If your resume contains the words “objective statement,” you could be placing yourself at a severe disadvantage when applying to businesses. Objective statements have been considered outdated for over a decade, yet job seekers continue to place them on resumes. If there is one thing the employment markets wish was eradicated, it’s the resume objective statement.
The purpose of the objective statement (long ago) was to set the job seeker apart from others. Instead it transformed into a space-wasting blurb full of clichés that hiring managers, at best, skip over.
Many candidates use the objective statement as a plea deal, which is not the purpose and can turn off hiring managers immediately. For example:
I’m applying to this position to obtain a lifelong career where I have the opportunity to grow my skills.
This objective statement is asking for an opportunity that will allow him/her to grow—it should be telling the hiring manager how they will help the business grow that they’re applying to. What you see above should be, if anywhere at all, on the cover letter!
Utilizing an executive or professional summary is the single most important feature on any resume. The summary’s main focus is to sell you within 3-4 sentences. It should be concise and informative, telling the hiring manager exactly what you bring to their business that sets you apart from the competition. For example:
Highly motivated salesman with strong networking skills and proven ability to exceed set goals year after year.
It’s difficult for some individuals to sell themselves, but it’s important to realize your own value in order to truly sell your skills to a business.
If you’re an entry-level or recent graduate who lacks professional experience, you should highlight strong cross-over skills used in previous jobs, internships, or volunteer work in your professional summary. Confidence—and a well written resume—are essential for every job seeker.
For executives, you will find no quarter from the executive hiring committees on boards. They should be able to read your summary, and only your summary, and say definitively let’s hire this person. That is how important the executive summary is for higher level candidates.
An executive search consultant at JMJ Phillip once heard a Chairman’s personal opinion of resumes, which was summed up with:
“Candidates at this level should be smart enough to do the research and use peer review to come up with a decent resume. For those without the time or desire to do it should at least be smart enough to see they have a weakness with their resume and hire someone to fix it. In our world you either fix it yourself or hire someone to do it, but being sloppy isn’t an option in our competitive business.”