Resume Tips: To Write A Resume Objective Or Not- Alternatives To The Objective

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Have you ever felt like your objective statement isn’t appropriate for the job or company you’re applying to?

They seem like something your parents may have had on their resumés, and that recruiters may just ignore them.

You’re not alone in those feelings.

Debra Wheatman, president of Careers Done Write, says, “Objective statements are outdated in today’s job market. It is the responsibility of the job seeker to provide the reader (i.e., the hiring manager) with information about what he has to offer a company – not the other way around.”

“Instead of simply saying what you want (as you do in a traditional objective statement), write a powerful statement about who you are and what you offer.”
Chrissy Scivicque, career coach and founder of EatYourCareer.com

If you feel like breaking the resumé mould, it’s still important to write something attention grabbing and valuable.  “The top third of the resumé is prime real estate,” says Wheatman. “It is in this section that the candidate has the chance to provide compelling information to generate an interview.”

Consider the following alternatives to writing an objective:

Branding statement or professional headline

Rather than elaborating on your career goals within a company, Chrissy Scivicque, career coach and founder of EatYourCareer.com, suggests using a branding statement.  “Instead of simply saying what you want (as you do in a traditional objective statement), write a powerful statement about who you are and what you offer. Placed in the center at the very top of the page, this is a bold indication of your personal brand. It doesn’t have to be flowery or too in-depth either. Just a straight-forward, clear message of who you are.”

She offers these examples:

  • Experienced Executive Assistant
  • Marketing Manager & Social Media Expert
  • Skilled Web Writer & Online Publisher

Jessica Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast echoes these concerns. She also supports the use of a personal branding statement followed by a focused career summary.  “Frame your brand around your unique value and pivotal strengths. It should tell them they can’t afford NOT to interview you.” She suggests focusing strongly on the fit between yourself and the organization’s opening.

The summary or professional profile

Traditionally, objectives tend to focus more on what a job hunter is seeking when it should be the other way around. Elaine Basham, partner at The Resume Group, says, “Employers are much more interested in what you bring to the table, and how you can help them – not what you want from them.”

She recommends trying “a summary of qualifications or professional profile that tells a potential employer who you are, what you can do for them, and the skills and strengths you offer as a candidate for a specific role.”

Beyond identifying keywords in the job posting and tailoring your resumé to it, Basham suggests thinking about what you offer that no other candidate does. “Tell them what skills and strengths you offer that differentiate you from your competitors, and the talents that make you the ‘must-have’ candidate.”

Consider highlighting these skills before your experience as a bullet point list that concisely elaborates on your key skills and strengths, which should directly relate to the job at hand.

Job title headline and elevator pitch combination

Dawn Rasmussen, chief resumé designer with Pathfinder Writing and Career services, offers another alternative to the objective. “My advice is to get rid of objective statements altogether and instead create a job title headline that serves as a positioning statement that themes the candidate’s background towards the job target while directly connecting to the position.”

Beyond providing just a title, Rasmussen suggests providing a “’30-second elevator pitch’ immediately underneath the job title headline that makes a compelling reason as to why a company would want to hire you.”

Her example:

  • Job title headline: MEETING PLANNER
  • 30 second pitch: Energetic, resourceful, and collaborative meeting professional with 10+ years of experience driving organizational results through demonstrated return on event investment.
Thanks to J.T. O’Donnell at Careerealism.com for helping us get in touch with some of the career experts above.
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