A reader writes…
Is it a good idea (or a bad idea) to include an “Objective” at the top of my résumé?
Dear, “Objective Perspective,”
This is an excellent question that comes up all the time – To have (an objective)… or not to have!
Let me tell you, objectives are a bad idea. They are a thing of the past and can actually decrease your chances of getting called for an interview.
Why, you ask?
An objective can either be so vague and generic that it doesn’t have a lot of meaning and basically takes up space on your résumé. On the other hand, it can be so specific that you become pigeonholed into a certain (and very limited) job category.
Plain and simple… I object to the objective. Instead, I propose another idea for the top of your résumé: consider a “Summary” or “Profile” statement that consists of a short overview (1-3 sentences) that describes your experience and key strengths. (Even though this will appear at the top, I suggest you write this part AFTER you have completed the rest of your résumé to ensure that it effectively sums up everything.)
Next, within your summary, carefully choose your words. Since keywords are used by hiring managers, recruiters, and in online résumé mining, your wording here is… key (pardon the pun)! Here’s a tip: read the job description that’s being posted and incorporate some of the buzzwords you see. Be honest, however. In no way am I suggesting that you put so much buzz in your summary that you get stung when you’re caught lying about your background. Keep it honest, but with a nice spin.
When preparing your summary, imagine that you’re in an elevator and you’re asked what you do. Quick – the elevator doors are about to open! You need a clear and concise answer that highlights your strengths.