Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Your Sales Kit: The Resume (Part 3 - Opening Gambit)

2009-04-13 17:44:44

Many old-school resume advice sources say “always put an objective on your resume.” I, personally, despise objectives except in a very few cases. I find them too limiting. Many recruiters, however, like them because they tell the person reading the resume exactly what you are looking for. Below are examples of real objectives taken from real resumes:

Objective: • Goal-oriented individual with strong leadership capabilities. (This isn’t an objective, it’s a statement.)

Objective To obtain a challenging and professional position, that will enable me to utilize my technical skills and communications skills in a growing and stable Internet technology environment that will enhance my career growth.

Seeking a challenging position as an administrative assistant/receptionist with an opportunity for advancement, which will allow me to further utilize my existing skills and enable to acquire new abilities.

OK, here’s the thing. As a recruiter, I have found/received your resume. I know by this fact that you are looking for a job. And generally you are either A) unemployed B) have no room for advancement C) don’t get along with your manager D) looking for more money. As a recruiter, I am going to *assume* you want a challenging job that utilizes your skills, teaches you new ones, gives you opportunities for growth and rewards you (money, recognition, etc.) So *don’t waste valuable space telling me things I already know*.

I already mentioned the fact that using trite or cliche verbiage on a resume is bad; to be honest, it can be the kiss of death depending on the position. Every single thing you put on your resume needs to be concise, targeted, relevant, and show you at your best. And the first few lines/paragraphs on your resume set the stage. I was at a panel last night with three other recruiters, and one of the questions we were asked was how long we look at any given resume. Three of us answered the same: 10-15 seconds. The other recruiter answered 30 seconds, because she takes the time to read cover letters. (Hint there…the majority of us skip cover letters; more on cover letters later).

As a recruiter, when I open any sort of resume, I am looking at the top 1/3 of the first page to decide if I want to read more. That equates to approximately 20-30 lines of most size 12 fonts. Your contact info takes up 3-5 of those lines, and that leaves you with not very much space to make an impression. So make the most of it.

If you choose to use an objective, it should be no more than one sentence and very precise. It should tell me what sort of opportunity you are looking for; ideally, for each job you apply for, you will have a different objective mentioning the company and exact position or department you are interested in. At the very least tell me *specifically* what you are looking for.

Objective: Seeking a software engineering position in the Embedded Software division at Microsoft.

Objective: Architect with over fifteen years of commercial experience seeking opportunity at Waxer and Sons.

Objective: Sales Executive with consumer goods and packaging experience seeking position with manufacturing operation.

I mentioned that I find objectives too limiting. Let’s just say that I look at your resume and see that you are looking for an administrative or receptionist opportunity. I may stop right there because I don’t have any openings of that sort. But for some reason your resume came up in a keyword search for a customer support role I have. Your objective is going to probably tell me you aren’t interested in anything I have, and there are 33 other resumes for me to consider. See my point?

I did mention there *are* a few times to use an objective. One of them is to tie your past experience to a position you are looking at outside of your most recent industry. This is often the case when someone gets a degree in a new field.

Objective: recent graduate with a degree in Human Resources seeking an opportunity to leverage my five years as a physician’s assistant in the field of benefits administration.

Perhaps your spouse has been transferred from Chattanooga to Dallas, and his/her company is paying your relocation. You need to find a job in your new city. This goes back to discussing your contact information and letting a recruiter know you are “local”. Very few companies are offering relocation these days, and many aren’t even recruiting outside their own territories. Budget considerations combined with the decline in the housing market are the main reasons for this.

Objective: recently relocated hospitality manager seeking new opportunities in the Dallas area.

To me, an objective is best used as a bridge from one thing to another.

In the last decade, two other types of openings have become much more prevalent than an objective. A profile statement, generally a short paragraph outlining your skills, or a summary section, preferably with bullet points, pulling out *tangible* highlights from your career demonstrating your expertise in your field.

Profile statement:

HR Generalist with expertise in HR policies, project management, strategic initiatives, and systems solutions.

Expertise includes employee relations, designing and implementing global training programs, evaluating and managing vendor contracts (IE:recruiting, benefits, outsourced payroll.)

Summary of Qualifications:

* -Product Manager responsible for launching three new product offerings in two years resulting in $2.5 million increased revenue during this period
* -Delivered an in-depth competitor analysis resulting in a savings of 35% in advertising costs
* -Create product roadmap for two new product lines which decreased RTM time from 22 months to 13 months

Either choice should be heavily supported by your employment history with detailed experiences and accomplishments. Remember, your resume is how you tell an employer why *you* are the best person for *their* opportunity.

So what if you feel you don’t have enough experiences or accomplishments to warrant any of the above? The your best bet is just to launch straight into your employment history. Recruiters want to get to the meat of your experience sooner rather than later.

So use that valuable real estate at the top of your resume. Tell me right off the bat why I should consider *you* over the other 3466 people that have applied for the job.

Your Sales Kit: The Resume (Part 4 – The Functional Resume)
Your Job Hunting Sales Kit: the Resume (Part 2 - What Did You Do?)

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