A resume profile may be the most powerful element of a resume. That is why it is at the top of page, just below the candidate's name and contact details. The profile puts the entire resume into context. More importantly, the profile proclaims in about fifty words why the candidate is an excellent match for the job at hand. Without a profile, a resume is not framed with a purpose. The candidate's suitability may not be immediately evident without a profile.
Is an objective statement as effective as a profile?
An objective statement focuses on what the candidate needs or wants. A profile explains how the candidate fills the needs of employer. When someone is selling you a pair of shoes, do you want to hear how the sales person will experience satisfaction upon the sale and that they have always wanted to sell shoes. Or, do you want to hear how the shoes are hand-crafted with superior leather, are comfortable, and are available in your size? As a smart marketer (of ourselves for a job), we want to express what we offer. That is why objective statements have been replaced by the profile.
What is the appropriate length?
A well-crafted profile is a three to five-line narrative with the candidate's top values. This includes details such as relevant skills, areas of expertise, top awards, major relevant certifications, and perhaps one of two stellar accomplishments. In some cases, a bulleted format (rather than narrative) will be appropriate in the profile area. However, consider your entire document and the use of bullets elsewhere. Make sure you do not over-use the bullet style on your resume. Variation of bullets and narrative styles will facilitate a quick read.
Do I need to edit my profile for each job type?
Yes! A targeted resume is more effective than a catch-all resume. If you have more than one goal, you may need more than one resume, each with a profile tailored to match the goal.
Writing a compelling profile would help the reader see the reasons why you are a strong candidate for the target position. Without a profile at the top of your resume, it is not immediately apparent to the reader that you are a match for the precise goal.