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Monday, March 20, 2006
No Objectives
Do you know where you are going in your career? Do you know where you have been? It is important to have an objective in mind when preparing your resume but that goal should not appear on the resume in the form of a category named “Objective”. When making a career change, you must have a goal or a target in mind in terms of job type, industry, salary level, responsibility level, and maybe even geographic area. These specifics are important because they give you a target. It is not necessary, however, to write an objective statement for the resume. It is better to prepare an executive summary for the resume that sells your best assets right up front.

We always pay particular attention to the goals of our clients because we cannot devise a career marketing strategy unless we know what the target is for the client. Occasionally we will have a client say “I don’t know what I want to do. Something in sales would be nice.” If the client cannot be more specific than this, there is not anything we can do as far as the resume goes. Now, there is a lot we can do in regard to career coaching for indecisive clients but that’s another article. You must have a target if you are going to hit it. You must know what your objective is in your immediate career goals in order to construct the resume to support that objective.

Why not have an objective on the resume? Here’s an example of the typical objective we see on self-written resumes-- “Sales management professional with proven track record seeks position with opportunity for growth with a progressive company.” That stinks. It is vague. It is trite. It is pretty much useless.

Objectives are inherently weak because they don’t support the goal of the resume which is to sell the job seeker’s assets to the employer. The resume is a sales and marketing document, like a brochure. It speaks to the employer on how the job seeker can fill the position, do the job, meet the employer’s needs, and solve the employer’s problems. An objective doesn’t do that; instead, an objective speaks to the wants and needs of the job seeker. Let’s look at the objective example above phrase by phrase.

“Sales management professional” – The only thing this tells us is the fact that the job seeker is in sales or wants to be in sales. It doesn’t tell us what industry. It doesn’t tell us what level the job seeker is targeting – is it a mid-level management slot or a C-level management slot?

“with proven track record” – Proven? Proven how? “Proven track record” is a trite phrase meaning it has been so overused as to have no meaning anymore. Sounds good – means nothing.

“seeks position” – What kind of position? Is there a particular name for the job or perhaps opening number? Is this sales management professional seeking a management position or a sales position or a position as a mail clerk? We don’t know. It tells nothing.

“with opportunity for growth” – Would someone be seeking a position that doesn’t have opportunity for growth? Does the phrase clarify that the worker is not seeking a dead-end job? This is like saying “how dead is dead?”

“with a progressive company” – Define a progressive company. Can’t really do it, can you? What is progressive to some may not be progressive to others. Progressive in what way? Again, the phrase tells nothing.

My whole point in this little exercise has been to show you how important every single phrase in the resume can be. It is important not to fall into writing what sounds good but has no real meaning or impact. Don’t fill the resume with fluff. Make every word count.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 /


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