The way you start your resume is extremely important because the first thing hiring managers see will become one of the key criteria in the selection process. And while there are no discussions about the fact that name and contact information is the very first information to be listed on the document, there are still disputes on what should be the next section. Resume writing specialists and HR managers argue on the use of objective statements and summary sections as the main opener of the document. However, today most HR people, as well as those experienced in job search, agree that objectives are now out of fashion. But does it mean that effective resume writing and objective statements are not compatible anymore? Does this imply that including an objective on a resume is always a bad move? Not necessarily.
When Can You Use an Objective Statement?
The use of summaries at the beginning of a resume has become more common as this kind of section provides better opportunities for job seekers to list key relevant information employers expect to see. Not always summaries present better opportunities though. In case when you are trying to make a huge career change and your past experience doesn't seem to be relevant at all, an objective statement can help the situation. The thing is when you are making a career change big time, you will unlikely have much to offer in terms of experience sought by employers. If in this case, you stick to a traditional summary section, all you will have there are things HRs will not find very attractive. For example, if you have 7 years of experience in one field and you are interested in a totally different one, your summary isn't going to sell you as the best candidate. That's where you can use an objective statement with the help of which you could explain how your skill set aligns with a new career path. This will prevent confusion on behalf of hiring authorities as some will certainly won't understand why you are applying if your experience clearly doesn’t line up with the job opening.
With that being said, it is important to mention that resume objectives are to be written with competence in order to do any good. Most job seekers stick to generic statements, such as "Obtain a position of an office manager at a reputable company that will utilize my past experience"... Now, this kind of objective is nothing but wasting valuable space on the document - such statements provide no useful information for the employer. An effective objective statement should be specific in terms of your career goals as well as the skills you can bring to the applying position. For example, you can develop something like this, "To leverage 12+ years of office administration experience and client support skills and in the tech industry in a general manager role at a growing technology start-up."
Despite the general trend to go with a summary section on a resume, choosing to include an objective statement instead during a career change can be a much better move. Besides, when it comes to resume writing, there are no hard and fast rules. You have to figure out what works for you individually, not what works for everybody else. And if a resume objective can help you better present your qualifications and experience, then go for it.