Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Professional Touch - Objectives

by Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge.com Managing Editor, CPRW

In today’s competitive job market, Objectives have mostly been replaced by the far more effective Tag Line, which is your professional title or goal, and Skill Set, which lists your qualifications to fill the job. Each should provide concise and specific data to the hiring manager in terms that emphasize what you can do for the targeted company.

However, there are times when an Objective should be included in a Summary of Qualifications, or even be showcased in the Tag Line.

When to Include Objective Statements Within a Summary of Qualifications

1. You are transitioning from one career to another and want to make clear to a hiring manager that you are currently seeking a position in the new field. That statement is your objective.

2. You are using the resume to seek admission into a graduate program (i.e. MBA).

3. You have specific needs that you want to address. This would include that you would prefer a telecommuting position or part-time versus full-time employment.

When to Showcase Your Objective in a Tag Line

1. If you are entering a new career field and have an academic, rather than a professional background in that industry. In that case, use of the word “Candidate” before the Professional Title in the Tag Line quickly tells a hiring manager your Objective.

A word about Tag Lines:

By using a professional title at the opening of your resume, you will be stating who you are and what you want in terms of your career.

Tag lines can be:

Specific: Telecommunications CEO
Generic: Accounting Professional
Showcase an Objective: Candidate: MBA Program; Candidate: First Grade Teacher

A word about your Skill Set:

This would include specific qualifications that you have and which are required in the job posting.

An example for an Accountant might include:

Accounts Payable/Receivable ~ Audits ~ General Ledger ~ Reconciliations

An example for a Teacher might include:

Grades K-5 ~ CBEST & MSAT Certified ~ Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

By including your Skill Set directly beneath your Tag Line at the beginning of your resume, you’ll be providing the hiring manager with invaluable data.

Objective Statements to Avoid

- Ones that demand a certain salary.

- Ones that address your needs – i.e. “Seeking an interesting position in the Accounting field with great growth potential.”

- Vague statements that fail to target specific industries or jobs – i.e. “A full-time position with benefits.”


Question: If I’m applying for a specific position, shouldn’t the hiring manager know that the job opening is my objective? Why do I have to provide anything other than my educational and professional history?

Answer: In the past decade, resumes have evolved from a simple listing of candidate’s expectations and qualifications to savvy marketing pieces that showcase what you can do for the targeted company. If a hiring manager has to guess at what you can do for them or where you might fit into their organization, you won’t be called in for an interview. An additional consideration is that many large companies have numerous openings. If you want to be considered for the one that best fits your background, it’s wise to include who you are (Tag Line) and what you can do (Skill Set), which is far stronger than an ordinary Objective.

Question: Isn’t it redundant to write an Objective that addresses what I can do for a company, when all of that information is already in my Professional Experience?

Answer: Not at all when you consider that a hiring manager might not get that far. Remember, you have less than 10 seconds to capture a hiring manager’s interest. You do this by prioritizing data, and by addressing the needs of the position as they relate to your unique qualifications. A modern resume can be likened to a news story – the hiring manager wants to know who, what, where, when, and why at the outset. Once you secure the reader’s interest, then you provide details in the Career Accomplishments, Professional Experience, and Education sections of the document.

Question: Since I don’t have any experience, as yet, in my chosen career won’t using the word “Candidate” really make this stand out and hurt my chances?

Answer: Although “Candidate” may not be a perfect word when it comes to a job search, it’s far stronger than the use of the term “entry-level” even though it indicates the same thing. One trick to minimize any entry-level thinking on the hiring manager’s part is to include a strong skill set that showcases those skills you do have that will meet the qualifications for the job.

Question: I want to apply for numerous positions that are not at all similar. Do I have to tailor the opening of each resume for these jobs?

Answer: No one ever said getting the job you want would be easy, so the answer is an unequivocal yes. Within each job posting are keywords that should be peppered throughout the opening of your resume. Keywords for an accountant might be AP/AR, audits, reconciliations, etc. By employing these in your Skill Set and Summary of Qualifications paragraph and by using a Tag Line that is similar or identical to the job that’s being posted, you’re showing the hiring manager that you are the ideal candidate for this position.

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