Objectify Me

Some people think that including a career objective at the beginning of a resume is a good idea. It’s not.

Here’s an example: Seeking a challenging management opportunity in an innovative and progressive organisation that fully utilises my advanced communication and superior analytical skills to influence organisational growth, bottom line results and cultural change.

Here’s a more flaccid example: Seeking a marketing role that uses my communication skills and enables me to make a positive contribution.

Is there anyone out there that doesn’t want to help their employer grow and become more profitable? Hands up anyone who wants to make a negative contribution.

Can you imagine employers just falling over each other to hire these people? No? Good.

Not only do these objectives not say anything of substance, but who cares? Your career objective is yours. If you are applying for a role, the employer will assume that it matches in what you want to do in your working life. Otherwise, why would you apply?

Not only does no-one other than you care, how do you prove it? You can say almost anything you want in an objective, but there is no way you can verify it. Therefore, the energy and considerable time and anguish invested in producing such twaddle is wasted and could have been spent trying to convince employers of your value to them.

Not only can’t you prove it, while this might sound a bit extreme, do you really want the reader to throw up? Reading objectives like these after a meal will, at the very least, cause a severe bout of gastric reflux. Flowery, fluffy and imprecise language has no place in a resume.

Not only will such objectives cause the reader to heave, how do they tell the reader what you can do? They don’t. The purpose of a resume is to inform the reader about your skills, expertise, qualifications, experience and achievements, not to tell them what you want out of life.

Not only are objectives meaningless, do you really want to spend the time crafting them? The author of the first of example probably spent hours thinking this up and then carefully crafting it to become a perfectly moulded mound of bovine excrement. They probably agonised over the wording and discarded 27 drafts before deciding on this version. The author of the second example spent no time on it, but decided to include it because some well intentioned friend convinced them that it’s necessary to include an objective. It isn’t.

Instead of an objective statement, provide people with a summary of the experience, expertise, skills and accomplishments that you have to offer. That is, focus the early part of your resume on their needs, not what you want. Make sure that what you say is relevant to the roles you are pursuing and to the organisations in which you want to work. This means that you will need to tailor the first part of your resume to the requirements of the role and the organisation.

As an example: Senior Manufacturing Executive specialising in managing multi-million dollar facilities for global enterprises in the food and beverage sector. Have consistently reduced costs, resolved complex product quality and consistency issues, introduced new technologies and systems to optimise output, and elevated employee productivity. Have also managed facilities across diverse cultures and met the challenges posed by new legislation in several countries throughout South East Asia, South America and Western Europe. Post graduate and undergraduate qualifications in engineering, an MBA and internationally recognised industry certifications.

Such a statement would be suitable if the employer was looking for a senior manufacturing executive who has a proven record in these areas and who has qualifications in engineering and business.