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What is the difference between an objective and a summary statement at the top of a resume?

The Career Coach Career Coach

Today’s Question for the Career Coach

What is the difference between an objective and a summary statement at the top of a resume?

The Career Coach Says :

Thanks for the question. While the two may seem similar, there is a big difference between the two both in content and perception.

The objective usually is short, one or two sentences long. The most effective objective is specific about the position and type of employment desired. It identifies the kind of career you are seeking. It focuses on you, what job or career you are looking for.

The summary, on the other hand, highlights your qualifications for a job. It is meant to give the reviewer/hiring mangers an immediate, quick synopsis of your background and experience that is relevant to the target position. It highlights your specific strengths, skills and core competencies. This can help the screener and/or hiring manager understand how you will add value to the organization.

Since most resumes receive a brief, 10-second review, it is most critical to ensure the reader gets a sense of what you bring to the table in the first few seconds. If it does not hook the reader during that first viewing, your resume is likely to end up in the “no” pile.

An example of a good summary statement follows:

MSW candidate with strong background in counseling as-risk juveniles and families, as well as direct practice experience with children and families in an intensive pediatric hospital environment. Excellent client evaluation skills and the ability to locate and promote appropriate community services for clients. Proven ability to quickly establish excellent working relationships with clients. Recognized by colleagues for creative problem-solving skills and astute contributions to treatment team meetings.

· MSW with three years’ experience in counseling victims of violence and homelessness
· Resourceful, with excellent case management skills and ability to adapt easily to new situations
· Experienced in advocating for clients and referring for entitlement programs, employment and educational training
· Demonstrated ability to remain calm and in control when faced with crisis situations

The key is to show them your core strengths and relevant skills, past experiences and accomplishments in a brief paragraph.

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