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While not everyone includes a career objective in a resume, summarizing your career goals in the first section of your resume encourages an employer to continue reading to find out more about you. A well-written objective statement or professional summary grabs a hiring manager’s attention from the start and focuses on what you can contribute to the organization. The key is to be persuasive in communicating your value.
Longer than a career objective statement, a career summary gives potential employers a general idea of your employment history but in more detail. You can write the summary in paragraph form but keep in mind the goal is to give the person reading your resume a condensed summary of your experience. Use it to introduce yourself, focusing on your marketable job skills, strengths, achievements and the attributes that would make you an outstanding employee for the organization. Concentrate on qualities that relate to the job for which you are applying. Let an employer know what you have to offer and how you can help him meet his business goals.
While not always necessary, individuals often include a career objective along with a career summary when creating a resume. The key is to keep it short and to the point. Adding a sentence or two describing the industry for which you would like to work tells potential employers what kind of job you are looking for. Whether to include an objective statement is up to you, notes the Business Career Center at Marquette University. But it can be especially helpful to include it if you are changing careers, are a recent graduate and new to the workforce or haven't worked for a time. An objective statement also identifies your immediate goals should an employer look over your resume before reading your cover letter.
How to Start
Before writing an objective statement or career summary, research the industry in which you want to work. By matching your resume more closely to what an employer needs, you improve your chances of getting hired, points out Military.com. Once you seek out positions for which you would be an appropriate fit, make a list of a job's primary requirements and qualifications. Look for clues in the job description and compare your qualifications to those a particular job requires. If you are lacking some of the key qualifications for a job in which you are interested, determine whether other credentials you have might be transferable to that position.
Although optional in many cases, you can use a career objective or summary as a marketing tool to sell yourself. Your resume is an employer’s way of learning more about you, so avoid stating the obvious. Instead, include information that will make you stand out from other applicants for the position. Since employers read resumes quickly, keep your objective statement or career summary brief and concise. One option is to use phrases which are easier to scan than complete sentences. Keep in mind that the other sections of your resume should support what you say in those first sentences.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.