We generally recommend including a Summary vs. Objective. Although including your Objective will give a Hiring Manager a sense of your intentions and desired career path, it often times doesn’t answer the key question “What’s in it for them?”. A Summary section typically will. However, if you need to explain a career shift, we’d recommend including an Objective vs. Summary.
Write your resume with your audience in mind. Do your research and find out what matters to the Hiring Manager, so you can include that information within your summary section. When a Hiring Manager is going through your resume, they’re trying to find out why they should hire you and why would you be a good addition to their team. Often times there are clues to what they’re looking for in the job description itself. The company you’re applying for may also have a Careers blog where they talk about what they look for in a candidate.
It’s advantageous for you to include it after the Work Experience section. Hiring Managers are more interested in your practical work experience than what you’ve learned at a university. It’s the difference between theory and practice. In school you learn concepts, but you often aren’t held accountable for applying them until you are in an actual work setting.
New Grads are often told they don’t have enough experience. The struggle they often face is getting experience if no one gives them a chance. Internships, volunteer and freelance work may be a way to build up some relevant work experience. Transferable experience is also good. If you worked in the retail or hospitality industry, you have customer service skills. You’ve probably have problem solving skills and have dealt with conflict resolution in stressful situations. Think about what skills are applicable in your new role and emphasize those.
A good rule of thumb is one page for every 10 years of work experience. As a new graduate, one page is your limit. Be specific, intentional and concise. If you’re running out of room, select the most relevant experience and skills to the job you’re applying for and leave the rest out.
Were you a team lead? If so, how many people were you supervising? Did you respond to emails or tickets? If so, about how many per day? Were you in charge of a cash register or keeping track of sales? About how much were you responsible for keeping track of? Did you have defined quotas, goals or objectives in previous roles? Were you able to meet them on a regular basis?
Keep it short and sweet. The Hiring Manager may be going through a lot of resumes and cover letters, so try to be concise and memorable. A cover letter is also a good place to highlight your personality. If your prospective employer requires it, they may also be trying to gage culture fit/add, so it’s an opportunity to tell them a little bit more about yourself.