Professional CV Profile or Career Summary

The beginning of your CV aims to provide a hook to grab your reader and frame your experience in the best possible light.  But there is an ongoing debate among experts as to whether the beginning of a CV should contain a career objective or a career summary.

The career objective is focused on what you want for the future so that prospective employers can have confidence in your commitment to a particular career and to the target role, especially.  The disadvantage of the objective statement alone is that, without containing your accomplishments, it may reduce the number of other opportunities an employer may consider you for even if they fit your skills and experience.

The career summary is focused on your achievements, conveying what you bring to a prospective employer that makes you suitable for the role and their organisation.  As many employers first care about what you can do for them rather more than what you want, this seems like a sensible approach.  The disadvantage, however, is that you do not give a clue about your future goals and you could be off-target in your summary if you stress the less important skills or experience for the specific role.

In reality, recruiters vary in their preferences, so it is useful to contain both elements in a profile with emphasis more on one or the other, depending upon your personal circumstances.  So, for example, if you are a career changer or a new graduate you may want to emphasise your career objective to show commitment to the new role and its fit with your longer term goals.  On the other hand, if you want to send your CV to recruiting companies, a focus on your career summary may widen the potential net of jobs they might offer you rather than limiting you to jobs that only fit your career objective.