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Resume Makeover: Ditch the Objective Statement

Wendy Toth Notarnicola -- Employers already know that your objective is to find a job. It's why you might be better served using a well-written professional summary rather than a traditional resume objective.

If your resume includes an objective statement, it needs a makeover. Employers are not interested in your personal career goals; they want to know how you can benefit their organization –- and their bottom line.

Begin with a short professional summary, which is, in effect, a very condensed professional biography. Be engaging and descriptive. Research shows that employers scan a resume for an average of 20 seconds before deciding to accept or reject it. Avoid using clichés. Words like “dependable” or “motivated” are predictable and do not reveal anything useful about your abilities. Instead of describing yourself as a “leader”, find a way to demonstrate leadership abilities. A seasoned candidate’s resume might include the following language:

“Experienced public relations manager with a history of growing brand awareness and market share through strategic press and sales strategies.”

Or, if you are a recent graduate:

“Served as an advocate for Students for Human Rights where I planned events to raise public awareness of human rights abuses worldwide. Coordinated and managed a social media campaign and campus fundraiser, which raised $10,000 and was featured in several local newspapers.”

Listing achievements at the beginning of a resume allows potential employers to immediately recognize your skills and accomplishments, and to understand how you can benefit their firm.

Experienced candidates

If you are an experienced job candidate, you likely have many accomplishments you can list. Instead of writing the obvious -- that your objective is “to obtain a job in marketing management”, write a professional summary that allows you to highlight your skills and achievements.

“I am an accomplished account executive with a diverse background in sales, marketing and management. I possess strong, persuasive skills and proven leadership abilities as a brand manager. My innovative marketing strategies stimulate sales growth, enhance market positioning, and have earned favorable media and industry acclaim throughout my 20-year career.”

This statement is powerful; it demonstrates that the applicant has a lot of experience and has been successful enough to win acclaim and notoriety. Her marketing abilities make her a valuable asset to any organization.

Entry-level candidates

If you are an entry-level job-seeker, you probably have a limited amount of work experience. Focus upon your abilities, keeping in mind that the most important skills for entry level candidates include communication, teamwork and adaptability. (You will be thrust frequently into unfamiliar, changing situations). For example:

“I am a recent marketing graduate with experience in retail and food service. I possess excellent communication and teamwork skills, superior sales, customer service and marketing skills, and the ability to meet deadlines and adapt to changing work situations. My ability to identify new marketing opportunities resulted in a 10% increase in sales revenue.”

This summary allows prospective employers to envision the candidate’s potential value to their organization.

Students and recent graduates

If you are a student or a recent graduate, you may have little or no formal work experience; however, you still have much to offer. Include any skills you have gained through volunteer work or as a member of a student organization. For example:

“Recent graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Journalism and two years of experience writing and editing content for the school newspaper. I have demonstrated my superior leadership abilities as editor-in-chief. I possess excellent communication, organization and time management skills and am capable of working under pressure to meet deadlines. I learn and adapt quickly to new programs and procedures, and have implemented various workflow-improving features into our publishing procedures.”

A summary like this would give an employer a good sense of how valuable this student’s skills and experience will be to his organization.

A resume is essentially a marketing tool; in order to sell yourself as a candidate, you must attract employers by emphasizing your unique skills. Employers already know that your objective is to find a job. A well-written professional summary will show them what you will do when you get it.

Wendy Toth Notarnicola is the owner of Blue Note Editing & Writing, which specializes in resume writing and critiquing. She holds a degree from the State University of New York in Business Management & Economics, with a concentration in marketing. For more, visit Blue Note Editing & Writing. Wendy currently works for The McHattie Law Firm, LLC where she writes content for their blog, Wheat, No Chaff®.

© 2016 Wendy Toth Notarnicola

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