Should You Use a Resume Summary Statement?

Posted: 05/01/14 | Category: Job Search Resume

Objective statements long ago outlived their use. At best, they consumed a chunk of prime resume real estate and at worst, they depicted the applicant as a professional narcissist. However, some HR professionals advocate the use of a summary statement in its place. Does swapping an objective statement for a summary statement do candidates any real good? 

The Pros of a Summary Statement

One of the main selling points for using a resume summary statement is that it makes your brand message easier to digest in a small window of time. Most resumes get 6 seconds of attention before a hiring manager decides to stop or read onward.

The argument is that you have to maximize that time with a streamlined summary statement. It’s the equivalent of a strong elevator pitch but wrapped up in a neat, little package. After you’ve hooked the hiring manager, the applicable achievements, content, and keywords in your resume will land you an interview.

The Cons of a Summary Statement

Summary statements are usually situated underneath your contact information and that’s where most opponents take issue. They contend that you should lead with your best foot, allotting that space for more enticing information.

When reviewing a candidate’s resume, most hiring managers tend to look at:

• Name
• Current title and company
• Current position start and end dates
• Previous title and company
• Previous position start and end dates
• Education accomplishments

By that logic, you should dispense with the extraneous resume summary and get right to the meat and potatoes of your career.

Moreover, a cover letter achieves what the resume summary statement attempts to do, but without the limitations of a claustrophobic space. So, why confine your summary to a tiny fraction of the 400 words recommended for each resume page?

The Scales Tip Towards…

Leave a summary statement out of your resume. Much like the objective statement, it unnecessarily takes up space that you cannot afford to parcel out.

Interested in more ways to give your resume a snappy new look? Check out these articles.

3 Quick Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Words to Avoid Using in Your Resume

by James Walsh