile statement;

Profile:Events Coordinator with more than 10 years’ experience seeking a full-time, permanent position that requires a self-starter with passion for working with diverse populations. My background includes planning, coordinating and producing small and large-scale events. I bring maturity, tact and enthusiasm to contribute within a thriving team environment and possess excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills to facilitate various services and contract details.

Profile:  Registered Nurse with passion for providing quality health care services for children within hospital and private practice settings. My focus is on promoting excellent patient care with a compassionate and empathetic approach. As such, I am committed to continuous education, ongoing training and professional growth opportunities that incorporate my background and experience toward a career in Pediatrics.

If you haven’t read Resume Headlines: Objective Summary & Profile…Oh MY!(Part 1 of 2) Now’s the time! 

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