Drop the Objective on Your Resume!

Although I’ve written about this in other articles, I think the topic deserves further attention.

Much of the resume advice that’s still out there promotes, and a great many job seekers still utilize an “Objective” statement at the top of their resume.

While, in general, resumes are very subjective, and there is a great deal of conflicting advice where both sides can have valid points… there is a greater consensus these days that an Objective statement is outdated in today’s job market, and can be a negative when presenting a resume for opportunities.

Consider these comparisons…

*****************************

Objective: To find a dynamic company where I can apply my 15 years of Software Development skills to reach my career potential.

VS.

Software Professional

Software Developer with 15 years experience in designing and creating effective applications within allotted time frames and budgets. Specific skills include:

                     Java Web Development                          Agile Methodologies  
                     Team Lead                                          SPRING Frameworks 
                     Business Analysis                                  Testing

*****************************

OR…

Objective

To apply my Project Management skills in an environment that enables me to achieve to the highest of my abilities and gain further experience for the benefit of the organization.

VS.

PROJECT MANAGER

Successful Project Leader bringing proven experience in delivering projects on-time, under budget, meeting milestones, and communicating effectively. Notable qualifications include:

                       PMP Certified                                         SCRUM Master  
                       Requirements Gathering                          JAD Facilitator 
                       Expert VISIO Proficiency                          Vendor Management

*****************************

Contrasts can be seen in each of these comparisons. The “Objectives” which are typical examples that job seekers use, are primarily about what the job seeker hopes to find. While any company would ideally like to find someone who’s goals match the open position, their primary focus is to hire someone that brings the skills and culture fit to effectively fulfill the job requirements and achieve the company’s goals. The individuals own goals are secondary, and is up to the candidate to evaluate the fit with the opportunity.

Using a header that states your field of expertise helps the employer immediately know whether they are looking at a resume of someone in the right ballpark or not. Using columns of words or short phrases can communicate several key points in a quick glance. Giving the employer the ability to digest more information quickly is the best route to getting them to see the match to a particular position.

Short sentences, keywords, and phrases are always more effective at communicating a lot of information quickly than run-on sentences or paragraphs. Never sacrifice substance to gain brevity! Spend the time to figure out what is most important to convey and say it in as few words as you can.

In today’s job market, if you want to create a resume that will be most effective… Drop the Objective!

Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

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Comments

  1. Amit De says:

    Thanks for the great advice, Harry! If a job seeker chooses to use a summary on their resume, keywords and concise bullet points are far more appealing than one or two long sentences about what you are seeking in a position. With hiring managers scanning a resume in under 10 seconds, it’s important for job seekers to provide them with a quick and concise amount of information to immediately position themselves for the job.

  2. Harry, thank you for writing about this topic, even if you feel you’ve said it before. It IS worth writing about repeatedly until people read the memo! I understand seeing an objective when I consult with people who have had help from well-meaning older relatives – but to see resumes with ‘objectives’ coming out of job centers makes me grind my teeth!

    In general, we are doing a very poor job of understanding our true skills and value – and communicating them effectively. Once you’ve taken the time to write an effective skills-based resume, you have also created a bank of stories that help you address almost any interview question that comes your way.

  3. Emerald says:

    Harry,

    Thank you for paying more attention to this topic. As a counselor in a college career center, I have worked with many students who still use the “Objective” statement. I do advise them that resumes are subjective and continue to change but I also inform them of the benefits of including a more specific and meaningful statement. Again, thank you for shedding light on a common resume faux pas.

  4. Amit Ghai says:

    Great Advice harry, It clicked me in less than a minute. I copied the text below for my own resume :)
    Successful Project Leader bringing proven experience in delivering projects on-time, under budget, meeting milestones, and communicating effectively. Notable qualifications include:
    PMP Certified SCRUM Master
    Requirements Gathering JAD Facilitator
    Expert VISIO Proficiency Vendor Management

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