I recently had a client ask me if he should include an objective or career summary statement at the top of his resume. Personally for me, I say no, because I feel you need every line of space on your resume to show potential employers exactly what you can do and why they should hire you.
I’m blessed to have a lot of friends who are in jobs where they hire people, so I thought I’d crowdsource the question and get their thoughts. Their answers are below.
- Nope! Maybe makes sense in other fields but definitely not for journalism. Use the space instead to give me more information about your work experience and skills. And use your cover letter to tell me about your objectives–but do so in a way that conveys your storytelling and writing chops. E.G.
- Mixed feelings here. In the absence of a cover letter, it’s a good thing. But brevity is important, and I have no patience for a cover letter in agate type at the top of a resume. J.M.
- No to the summaries! Takes up valuable one-page retail space! The objective is simple and universal: we need money, we need jobs. Period. M.E.
- Objectives are useless and trite. I won’t even look at a resume that has objectives unless they’re fresh out of school, which is the only time I find it acceptable. I appreciate a professional summary up top because it’s a quick snapshot of whether to keep reading. G.S.
- Interesting to see folks come down so hard on objectives/summaries. I encourage them and look for them in the hiring and intern process. I think how a resume is packed into one page says a lot about the editing (and design) skills of an applicant with experience. Either way, skills and experience matter more than any single format. Z.B.
- I’ve never seen a summary or objectives statement that didn’t make it look like the candidate was applying for a different job than the one I was hiring for. Show me your experience and skills on your resume, tell me what you’re going to do for me in your cover letter. R.S.
- It depends. A good summary will draw me in and sets the tone for the rest of the resume. But one that is not specific may cause me to toss it. When I ve got 100 resumes to get through per position, summaries are key. J.D.
- No summary. I’d rather read the resume and make up my own mind. M.U.
- Nope. Tell me what you’ve done. And do it on a single page. N.P.
- I’ve seen people write terrible opening summaries, so unless you know what you’re doing, no. M.M.
- When I was hiring a digital media team, I wanted to see a skills summary or executive summary (or whatever you want to call it) at the top of the resume. I don’t care what your dreams are I want to know what you’ve done and are capable of on the first day of joining the team. S.F.
- No summary. That’s what a cover letter is for — and yes, I still very much believe in cover letters! S.W.
- A resume service once advised me that an objective is ideal for young applicants with little to no practical experience. For those with experience, the resume can speak for itself. K.B.
- Nope, the summary is outdated. You rarely see them anymore and for good reason. You have a limited amount of real estate on a resume, and you want to fill it with concrete accomplishments and skills. R.F.
- Not necessary. You box yourself in. I might have a job that doesn’t fit your objectives, and then what? M.M.
- No. If your resume is on my desk, we both know why it’s there. K.P.