Resume Objectives: How Do You Know if Resume Objectives Are Right for You?

Kathleen MacNaughton
 


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Some experts say NEVER bother with resume objectives. While others say they should be an essential element on every resume.

So, how do you know who is right?

The simple answer is. . . no one is absolutely right. Your decision on whether to use resume objectives will depend on your circumstances, job search goals, and—in some cases—the person who reviews your resume.

We can make recommendations, but you’ll have to make your own choice, based on your individual situation and preferences. But first, let’s try to get a better understanding of the 2 different schools of thought on resume objectives. . .

THE NEGATIVE VIEWPOINT

Ask anyone who does not believe in using job objectives on resumes why, and they’ll tell you it’s because resume objectives are so often self-serving. In other words, they say what you want, but they usually fail to say how this is relevant to the employer. You see, the company that hires you is more interested in the potential benefits you’ll bring to the organization, not how they can help you achieve your goals.

Another problem is that a narrowly stated resume objective can be limiting. The company may not even consider you for a position you’d love if you have clearly stated in your objective that you’re only interested in one type of job.

Finally, most resume objectives are so vague as to be meaningless. Why waste valuable resume real estate with something that will not help (and may harm) your quest towards obtaining the coveted interview?

ON THE OTHER HAND. . .

There are many resume writing experts who passionately believe in using resume objectives. They cite the fact that employers want to be able to tell — in just a few seconds — what job you want to do for the company and what skills you bring to the table.

There is also a school of thought that says the lack of a written resume objective translates into a job applicant who doesn’t really know what he or she wants.

Also, if you have a long or diverse job history, resume objectives can help sharpen the focus of your resume. This is also true if you are trying to switch to a career that is not strongly supported by your experience.

If you do decide to use a resume objective, though, you must make sure that it is not self-serving or too limiting, and that it is uniquely stated. Make it specific and work to reflect the employer’s perspective, not your own. Demonstrate the value you’ll bring to the organization.

ONE MORE OPTION An alternative to using resume objectives is to substitute one of the following at the top of your resume:

* Power statement. This is a summarization — in 1 sentence — of your most notable skills and accomplishments, items that are sure to arouse interest in a prospective employer. For example, “Highly- motivated, competent, and organized Administrative Support professional with a proven track record of teambuilding communications, resourceful problem- solving, and technical expertise. "

* Profile or Career Summary. This is similar to a power statement, but might be 3 or 4 lines/1 to 2 sentences. It could even be bullet points. But the main intent is to highlight your main career accomplishments to date.

In the end, whether or not to use resume objectives is a highly personalized decision. But if you do use one, keep in mind that employers are mainly interested in what you can do for them. So be sure that your resume objective is employer- oriented and results-focused. Do this well, and you’ll be on your way to your next interview!

Kathi MacNaughton, a freelance writer and editor, has years of management and recruitment experience. For tips & advice on writing powerful resumes, see http://www.powerful-sample-resume-formats.com. Copyright 2004 Kathi MacNaughton. All rights reserved.

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