The Resume Objective is Dead.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your resume, you might still have an objective at the top. I remember struggling to write a creative objective to say “Hey you, I want a job. I want this job because it’s awesome”. The resume objective was a nice way of telling the employer that you were interested in the job and asking them to consider you.
Here’s the deal. If you are applying to my job opening, I am pretty sure you want the job. I assume that you think you have the skills and abilities to do the job. In the past five years or so, the objective has faded away and been replaced with the summary.
Changing Career Fields
I’ve seen some sites recommend keeping the objective to let employers know that you’re interested in changing fields. I’m going to disagree respectfully. Tailor your resume to each particular job, including the summary section. My advice to someone looking to change their field would be to start with something like “Experienced accounting manager with a passion for Human Resources.” Then, make sure the skills you list are relevant to the desired career field. Another thing to do is outline the reasons you want to make the change in the cover letter. Start with why you are interested in making the change and how your previous experience can help the organization or department.
If you are a recent graduate, your career center might have told you to include an objective because you don’t have a lot of work experience. I’d much rather read about the skills you’ve gained while attending school, being an active volunteer or extracurricular activities. Talk about your experience leading a team, capstone projects, research, and analytics.
The Resume Summary
The summary is a modern replacement for the resume objective. I’ve seen a variety of resume summaries while working in HR and doing resume consultations. A resume summary should highlight your qualifications and skills very briefly. It’s like the abstract on a research paper or the TL:DR version of your professional experience. Your summary should grab the hiring manager’s attention and hook them into reading the rest impressive resume.
The nice thing about summaries replacing the resume objective is that they tend to be longer than a sentence. The summary can be in a short paragraph, bullets, or a combination of the two. For jobs where technical skills are important, bullets tend to work better because they can list languages or technical skills you have.