Many first-time job seekers may not know where to begin when drafting a resume. While there are seemingly infinite templates online, it's important to develop an individualized resume that best reflects your personality and professional achievements. Moreover, many traditional templates still include a mission statement, sometimes referred to as an objective, which has become somewhat outdated in the working world. That is not to say that a mission statement has no place on a resume, but that the philosophy behind the mission statement has evolved. In the past, this space on a resume served the purpose of expressing what a person desired in a position. Today, the act of applying for a particular job speaks for itself, and the mission statement has been redefined as a professional summary. Hence, a contemporary objective would showcase your professional skills, abilities and general esoteric qualities, rather than focus on what you expect from an employer. Put simply, a modern objective briefly and articulately emphasizes what you can bring to the table, not what you are expecting from an employer.
The benefit of a modern professional summary is that it provides a teaser of your qualifications. In today's fast-paced working world, recruiters often only have time to spend a few seconds on every resume, and a professional summary will give them a lot of information in a small amount of space. Consider this component of your resume a written opportunity to give an elevator pitch to a recruiter or hiring manager. Due to the inherent brevity of this portion of your resume, it should be thoughtfully written and edited. If executed correctly, a professional summary can encourage potential employers to look through your resume more thoroughly.
Like any other aspect of your resume, a major con is that a professional summary takes up a fair amount of space. For job seekers new to the workforce, a resume will likely only be one page. However, though you may not have a wealth of professional experiences, adding all of your contact information, leadership experience, education and past positions can fill up this amount of space rather quickly. Once you add all of those necessary elements, it may prove challenging to find enough room to fit a professional summary. Moreover, if this part of your resume isn't well worded and interesting, employers may gloss over the rest of the document. As this portion is generally included at the top of your resume, it will likely be one of the first things a recruiter or hiring manager looks over. Also, because a professional statement is short, you likely won't be able to highlight all of your experiences.
Of course, one option is to disregard the professional summary entirely. Since resumes should be catered to your professional experience, it may not prove necessary to include this aspect. In many situations, a well-drafted cover letter can address the strengths you would usually list in a professional summary in greater detail. However, if you feel your resume seems a little sparse without this portion, consider instead including a list of professional skills. While this concept may be similar to a professional summary, the construction is often executed in a list form rather than a formal statement.
If you decide to include a professional summary on your resume, consider adding this element once the rest of the document has been drafted. This will allow you to look over the entirety of your professional accomplishments and prioritize them into a candid, well-written statement.