Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Your Resume Should Not Begin with Your Objective

The career experts have been saying it for a decade, but most people just haven't been listening. Putting an Objective statement on your resume is not going to help you. And often, it can hurt you.

Professional resume writer Louise Fletcher has a good post on the subject here. An objective statement is usually all about you and what you want. Employers would rather hear what you can do for them.

Think I'm kidding? Take a look at this objective for a resume I just got:

...seeks sales position with a stable, growth organization with exceptional compensation and employee benefits.

Setting aside the fact the posting wasn't even for a sales job, what does this objective do to convince you to hire this person? Nothing. In fact, it probably makes you snicker at the naivety: where on earth would you find a stable, growth organization these days?

"But," you ask, "how will the employer know what job I want?" First off, you can start (after your contact information) with a boldfaced, centered heading that states the title of the job you seek, or a general approximation of it. Follow that with a short paragraph full of punchy sentences that sum up your greatest accomplishments and skills. When I write resumes, I always save that paragraph for the very last. That way, I can pull together everything I've learned about the person and bring to the fore his very most impressive points while also painting a cameo that makes the employer feel they know something about him before even diving into the meat of the resume.

And of course, your cover letter should state the job you're applying for.

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