Your Resume Objective Is Obsolete!
By Lancelot Larsen
Some experts think that there is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding whether or not to place an objective on your resume, that it is your choice alone and depends upon what your goals and circumstances are.
Those experts are dead wrong.
So, why are they dead wrong?
The most basic answer is that an objective statement says the same thing no matter how you phrase it or where you send it: "I want to work for you." So, why take up valuable space on your resume to make that statement?
There are two mistakes commonly made when writing objectives: too general and too selfish.
Many candidates approach objective statement from a one-size-fits-all angle. But it needs to be specific in order to create the desired effect. Writing simply that you are looking for a brand new chance to apply your strong work ethic in a demanding environment, will not pique the interest of anyone.
Note that objectives can be limiting. If you state that you are interested in a specific type of job, the employer may not even stop to think that you might be qualified for or be interested in another position within the company. Even if you are an ace manager all around with more than 20 years of experience in several industries, if you write in your objective that you want to manage a company's sales department, it might get missed that you would or could as expertly manage their human resources department.
The employer doesn't want to hear one word from you about anything concerning how the company will benefit you (i.e.—"A recent MBA graduate from Columbia University looking to gain real world experience at (a famous insurance company.") Never tell the employer on the resume, in the cover letter, or at the interview that your objective is based on something you want. Ask yourself first what you can bring to the proverbial table. Consider the employer's perspective, not your own.
There are two alternatives to the objective that are important to know: the cover letter and a summary of qualifications (or a profile).
Cover letters are a necessity.
Some employers mention them in their ads and some do not. Those who do not suggest cover letters assume that you know you should send one. Employers require cover letters with the resume because they want some kind of brief establishment as to why you are sending your resume and that you did not do so by accident or for no solid reason. Cover letters are an outstanding opportunity to tell the employer what you cannot on your resume. This includes your objective.
A Summary of Qualifications (or a Profile) can be a nice touch and serve the same purpose as an objective statement.
A summary at the top of your resume (below your name and contact information) is ideal for experienced candidates because it offers a snapshot of all your skills and expertise and will better entice the employer to read the details throughout the rest of your resume. The summary states who you are (i.e.—A dynamic, versatile banking professional with expertise in real estate and corporate transactions), what your skills and previous experiences are (i.e.—Demonstrated proficiency in sales and contract negotiations. Experienced in advertising, marketing, small business management, and securities litigation), and any licenses or professional affiliations that may apply. Summaries can be between 1-5 sentences, but should be no more than six lines long.
You can incorporate your objective into your summary: "An accomplished, motivated human resources manager looking to contribute wage/hour and insurance expertise to (a reputable medical facility)."
But the objective is best mentioned in the cover letter.
Tips on including your objective in your cover letter or a summary
- Establish what kind of professional you are and what expertise you offer
- Inform the potential employer what your career goal is and/or what specific position you seek
- Call the position by its official name and state the company's name as well
- Demonstrate how your qualifications will meet their needs
- Be specific with all information and make sure it's all relevant
If nothing else, objectives are just another chore during the drafting process, and it's just another chance for you to get it wrong and get your resume tossed aside before your education and experience gets a chance to be read.