Posted: by HRNasty in Resume Writing, What Recruiters Really Think

Objective Statements

Show confidence with your resume

Objective Statements

I don’t care for Objective Statements in resume’s, and try to steer people away from them. I realize they are wildly popular, but I think they set the wrong tone for a resume. When I have a pile full of resumes, Objective Statements stand out  like a child raising their hand saying “ooohh ohhh, pick me, pick me”. I can only imagine that when they are being written that the writers mentality is one of “hope and luck” vs. “confidence”.

” Fingers crossed vs. Bring it on Biatch!”

We know that all resumes have a section between the contact info and the experience. Before we dive right in and fill this space with adjective filled gibberish, let’s think about what an Objective Statement is for just a minute. The definition of the word “objective” is as follows:

Objective: something that one’s efforts or actions are intended to obtain or accomplish

With an “objective statement” we just set the tone for the rest of the document. That subconscious mentality that you just put me into is that you as a candidate are “striving” to attain or accomplish a skill set. The word “Objective” implies that you have not yet reached your intended goal or that you have not accomplished your target. This is why I don’t like Objective Statements on resumes and I especially don’t like them when the resume has a section titled “Objective”. They subconsciously tell the reader that this candidate has not attained the skills needed. You just said “I am not qualified.”

I really don’t like it when a resume literally titles the top section “Objective Statement’. I know what it is.  I look at 50 resumes a day. I can almost see where they are needed if you are right out of school or with very little experience, but for the most part I think they set the wrong tone in the document. Personally, I think someone with little or no experience can avoid these statements.

Below are a few examples of Objective Statement formats:  

  • I am an ambitious / hardworking / driven / responsible / blah blah blah, looking for a (your adjective here) company / position where I can leverage my (your skill set here) and help move a company forward. I bring (more over used skill sets here) and (yes, more skill sets) and a positive attitude.
  • Objective: I am looking for a challenging position in the marketing field where I can use customer service skills and “blah blah blah”.
  • Objective: A position with Acme Publishing as a marketing analyst where I can combine my customer service skills with my technology experience in the printing industry.

None of the statements actually tell the reader what skill sets you have. The above explains what you want to do, but it doesn’t say that you are actually qualified. The above “objective statements” sound just like the top portion of every other candidates resume.   

These adjectives are overused and a dime a dozen. They drone on and on. Usually folks are trying to fit in way too much, trying to cover way too many bases with these statements. These statements ONLY means something to the individual and their personal experience, that I will never be able to extrapolate.  When I ask someone about their Objective Statement I usually hear some obscure example or trait that they are trying to describe without using an example. I am not a mind reader.  These don’t stand out from one resume to another, from one position to another, and for the most part, from one industry to another. Think about that. If you can put your objective into a resume that is applying for another job, or another industry, it is too generic and I have read some version of it 100 times in the past week. “I’m just saying”.

So many people think that all of these adjectives separate them from everyone else because in their mind, they can relate these adjectives to their specific experience. Sorry, all I see is adjectives.

Objective statements put the reader into a frame of mind where you are “begging” for a job or “peddling your wares”.

On the other hand, executive resumes do not state “looking for”. Executive resumes list their skill set in a way that says “this is me, hear me roar”.  BOOM!!!  These are Branding documents.  

I have a good friend Ari who created the Mona Lisa of resumes is an executive assistant to C level execs and here is the top ¼ of the first page used with her permission. I think that this section sets the tone for the entire document. The “objective statement” isn’t an objective statement at all but takes the space below the name and above the experience.  

QUALIFICATIONS SUMMARY

Skilled and dedicated Professional Executive Assistant with more than 6 years’ experience supporting senior level executives: coordinating, planning, and supporting daily operational and administrative functions.  

  • Excellent calendar management skills
  • Liaison between all departments to ensure proper lines of communication and reporting practices
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Visio, PowerPoint,  and Excel

My work as an Executive Assistant has given me exposure to many different business sectors including: Human Resources, Online Marketing, Sales, Information Technology, Mobile and Legal. I am a constant professional and exhibit a high-level of ethics, character, and leadership. I always have a strong, positive, attitude towards life, people, and career.

The above “objective” says what she is looking for without saying “I need a job, please pick me”.  It tells the reader that they have the skills set, can do the job and are qualified for most EA positions. 

What the reader is presented with is a solid picture of this candidates skill set.  The last paragraph says very strongly “My work as an . . . .” and “I am a constant. . .” and lastly “I always have a strong, positive attitude towards life, people, and career”.  It exudes confidence and lets me know she has done this job not just once, but multiple times.  She is not “striving” for the skill set, she has arrived.  Yes, it has a few adjectives in the last sentence, but the way they are presented it is more like the colored sprinkles on the ice cream Sundae. Not just a bowl of ice milk. It is a brand.

I am able to scan this in less than 2 seconds, see what I needed to see and was inspired to read on. That is what the top ¼ of the page should do.  Inspire me to stay engaged.

Yes, I just heard a lioness roar. As a guy who reads a lot of resumes every week, I am telling you, this one gets the job done and called to me. This to me just oozes a professional confidence.

Good Luck,

HRNasty

http://www.hrnasty.com/resume-cover-letter-template/

http://www.hrnasty.com/resume-layout/

nasty:  an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone that is good at something.  “He has a nasty forkball”.  

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  • gander2112

    Somewhere along the way I jettisoned the objective statements. Probably about the time that if I seriously was interested in a position, I wrote the freakin resume to match the position. As you mention, if you are jumping career tracks, or are a fresh out, they do make some sense, but once you are mid career, they look formulaic and childish.

    I know my experience, and my qualifications stand for themselves, and I am not afraid to custom tailor a resume to each position. Of course, I have never been in desperate need of a job (aka unemployed, and grasping at anything that seems reasonable), so I wouldn’t say never, but it would take a serious shot to make me put something like an objective statement back in.

    On the other side of the table, I find myself more looking at the cover letter, before even looking at the resume (much earlier in my career, I ignored the cover letter and went to the resume.) Not sure why I brought that up,

  • Kate

    Hi ,Thanks you for the straight forward no bull shit advice. As an entrepreneur, I hated hiring people with the same “Objectives” as described by you. Now that I am going back to the job marked “not by choice but by an amazing offer made” I could see what you are talking about as I never applied, therefore my resume is what they asked me to put on paper about myself . So I am a brand and I am good at what I do and that’s all it must say. Therefore, I would so encourage everyone to read this, IT IS THE TRUTH and since I am still in a position of hiring people I would want someone who comes with a bang!

    • Kate, thanks for stopping by and the comment. First, congrats on the amazing offer. Really happy for you!

      It means a ton when hiring managers not only agree but encourage other readers as you have. You are absolutely right. YOU ARE A BRAND. We are all brands and we need to let that shine and not be muddied by off brand statements. Lets make it easy for hiring managers to understand exactly who we are. Thank you! HRN