Have you ever noticed a career objective or a resume summary paragraph at the beginning of a resume? What is the purpose and is there a difference between the two?

Career Objective

A career objective (or resume objective) is a “short statement that outlines your career direction while positioning you as someone who fits what the employer is looking for”. If you are new in the job market, are changing careers, or targeting a specific position – adding a career objective can be beneficial if done properly. Avoid general statements or vagueness as this will defeat the purpose of a career objective. Keep this short, concise, and specific.

For example, if you are a recent college grad with little career experience thus far, a career objective example could be, “I am a highly driven recent business school graduate seeking a full-time position in finance where I can lend my knowledge of market analytics to help your organization improve profitability.” This explains that although you may not have extensive experience – you address why you believe you would be a good fit for the position.   If you’re looking to make a career or industry change, a career objective could be, “Accomplished human resources professional seeking to leverage extensive knowledge of employee relations, business, and positive communication in a customer-focused position that works directly with clients and ensures a positive experience.”

Resume Summary

A resume summary is a short description describing “your level of experience and your key skills and allows you to showcase your strongest assets upfront”. For example, if you’ve been in the accounting industry for several years, a resume summary example could be, An accounting manager with 8+ years of experience and extensive knowledge in Excel, QuickBooks, and Tax Software. a resume summary is used when you have substantial work experience and proficiencies in the programs, software, or skills that are valuable to the success of the position. Examine the job description for a position you are applying to and include these in your summary if you have experience in them.