Blog & Detail

Why Your Resume Needs a Professional Summary (NOT an Objective Statement)

The hiring leader already knows you want the job and an objective statement could limit you from being cross-referenced to other roles in the same company, so skip it and instead write a 1-3 sentence professional summary that is tailored specifically for the job you are applying for. Your professional summary should communicate your experience and specialty that differentiates you from the other applicants.
Go back and read the job posting again. What are they really looking for (skills, experience, and value)? What problems do they need solved? What would you look for in a candidate if you were the one hiring someone for the job?
For example, if you were selecting applicants to bring in to interview which of these two statements at the top of a resume would stand out to you?


1)  To obtain a customer service position where I can use my skills and grow my experience.

2)  Professional customer service representative with 10+ years experience in cardmember services, specializing in problem-solving and conflict resolution. In each of the past 22 months in my current role, consistently ranked in the top 3 and no lower than 5th (of 120+ total employees) in avoidance of customer intended account termination, saving the company $117,000 in total potential revenue loss.

The first is an objective statement. Boring, right? The second is a professional summary, which is a standard field in your Five Minute Resume.
When writing your professional summary don't use tired old adjectives like results-oriented, hardworking, innovative, or motivated. Instead, make use of action verbs where it makes sense:
Action verbs include words such as orchestrated, chaired, programmed, operated, spear-headed, collaborated, commissioned, advised, headed, delegated, established, advocated, fielded, consulted, arbitrated, mediated, informed, resolved, interfaced, updated, unified, motivated, explained, guided, facilitated, clarified, enabled, capitalized, enhanced, expedited, stimulated, maximized , solved, strengthened, settled, reconciled, eased, elevated, negotiated, standardized, influenced, arbitrated, boosted, clarified, integrated, modified, overhauled, redesigned, restructured, transformed, adapted, debugged, regulated, restored, fabricated, remodeled, composed, corresponded, illustrated, persuaded, lobbied, defined, formulated, synthesized, conveyed, disbursed, publicized, discussed, informed, etc.
The only exceptions to this recommendation would be for those just entering the work force or those who lack the required experience (major career change or seeking a significant promotion). In these cases, an objective statement may be a better option than a professional summary.