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August 25, 2009


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I would argue that Objective Statements are not just worthless, but harmful. Objective statements tend to be somewhat narrow and specifically tailor to the job you are applying for. This can lead to the interviewer pigeon holing you before you even talk to him or her.

If you state that your objective is to do XX, then it can look like that is all you want to do. This can make you look less ambitious than you really are.

I also tend to think that the Objective section is pretty useless, while I think that a Summary/Profile section has some value.

Funny that almost everybody writing about resumes has the same example when it comes to real facts, that is "grown sales by x%" or something to that effect.

Of course sales is a key metric that all companies have; too bad if your company does not have a metric in the area where your influence can be directly measured (e.g. you are one out of five software developers in a team: things tend to be a little bit trickier to measure there).

These things are true for my field also (biology). Especially the part about skipping the spin and presenting just the factsn clearly.

I most want to know where you worked last and what you accomplished there, also where you worked before that, and before that, etc.

Also, don't try to hide what you don't want me to know. If you don't list a recent major employer as a reference it's a red flag-- and you can be sure I'll track down who it is and call them. If you do list them, I'll probably not bother.

I was laid off last August and spent some time at a placement firm. Their take was that the local headhunters liked the objective statement because it helped them scan resumes.

Of course, that meant it had to be well-written and slight modified for each job posting applied for. Or removed for the job posting, but used for the head hunter.

My take is that it is a tool that must be used appropriately.

Objective statements are great—when you customize them to the role and the position you're hiring for. As the hiring manager in my office, I see poorly targeted objective statements all the time. If your objective is a "full time career in the health care industry," why are you applying for my part time marketing job?

I agree, an objective is pointless and a waste of space. Maybe as an entry level position I could see it, otherwise there is not reason for it at all. A summary could be more of a cover letter which would go before the actual resume. You need all the space to list your work experience and projects you were involved with.

I used to include a 2-3 line qualifications summary, but ditched it. You can't really include any detail, so unless it includes info that you can't glean from the rest of the resume, its wasted space.

I think the Objective is moot today. No need to list it.

The bigger question to me is this: how to get your resume noticed, and how to keep it from ending up on the "resume pile of death" with the other 500 resumes the company has just received.

I think you can make a big impact by how you deliver or package your resume. Get creative. Send it via Priority Mail or FedEx. Or send it in a package that is unique to the industry or company.

Oversized mail, and "lumpy" mail (an envelope with something inside it besides paper), creates intrigue and gets opened first.

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