Years ago every resume started with an objective statement, which told the hiring manager the type of role the job seeker was looking for. However, in recent years the objective statement has fallen out of favor. Let's examine the details and answer a few commonly asked questions.
Why Use an Executive Summary Instead of an Objective Statement?
Studies have shown that the hiring manager only looks at the resume for a handful of seconds. The objective statement, at the top of the resume, is located in this "prime real estate." In other words, it is within the area where you want to place something powerful that will hook the hiring manager and entice them to keep reading. Listing an objective statement with what your personal professional goals are does not provide that hook. Replacing the objective statement with an executive summary -- where you highlight your unique skills and qualifications and express why you are a solid match for the job opening -- will entice the hiring manager to keep reading!
Taking up space with an objective statement that doesn't provide value to the resume may prevent the hiring manager from following up with you. In fact, some consider an objective statement outdated and automatically put resumes that include one on the discard pile. Instead, consider including an executive summary as another way to showcase that you are a match for their needs.
What Should You Include in the Executive Summary?
Include your strongest attributes that show how you are the best candidate for this job opening. Incorporate keywords from the job posting so the things hiring managers are looking for are obvious. Consider listing your years of experience that meet their requirements, and the top accomplishments you have achieved.
How Long Should the Executive Summary be?
Revision Resume suggests the Executive Summary should be 2-5 sentences long. This should provide enough space for you to include the highlights of your career relevant to the job opening, but not so long that it becomes onerous to read.
Can I Include Words like "I" or "My"?
It can be tempting to write an executive summary in the first person, saying something like "I have 10 years experience ..." but that is not appropriate. Your entire resume, including your executive summary, should be written in the 3rd person and therefore should not include pronouns. It may feel impersonal, but instead, say "Electrical Engineer with 10 years of experience ..."
Does My Summary Change for Different Job Postings?
Yes, you should modify your executive summary to align it with each job posting you apply to. You don't necessary have to re-write the entire paragraph, but you will want to make sure the highlights you have incorporated are a match for the opening you are seeking. Therefore, you may want to change a sentence or two in order to incorporate relevant keywords from the posting.
If your resume doesn't have an executive summary, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity! Incorporating a well-written executive summary can grab the attention of the hiring manager and demonstrate that you are a solid candidate for the job opening. This can increase your chance of getting called for an interview!
If you are struggling to write a solid executive summary, Revision Resume can help. Contact us to learn more.