Dear WOUNDED: A friend says that a resume should contain an objectives statement, stating what your goal is for a new job. Is that true? And what goes into a good objective statement?
ANSWER: If you are a travel junkie like me, you've probably seen the "Have you seen Nepal?" Royal Nepal Airlines posters. They're full of photos of amazing mountain temples clinging to steep slopes. In short, just the kind of remarkable destination that you're dying to visit. There is only one problem with the campaign: The photos used by Royal Nepal Airlines are actually of Machu Picchu in Peru. The airline offered an apology and fired the manager responsible.
Unfortunately most of us do the same thing with the objective statement on our resumes as Royal Nepal Airlines did with those ads — we steal it. Instead of coming up with a description of specifically what we want, we take it from a resume book or a friend's resume. I've included below three dos and one don't for coming up with a personalized objective statement that will get you the right job for your specific interests. For more, check out "The Complete Idiots Guide to the Perfect Resume" by Susan Ireland (Alpha, 2006).
DO Put it in your own words. Recently someone sent me a resume that contained the following: "To provide a valuable service to my employer by applying my strong diverse business knowledge, recent education, and team professional work ethics." Have you ever heard anyone talk like that? "Team professional work ethics," it almost sounds like a parody. Only include an objectives statement that you would actually say in an interview.
DO Keep it concise. Short isn't important — it's essential. I saw a study that said that the people reading resumes spend, on average, 30 seconds with a resume. The objective statement should be one place where you make them want to read more.
DO Make it memorable. Chances are that the person you want to impress already has a huge stack of resumes on his or her desk. The objective statement is a great place where you can distinguish yourself from the crowd. "I'm looking for a company where I can make their computer network fire on all cylinders." Make it interesting, memorable and show that you really know the job inside and out.
DON'T Have only one objective statement. Most of us come up with one statement that we use for all jobs that we apply for. At the same time, most of us apply for a range of different jobs. Do you see the problem here?
Take the time to tailor each objective statement to each job. You can't even use the fact that you don't have your own computer as an excuse for sending out generic resumes, because you can always use a friend's or a library computer to customize your resume for each job that you apply for.
Use these tips and your career will land in the right place, not someone else's destination.
Thought for the Week
"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." — Napoleon Bonaparte
List of the Week
'Tis the season to look for work … Seasonal jobs:
- 16 percent will look for a job this holiday season — which translates into 35 million adults
- Most likely to look for a seasonal job: those with an income under $25K
- 24 percent of those between the age of 18 and 34
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, speaker and internationally syndicated columnist. He'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, especially if you have better ideas than he does. His books include "The Boss's Survival Guide" and "Gray Matters: The Work place Survival Guide." Send your questions or comments to him via: email@example.com.
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