Rip the Objective Statement

Published: 08th May 2009
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To this day, many 'experts' still recommend that you include an objective statement in your resume, suggesting something along the lines of 'Account Executive at XYZ Company' or 'To secure a management position with a finance company'. What is wrong with these examples?

Let me ask you something. When you walk into a car dealership to buy a new car, or an electrical store to buy a new computer, do you think about what the salesman wants out of the deal? Do you care whether he makes his commission or not? No. What matters to you is that you get the product that meets yours needs at a price that you can afford. Now think about a prospective employer, the 'buyer' in a hiring situation, and consider where his focus is.

The outmoded objective statement is not only ineffective, but in the eyes of many recruiters can be seen as quite offensive because it fails totally to take his needs into consideration. It screams 'me, me, me'. It smacks of greed and selfishness and it does nothing to demonstrate what value the applicant could possibly bring to the company.

What is the alternative then? Should you just omit any kind of opening statement when so many recruiters rely on these to help them quickly sift resumes in or out? The answer is not to use an objective statement, but a 'summary statement', a short bio which gives the reader a quick and accurate understanding of who you are and what you can do. A well-written summary statement will grab the reader's attention and instantly show him the benefits of hiring you. It should be both concise and precise as in the following examples:

'Conscientious and reliable team leader with well-developed organizational abilities. Utilizes leadership, communications and interpersonal skills to motivate team members to achieve excellence.

'Project manager with 10 years' experience in implementing SAP to critical time and budget targets in the health care sector. Demonstrated expertise in formulating business requirements and supporting project documentation, and improving finance management and corporate reporting through the implementation of SAP Module XX.'

When putting together your summary statements, you will need to be selective about which strengths and skills you incorporate. As in every other part of your resume, the aim is to demonstrate how your skills and abilities fit the needs of the specific job opening, and you can determine the requirements and the goals of the employer from the job advertisement and your research into the company.

Here is a quick formula to get you on the right track:<

Who you are and what you can achieve/where you have worked/what you do + some of your significant skills, qualities or experiences + some of your technical skills or qualifications = superb summary statements!

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