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The Disappearing Resume Objective Statement

The resume objective statement has been replace by the title and summary.

The resume objective statement has been replaced by the title and summary. (JWynia)

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Early in my career, the editor of a daily newspaper where I had applied to be a reporter offered me some advice about my resume: lose the objective.

“Your objective is to get a job, and specifically, since I’m holding your resume, it’s to get this job,” he said. “I bet you change this thing every time you apply for a job.”

He was right. I changed the objective to reflect every new job I applied for – “Editor in chief  of a large metro daily newspaper…” “Beat reporter at a weekly newspaper…” “window washer at a national magazine…”

I took his advice and I dropped the objective. My resume rolled right into the experience the hiring managers wanted to see. They knew what job I wanted – the one I was applying for.

The modern resume database and search engine have made the presence of keywords high in the resume important again, but the objective statement remains dead, said Steve Burdan, a certified professional resume writer who works with TheLadders.

Burdan stopped using objective statements more than five years ago, he said “to compress the top part of the resume and leave off boilerplate kinds of things.”

The objective statement has been replaced by the the more direct, simplified “title” and “summary,” he said.

Among the most common questions asked of professional resume writers, and the most common errors made by job seekers writing their own resume involves the objective.

Does a resume need an objective statement?

The answer is no, said Steve Burdan, a certified professional resume writer who works with TheLadders. It’s been replace by the more direct, simplified “title,” he said.

Burdan stopped using objective statements more than five years ago, he said “to compress the top part of the resume and leave off boilerplate kinds of things.”

“My experience has been that Objective Titles are critical, but Objective sentences or paragraphs are not,” he said. “By Title, I mean Senior Management – Sales/Marketing, Executive Management – Business Development. These kind of statements immediately focus the reader of the client’s resume on what direction they are headed. This makes it easy for the reader to understand quickly what the client is targeting.

“Short, up front and clear – it helps prepare the reader for what comes next – the sales process of the actual resume in educating and persuading the reader to see what is essential about the client, what they can contribute,” he said. “The easier it is for the reader to apprehend what the client has packaged means the better the client is selling both the ’sizzle and the steak.’ ”

The modern resume relies more on the title and summary statements, said Donald Burns, another certified professional resume writer who works with TheLadders. Burns explain the role of the title and summary and their flexibility in a previous story on TheLadders CareerAdvice, about an IT security resume he helped to rewrite.

“Apply a focused title and summary at the top of your resume that encompasses your entire experience and how it relates to the next step. That lets the experience and descriptions support the argument on their own.

“The title and the summary is where you make that transition,” Burns said. “The title and the summary are where you explain that the sum is greater than the parts. The job descriptions support it, but it’s where 2 + 2 = 5. ”

(Resume Objective Sample by JWynia, CC3.0)

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Discussion

2 comments for “The Disappearing Resume Objective Statement”

  1. Thanks to my friend Cas Purdy from Websense for suggesting I write this piece.

    Posted by John Hazard | March 25, 2009, 7:06 pm
  2. I stumbled across this article as I was preparing to update my resume – specifically the objective statement of my resume. As I was pondering the purpose of this section of my resume, I couldn’t help but feel that it seemed a bit redundant and took up valuable space.

    Reading your article has just solidified my opinion. When I get a chance to re-organize my resume layout, I will definitely be removing this section.

    Thanks for writing this piece.

    Posted by Abe Voelker | April 9, 2010, 2:16 pm

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