How to Write a Resume - Objective vs. Summary Statements by Leslie Kearney

It's hard to write a resume. Most of us are not "born salespeople." Just mentioning the word "sales" usually sends a shiver of fear up our spines. Add to this the fact that we are taught from childhood that it's not polite to brag about ourselves it's no wonder that when you're asked to "sell yourself" on a resume you freeze up like a deer in the headlights.

So instead of panicking let's take a resume apart piece by piece and explain how to write an effective resume. Hopefully this will eliminate some of the fear involved in "selling yourself" on paper.

Resume Basics (what every resume MUST have)

Your name, address and phone number (obviously). But also your email address.

Email addresses are where most people tend to go wrong. I have a friend with an email address called "1hottiger" (one hot tiger). While this might be cute among friends, to a prospective employer it shows poor taste, and a lack of maturity (since she's in her late 40's). If you don't have a professional sounding email, create a new one just for your job search. You can get free email addresses on Google, Yahoo or Hotmail.

Example of a BAD email address:

Example of a GOOD email address:


When you write a resume avoid using fancy fonts or colored ink. This just makes you look immature. Plus, statistics show that if someone has to struggle to read something they won't. Which means you're resume is guaranteed to hit the trash faster than most if you use a script font.

Try to make your resume look like a nice letterhead. One thing I do when I write a resume is condense lines. In the header I put my name to the left and my phone number all the way to the right. Then below that I put my full address (on one line) on the left and my email all the way to the right on the same line. Then I separate it all with a nice line to look like professional stationery.

When To Use An Objective Over A Summary:

The Objective Statement

An objective statement is for people who are either just starting out or changing careers. Your resume should state your desired job and field (engineering for instance) and demonstrate that you have the skills or education (if not the job background) for the position. When you write your resume make sure that you use "action words" in your objective statement. Just like they sound they convey that you are a person willing to get to work and do your best. It should state your skills, your desires and what you want to do FOR the employer.

The WRONG Way To State An Objective:

Looking for a position with a dynamic company that will recognize and use my talents. I am seeking a company that promotes from within and will recognize and reward hard work and talent. This statement is all about YOU. It gives the prospective employer no information about yourself that makes you stand out from the crowd. When you write your resume try to think from their position. They want someone that's gonna get in there and work hard to make THEM money. How will you do that?

The RIGHT Way to State An Objective:

To apply my knowledge acquired through my Masters degree in Graphic Design and internship at ABC Advertising Company to an entry level position in the art and marketing department of a major magazine.

The Summary Statement

A Summary statement is for people that have been working for a while. It "sums up" your skills and positions using strong "action words" and states your qualifications up-front. It's a way for a prospective employer to "glance" at your resume and determine if it's worth reading further. It should outline briefly your skills and background and anything you feel you did that was "above and beyond" the nature of the job you held.

BAD Summary

Department manager for 15 member department in large marketing firm. Managed schedules and oversaw daily department duties and workflow.

The reason this is BAD is that it's generic. Lots of people have jobs like that. What set you apart? Let's try again:

GOOD Summary

Accomplished department manager with 10 years experience. Created highly synergistic department of 15 creative marketing employees that generated over $5 million dollars in annual sales through applying teamwork and incentives/rewards.

This is just a sample but you should have 3 to 5 strong sentences like this. When you write a resume show the results your efforts made whenever possible, whether it was saving the company money and/or time, or bringing in sales.

Please keep in mind that these lessons are for the person just entering the job market or in entry-level or lower-level management. If you've been in the workforce for a while and are on the rise in your field then you definitely will want to consider hiring a professional resume writing service.

Leslie Kearney is a web author and owner of [parked domaim] If you are looking for help finding a professional resume writer, or learning how to write your own resume we can help! We also have up-to-date lists of top companies that are still hiring and helpful information on job searching and interview tips.

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