An Objective Point of View

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.

For more help with your résumé, the folks at Select Staffing have a Résumé Writing service that offers great insight and is sure to make you stand out in the crowd. Take a look!

Anita

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Javier
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 11:45:19

    This was very helpful advice I didnt have a clue on how some of the informartion listed on my resume could affect my chances of being considered, Thanks for the great advice i will tune up my resume and continue the search 🙂

    Reply

  2. patrick
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 03:35:31

    wow, this is all good information i didnt know about yet and is really a postive thing ti read up on. Kool.

    Reply

  3. Robin
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 10:56:42

    I agree with Anita…summary sections are much more professional and sum you up not your goal in obtaining employment. I had a professional resume service “do” my resume and after using it unsuccessfully for 6 months, I opted to change it to meet my criteria. It is what I will call a hybrid resume. It is who I am, what I can do, where I have been, and where I want to go. I am able to completely and comfortably recall all the information if asked in an interview situation. My buzz(key) words fit me personally and provide me with the tools needed to get that first interview. I have received 5 interviews and 3 of those positions are pending! Oh yes…I am also gainfully employed now! Still looking for that “perfect” job, but I am now back in the active workforce and enjoy my new position. Good luck with that resume!

    Reply

  4. Walter Washington
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 01:32:19

    Thank you for the sound advice. I was a bit afraid for a second because I thought that I had an “Objective” section on my resume, but a quick look at it revealed that I actually did indeed have a “Summary” section. I tweaked it a bit to be more of a true summary once I relocated it from the top of my resume to the bottom.

    Reply

  5. Robin Somerville
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 09:13:16

    Thank you so much for this advice. I am an mature job seeker and my resumes always included an objective. Now I’m going to compose an additional resume without the objective and see what happens. I already have a highlights section at the beginning of my resume, but, I will take that out and make it my summary at the end.
    Thank you again.

    Reply

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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