A lot of people think that a personal objective statement is an essential part of your resume.
Those people are wrong.
Let me explain. A personal objective statement is a short paragraph or phrase at the beginning of your resume stating the reason(s) you are applying for new positions.
Check out these objective statement examples: (all borrowed from job-interview-site)
- Objective 1: “To gain employment with a company that offers me a positive atmosphere to learn new technologies and implement them for the betterment of the business.”
- Objective 2: “To join a company that offers me a stable atmosphere and inspires me to enhance and innovate the work culture for the betterment of all parties concerned.”
- Objective 3: “To join an interactive organization that offers me a constructive workplace for communicating and interacting with customers and people.”
Ok, imagine that you are an employer reading one of these statements. Do you see something wrong with this picture?
If you said the problem is that each of these objective statements is focused on the job seeker’s needs, instead of in the employer’s, then you’re EXACTLY RIGHT!
The above examples are just different ways another way of saying “I want to get a good job at a good company with a good salary.”
Well Duh! Who doesn’t want that? By stating the obvious, you not only appear selfish, but you also waste the reader’s time (you’ve literally only got 6 seconds to impress), and you miss the opportunity to really blow them away with a reader focused summary of outstanding employment results!
As I discuss much more thoroughly in the article I wrote on fixing a crappy resume, a the key to writing a good resume is putting yourself in the mind of the employer. You must do everything you can to show that you will meet his or her need.
Why? Because when an employer reads a resume that does nothing but show what the interviewee wants out of the job, how can you expect them to want to hire you?
I know this is a difficult thing to get out of our heads—the personal objective has been hammered into our brains over the years—but you must understand that the objective statement is simply an antiquated idea that will be very harmful to include on your resume.
Remember,you want to show the company how you will be good for them …not the other way around! If you were thinking about including an objective statement, and are now having second thoughts, we have some better ideas for you.
Idea # 1: Jump right to the Experience Section.
Yes, we are actually suggesting that you simply remove any kind of header section. In fact, this is almost certainly your best option.
This is not an idea we invented, and no, we are not making this up. This is a proven method, outlined in Tony Beshara’s book Unbeatable Resumes. Tony is a big-name recruiter and “one of the most successful placement and recruitment professionals in the United States” … so when I say he spends lots of time going through resumes, that’s an understatement.
Before writing his book, Tony did a large survey of 3000+ hiring authorities to see what they were looking for in a resume. Of all those surveyed , an overwhelming 95% of them said that “Objective or Summary Statements” should NOT be included in the resume.
Yea, that is not just an opinion. That is a fact.
Idea # 2: Use a Personal Summary, or a Summary of Qualifications
While 95% of the time it is best to jump right to the experience section, there are a few exceptions. It might be the time and place for using a Personal Summary or Summary of Qualifications on your resume if you either:
- Have relatively little experience in the specific field to which you applying (e.g. you are changing industries entirely)
- Have a target job that is well above your verifiable, provable skill set.
These are the ONLY times that you should ever use a summary statement. In these special circumstances, a summary statement it is only acceptable because it helps fill in the gaps that don’t show in your experience. While it’s not exactly a perfect solution, it’s a heck of a lot better than applying with a resume that has ZERO relevance to the job opening.
(By the way, if you find yourself in either of these situations, a well-done cover letter is every bit as important for you)
These summaries may at first glance appear similar to the objective, but when tested, they produce vastly different results.
Why? Because an “objective” is all about what I want to accomplish for me,while a Personal Summary or Summary of Qualifications gives your potential employer all of the same key facts they need to know about you while being for their benefit. It comes across as a lot less self-serving and instead communicates to the hiring manager that you will care about the needs of the company above your own.
Here’s an example of a well-done personal summary:
Highly ambitious and growth-minded sales leader with extensive experience directing sales functions in highly competitive industries. Proven skills in overseeing elite sales forces and large-scale budgets against aggressive metrics. Continually focused on fostering positive customer experiences through responsive communications and prompt issue resolution.
Mmm, take a minute on this one. Do you see how a resume with this summary will be vastly different than one with an objective statement?
Instead of focusing on the applicant’s own objectives and concrete skills (which is what the rest of the resume is for) a summary statement is a concise, imagery-charged paragraph that shows off your skills in the context of the employer’s needs.
That could work a lot better, don’t you think?
If you need help deciding whether a summary statement is right for you and your resume, why don’t you give us a call? You can reach the Cold Collar office directly by calling (419) 482-8566 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, if you have other resume questions we’d be happy to take those too.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
p.s. If you found this article helpful, you’ll probably also enjoy my resume blog post about how graphic highlighting can transform your resume. Check it out!