Mar 23, 2016

A Resume Objective? Are You KIDDING Me?!


To keep up on the most recent developments in the resume industry, I occasionally read new resume manuals. And frequently, I learn something new from these publications. Yesterday, however, I read a publication about resumes for 2016 that stopped me dead in my tracks.

The book’s author devoted a full chapter to the need to write an Objective statement on your resume.

An Objective statement. Are you kidding me? The gist of what this author had to say was that unless your resume has a strong Objective statement, the prospective employer won’t know what job you’re looking for.

I must say that I stopped reading the book as soon as I saw that chapter, I was so appalled. Objective statements have gone the way of buggy whips and high-button shoes. Don’t get me wrong; there are as many individual views on what constitutes a good resume as there are resume writers. But I have yet to encounter any other certified professional resume creator who preaches the gospel of Objective statements.

“What’s the problem?” you say. The answer is simple: An Objective tells the employer what you want. But the employer couldn’t care less what you want. The employer wants to know how well you’re going to give him/her what s/he wants.

Just imagine, if you will, that you are invited to a friend or relative’s house for dinner. Before your host or hostess has a chance to let you know what’s on the menu, you pipe up, “I want roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots and string beans, and, oh yes, some Neapolitan ice cream for dessert.” Even if the friend or relative had planned something similar for dinner, do you think s/he is going to feel very kindly toward you for that breach of etiquette?

If you do that to an employer, s/he will probably feel more than a little annoyed with you. In fact, adding an Objective can cost you more than just someone’s wounded feelings. Telling the employer what you want instead of advising him/her what you’re offering the company could cost you the interview.

The proper way to announce yourself is to begin your resume proper with the job title the employer is hoping to fill, followed by a brief statement introducing yourself and showing (not telling) why you are the best candidate for the position, based on your accomplishments. If you need an example, here is one I wrote for a job seeker recently:

Project Efficiency Manager: Developed most effective, time-saving methods to achieve desired results by facilitating all aspects of selected business practices. Achieved 100% success rate in winning awards for law firm clients by rewording demand letters for greater impact. Cut labor and delivery times by developing mutually beneficial working relationships with suppliers and vendors.

That statement tells the employer who the job seeker is and what s/he has accomplished in the past; it’s also a commitment to achieving similar results for the prospective employer. There is nothing about what that job seeker wants; it’s all about what that job seeker will deliver. And it will arouse much more interest on the employer’s part than any “I want” objective.

It’s a new world out there, friends, one where your resume needs to show what you can deliver. So kick that objective to the curb and look for what the employer wants.

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