How To Write The Objective or Summary of a Resume

Resume objectives or summaries can be a powerful tool, and while considered an optional section of the resume, it could land a job interview in and of itself. That’s why it is so important to know, and every applicant looking for a job should know how to write a resume objective or summary. It has three major components such as personal details, company details, and embellishments. Personal details should portray the applicant’s skill set and intentions within a very brief statement.


The company details should reveal a bit about the company and how the applicant will fulfill its needs. Embellishments are a risk. If used correctly, it can strengthen the resume, but incorrectly, and it could damage it. The resume objective’s or summary’s tone is important and varies depending on the job. Context is critical, and only the applicant can decide the best balance. Once that balance is found, the applicant can design a well-tailored resume objective or summary and have quite an edge.


Personal Details


Personal details are a chance to hint at a bit of experience that is relevant to the job. These statements should reveal where the applicant is coming from and what they plan to do. For example, “Seeking to further my abilities in,” verses, “Seeking to learn and excel in.” The first example reveals experience right out the door. It could be the start of any experienced applicant’s resume objective or summary.


While the second example shows no experience, but it does show an initiative to learn and progress. When forming the personal details, it is key that the applicant reveals where exactly they’re coming from.


Company Details


Company details are a chance for the applicant to reveal how much they know about the company, and that they know just what they’re getting into. Company details follow the personal details, and can often be interchanged. Company details can be things like “management and working as a team,” or, “improving and streamlining business processes.” These examples would follow a personal detail and reveal something about the company. The first example reveals that the company has a team of employees.


The second reveals that there are systems to be improved. These phrases can reveal the desired position, and how the applicant sees themselves fitting into that position. It can also show that the applicant understands the company’s values. If the applicant doesn’t understand the company’s values then they should do some research. Having a different set of values could hurt the application, but nailing the company values could greatly advance it.


Proper Embellishments


An embellishment is optional but adds a unique and personal touch to the objective or summary section. Embellishments are a great way to make the objective or summary stick out, but whether it sticks out in a negative or positive sense depends on how the applicant words it. For example, “Seeking to learn and excel as a master dojo and working as a team.” This one is relevant to a specific office where they play a game called “dojo.”


This could show that the applicant already has a personal connection to the office and their staff. If used incorrectly, the embellishment could also be awkward of offensive. Back to that example, if the last boss had dubbed himself the “dojo master,” but was later fired for sexual harassment, then this would greatly hinder the applicant’s chances. Before adding an embellishment, the applicant should be sure that it is not offensive; else they may end up offending the employees.


Appropriate Tone


The tone is important, and it is also subtle, but it can change how the reader views the applicant without the reader knowing why. Different companies have different cultures, and each culture has its own undertone. Some companies are very competitive, and rigidly so. Others are about teamwork and are quite a bit more relaxed. Different tones might not sit as well with different companies, for example, “Seeking to advance productivity with extreme vigor,” versus, “Looking to make cool apps and have a bit of fun.”


The first seems a bit extreme, and the second is a bit relaxed. Portraying a tone can show the company what kind of worker you’d like to be. The first example reveals that the applicant wants to complete and progress things. The second shows that the applicant wants to make the work environment fun while maintaining progress. The embellishments tacked on the end exaggerate the tone, but aren’t required. A proper tone can still be communicated with or without embellishments.


The Literal Context


Context dictates almost every factor of the resume, but the literal context is the biggest factor. Literal context applies to the kind of job that is being applied to. Some jobs have a higher turnover rate and are constantly hiring. Other jobs have high-security standards, and the interview process is a matter of months. When writing for a job with a higher turnover rate, it is important to keep in mind what the application review’s mentality might be. For example, “Looking for a job that’s 30-40 hours a week,” verse, “To improve the daily processes and advance as an employee.” If the job application is for a fast food joint, and the application reviewer sees the word “improve,” then they might reject the application. Many fast food managers need people to work, and not try to improve things. On the other hand, a security company would reject the first example due to how plain it is. The reality is that some application reviewers care more about simplicity, while others prefer the complexity. Knowing what exactly the application reviewer wants is something every applicant should consider.


The resume objective or summary is a portion of the resume that could make the difference when applying for a job. When used properly, it can single the applicant out, and land them in a job interview. When used incorrectly, it could single the applicant out, and their application will be throw out. The personal details, company details, and embellishments are all opportunities to enhance the objective or summary. Taking note of context is important, and could make the difference between coming off as the perfect fit, or being rejected. While the objective or summary is an optional portion of the resume, it also could make the key difference, and land the applicant with the job.


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