Monday, March 03, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Résumé Objectives

When I was in college, career services taught me the importance of having an objective on my résumé. However, this never felt quite right. I certainly couldn’t put down my honest objective – to get a job to make money and gain experience with any organization willing to take a chance on me. What if someone judged me solely on the contents of that one elaborately created sentence? Why was that one sentence so important to everyone but me?

Now that I’m on the other side of the table, I again question the value of the résumé objective. I’ve seen many résumés that mention another company’s name, a field we’re not recruiting for, a desire to work in a different part of the US, or statements that tell me right away that the person is not looking for a job at Astron (e.g., seeks a high growth sales position with a Fortune 500 company on the West Coast). Résumé objectives may be helpful in weeding out candidates who won’t be a good fit, but more often than not they don’t add positive value to the recruiting equation.

According to, résumé objectives are dead. Résumés should sell you and your personal brand by making you more appealing to prospective employers. Employers don’t want to hear what you want to do. They want to know what you can do for them. recommends using a tailored summary of your skills as your personal marketing tool. It will be interesting to see if the tailored skill summary approach takes hold over the next few years. I’d like to see more résumés use this format.

Looks like back in college I was just a little ahead of my time with my thinking on résumé objectives.

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