Should Your Resume Have an Objective Statement?

March 6, 2013 admin Blog

Should your resume have an “objective” statement?  There are differences of opinion on this question.  Your decision should be determined by your ability to articulate your career objective.  A vague or general objective will do you a disservice by creating an impression of a lack of career focus or uncertainty about what you wish to pursue.  A potential employer will see this as an indication of the possibility of ship jumping when you do decide what it is that you actually want, or that you have no idea of how you might contribute to his enterprise.  Unless he sees potential in you that you fail to see in yourself, this is a likely job killer.

If you decide to state your career objective, make it specific to the position you are applying for.  Don’t say you want a career in sales, or a position in management.  Be specific.  There are many types of sales and many different products to sell.  Selling intangibles, such as life insurance, requires a much different skill set than selling aluminum siding, or automobiles.  If you want to sell intangibles, say so, and say why.  Make a point of outlining the skill set you have that will contribute to your success in that arena.  Likewise, do you want to manage a production line or a sales team?  Different abilities will be required.  Be prepared to demonstrate that you have them.

Consider leaving out a statement of your objective from your resume and incorporating it in your cover letter.  There you will have much more latitude to discuss in detail the career trajectory you see for yourself and the skill set you have acquired to take you there.  You can describe how previous employment has demonstrated your abilities and provided the experience to prepare you for the next level.  An employee often looks for a new position precisely because he has reached a plateau in his current position and no longer believes he can grow in his career objective.  Your ability and care in articulating that will help you convince a possible employer that he will be adding value to his enterprise by hiring you.

Ask someone who knows you and your work history to look over your cover letter and resume.  Do they see the career path they know you want?  If it isn’t clear to people who know you it won’t be clear to a stranger.  Have you remained in contact with previous colleagues?  If so, ask them for advice.  Others often see attributes in us, as well as latent desires, that we may not see in ourselves.  Sometimes we don’t acknowledge talents we have to ourselves because we have been led to believe we should exploit other abilities, or because they have been discourage by people who have different objectives for us.  Seek every source possible to evaluate your talents and abilities and use that knowledge in formulating your life’s goals.

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