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Resume Writing: Transform Your Objective Statement

One area that most resumes could use some work on is the traditional objective statement at the top of the first page.

The most common problems are:

  • The objective isn’t specific and targeted enough to be appealing.

  • The objective is too soft and generic. Stating that you want a “challenging and rewarding job that will utilize your skills” will do nothing for your candidacy.

  • The objective is written as a statement of what you want vs. what you offer. Generally, employers aren’t as interested in what you want from them. A benefits statement, i.e. what you can do for them, is much more appealing and powerful.

This is a common place for people to get stuck. And no wonder. Who wants to write, or read for that matter, this kind of paragraph? Here is my advice.

Write a Specific Objective

If you have a very specific objective, one that can be worded in a way that makes it of benefit to the hiring organization, go ahead and write it. Here is an example:

“Apply the management-level supply chain and logistics skills gained during the last 5 years in a national retail organization to a Director-level role in a consumer products or 3rd party logistics organization.”

This is where the multiple resume versions come in. If you have two or more very specific targets, you can change the top section.

Drop the objective and Turn it Into an Executive Summary

When your objective isn’t that specific, turn the top section into an executive summary section. Even if you do have a specific objective, consider devoting the rest of that paragraph to a powerful statement of what you offer potential employers.

How do you do that? Make it an executive summary of you, your background, and your candidacy. Turn it into a paragraph about what you offer. A written elevator pitch if you will. Ideally, it should attempt to synthesize a few key points about:

  • Industry experience

  • Role experience

  • Your key strengths

  • Where you are going

Let’s go back to the Supply Chain example, with something like this:

“Accomplished supply chain and logistics leader with 9 years experience delivering improved efficiencies, cost savings and decreased lead-times to regional and national retail organizations. Strong problem solving, negotiation and inter-departmental communication abilities coupled with a passion for serving internal and external customers. Track record of leading high performance teams, developing talent, and building strong relationships.”

We could take it even further and add one more sentence…

“Ready to take the next career step as lead of a national supply chain and logistics department.”

You get the idea. I think it is quite clear what this individual is communicating about what they offer and what they are looking for. It also sets up the rest of the resume nicely. The employer or recruiter is clearer on what your positioning is.

When working with clients, this is the last section I write, as it really is a synthesis of you as a “product” in the job market. Give it a try and I think you will find that it adds important focus to your resume, which after all, is a marketing document.

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