Yes, I said it. It’s time to kill your career objective, that is, your objective statement on your resume. If you’re one of the many job seekers out there still using old resume templates or well-intentioned, but misguided advice directing you to keep this statement at the top of your resume, it’s time for a change.
Career experts have been telling candidates for years to drop objective statements for a better alternative, but it seems that it’s taking awhile for the message to spread to the masses.
Now, most hiring managers say they won’t not hire someone just because they still have an objective statement on their resume (if it’s good) but as an applicant, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to highlight yourself in other ways on prime resume real estate.
So why shouldn’t you include an objective statement? For one, an objective statement is limiting. The way the job market is changing, your career objective today may not exist tomorrow or your objectives end up being so generic or general, no one knows what you really stand for as an applicant.
As a job seeker, you have two options with an objective statement, to narrowly define yourself based on the role you are applying for and claim that your objective is to land this one specific position (which can bite you later if the hiring manager happens to run across multiple versions of your resume should you be applying to more than one position) or you end up writing a statement so general to avoid this, that a hiring manager is bored or uninterested from the first glance at the top of your resume (and may not get past it.)
So what’s a person to do? Well, thankfully the world is your oyster and you have several options available to you. It’s up to you to decide the best path forward based on the types of positions you are pursuing and the companies you are applying to.
First, there is a branding statement. Writing a personal branding statement is a way for you to articulate to employers your specific skill sets, abilities, and what you bring to the table to become a valuable asset to their company.
The key idea about a branding statement is that it is more focused on the potential employer and what you can do for them, not yourself. It’s all about the value you bring, how you brand yourself, the same way a product might be branded to go to market.
Second, you might consider a mission statement. Some career advisors might consider a mission statement and a personal branding statement the same thing, and you can probably use the terms somewhat interchangeably.
However, a mission statement differs slightly in focus. A mission statement also showcases your branding message, but it focuses it around your core values and summarizes your goals and aims for how you might aid an organization.
Finally, there’s listing your core competencies. This section can be a little tricky. As with everything, it needs to be done well, hand-picking your best skills and expertise to be showcased without being too broad or general. Listing your core competencies can also be used in conjunction with a branding or mission statement.
This means of showcasing your experience can be especially helpful for candidates applying to jobs via ATS systems or with work history that may not seem quite relevant to your transferable skill sets.
If you know your resume is going into an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), you can use this section to promote key words interviewers might search for in the system for applicants that fit the position. It also provides the interviewer a chance to see what skills you offer right away as they scan your resume.
If all else fails and you have no idea what to put, it may just be best to delete the objective statement all together and just let your experience speak for itself. It’s time to clean up that old resume, clear away the objective and set yourself on a mission to secure an interview by putting yourself in the best light.
Don’t miss a prime opportunity to brand yourself and grab a recruiters attention right away by keeping an outdated objective statement on your resume. Change it up, and showcase who you are and why you’re the person they should be calling to interview.
Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.