Do I Write an Executive Summary or an Objective in My Resume?

One frequently asked question when it comes to writing a resume is, “Do I write an Executive Summary or an Objective in my resume?” This question refers to the beginning or the top portion of a resume, and that means a significant part where a prospective employer gets to see first and form their first impression when reading through your resume.

No doubt, the top half of the resume plays a major role in creating that first impression to the reader, and the last thing you want to happen is for the reader to crush your piece of resume and dump it in the trash can before the clock ticking to its 30th second. What a blow.

Before we go on further, perhaps it is wise to know more about these two – the Executive Summary and Objective – understand the differences between them and assess how the presence of either one can distinctively influent the impact of your resume.

First, an Executive Summary is a short paragraph containing a number of sentences and lines that describes your skills, strengths, qualification and achievements. Sometimes, Executive Summary is also termed Profile Summary. Either way is correct, no major differences. An Executive Summary tells the employer, in a concise manner, how they can benefit from the strengths and skills the candidate has on the offering.

A resume Objective is a compressed statement that indicates your… well… objective, often expressed in terms of your career goals and your desire to attain a certain achievement in the position and the company you’re looking forward to work with. For example, “seeking a job with a leading multinational in a senior accounting position” can be a resume Objective (or part of it).

The main compelling difference between an Executive Summary and an Objective is their length. More often than not, a resume objective is shorter than an Executive Summary. Now, long is not always better but a very short statement may lack impact and conviction. I love to write an Executive Summary because it gives more room and when crafted properly, creates such a powerful impact that it can easily become your secret weapon to new wealth of career discovery. A resume Objective will almost certainly hamper your ability to establish a strong impression due to its length limitation.

Secondly, the two differ in terms of messages they convey to the prospective employer. This is an even bigger difference and yes, you can ignore this but at your own peril. As you can see from the above, an Executive Summary tells an employer about certain values he offers that can be of benefits to an organization. It tells them “you will get these and those if you hire me” and in some way convince the employer how the candidate can be the right leverage to move to the next level.

On the other hand, an Objective sounds like a wish or a statement from a candidate that tell, “please hire me because I want to get these and those” and from one angle, it sounds as if the employer will owe the candidate something if they do not proceed with the hiring. Here, the employer becomes the candidate’s leverage to achieve his mission and whatnot and most likely they won’t feel too cool about that. An Objective has a risk of sounding too “self-centered”.

Clearly, looking at the arguments above, an Executive Summary looks like the better option. However, there is neither clear rule nor syllabus that governs whether you should write an Executive Summary or an Objective in your resume. I prefer the former, but hey, it’s your own call.

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