Objective vs summary

A resume objective statement is a short introductory paragraph at the top of your resume just below your contact information. It usually states your career goals and ambitions. While considered optional or even outdated by some recruiters, a well-written resume objective can be a great opportunity to sell yourself. Recruiters look at hundreds of resumes and rarely read each one thoroughly. A thoughtful introduction for your resume will help you stand out and could prevent it from being prematurely discarded.

Options for starting your resume

There are some variations to a resume objective. We will take a closer look at the most common formats:

Resume objective
Also called a career objective or objective statement. Focuses on your career and ambitions and explains the type of work you are seeking.

Resume summary or Resume profile
Similar to a resume objective but focused more on how your skills and experiences relate to a specific job.

Resume headline or Branding statement
A single short sentence used to highlight your core skills as a candidate. Mostly used by jobseekers who have a lot of experience.

Resume summary vs. resume objective

Objectives are more common in the U.S., but they should be used carefully. You want to make sure that they add value to your resume rather than simply taking up space. In particular, they can be leveraged to assist jobseekers in the following categories:

  • Students – Because you probably don’t have any relevant work experience, it’s a good way to tell an employer what kind of internship or job you’re seeking.
  • Career changers – If you’ve worked as a nurse for 10 years but want to become an office administrator, an objective is a great way to let an employer know you are intentionally making a career move and not just applying to every open job.
  • Location changers – If you’re moving to a new area or if you’re open to relocating, mention that in an objective. For example, your personal information may have U.K. listed, but an objective could convey an interest in U.S. positions.

Summaries are also common in the U.S., while profiles are more specific to Europe. While optional, it’s a clever tool for people with lots of experience because you can summarize career-long accomplishments or achievements across jobs. It’s also helpful if you want to highlight older work accomplishments that may get buried in your work experience section.

Generally speaking, only use a summary if you’ve had several, full-time jobs. If you’ve only had 2 jobs, an employer can easily skim those in your work experience section, which will be near the top of your resume anyway!

Resume objective examples

If you’re going to include an objective, it’s important to be specific. Provide some context for your current career situation and mention what type of job, industry, and/or location you’re looking to work in next. Here are some examples of good objectives, but please do not copy these directly – take the time to craft something unique to you. 

College students/graduates
Recent State University graduate from with passion for helping others and anything related to technology. Seeking to obtain entry-level position in IT call center.

Career changer
Experienced healthcare professional with 10+ years in direct care. Seeking to transition into administrative role where I can apply my organizational and supervisory skills to impact policies and procedures.

Location changer
Gregarious home sales representative with successful track record in Los Angeles. Seeking to continue building career in new home sales in Seattle.

Resume summary examples

A good summary is 2-3 sentences that describe how your specific background, expertise, or key accomplishments relate to your next career move. It’s important to be original and not use clichés or generalizations, such as “versatile professional who works hard at any task” or “looking to work for a company with room for advancement.” Here are some good examples:

Logistics professional
Reliable operations manager with over 8 years of experience in logistics and supply chain. Special expertise in reducing inefficiencies, recently adding over $100K in annual revenue to Fortune 500 company. Seeking to continue advancing career in a managerial role at a distribution center.

Licensed cosmetologist with 4 years of experience working underneath pro stylist. Excels at developing client relationships and staying up to date on the latest trends and techniques. Seeking to join a salon where I can develop my own client portfolio.

Data analytics professional (example of a resume profile)
My name is Stefan, and I’m an ambitious and skilled analyst with experience in R, Python, and numerous other platforms. I believe storytelling is the heart of data analytics, and I thrive in a team environment. My coworkers would describe me as dedicated, reliable, and creative.


Vicky Blom

As a professional recruiter, I have over 10 years of experience helping candidates find work with businesses that match their skills, personalities and goals. Here on Resume Supply, I share some of the key things I have learned over my career to help job seekers with resumes, applications and interviews.