GUEST POST BY KIMBERLY SARMIENTO
Once upon a time, all resumes began with an Objective Statement. This statement was designed to tell the reader why you were putting the resume together. It was often full of information about your career goals and what you wanted to gain from working for that employer. In the end, just about every Objective Statement can be summed up as “I want you to give me a job.”
Somewhere along the way, professional resume writers and career coaches heard the collective cry of hiring managers everywhere go out as “We already know that!”
Think about that for a minute. We were wasting the very first words the hiring manager reads about you on telling them something they already knew. Worse, we were telling them all about what you wanted THEM to do for YOU. That immediately puts the hiring manager in the frame of mind of thinking about you, when what they really want is someone who can make a positive impact on their company.
So, resume writers and career coaches got smarter and replaced the Objective Statement with several strategies designed to tell the hiring manager something they don’t know. We decided to focus the first few lines of the resume on what YOU can do for YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYER. Gone are the days where we try to come up with fancy ways of saying “I want a job” and you should follow suit. Ditch the antiquated “Objective Statement” and focus on making an excellent first impression.
You have probably read all about how little time a hiring manager spends on a resume and how many resumes any hiring manager reviews for one particular job opening. It’s all true, and it’s all very daunting. One of the best ways you can distinguish yourself is to ditch the Objective Statement and adopt one of the several new strategies used by professional resume writers.
Strategy #1: Branding Statements
My favorite replacement for the Objective Statement is the combination of a title (keyword scanners love to match up the title on your resume to the job title you are applying to) and a Branding Statement. The Branding Statement is best described as a written version of your “elevator speech.”
An elevator speech is something that is recommended for all professionals. Basically, think of it like this: You are in an elevator, and the president of a company that you are dying to work for gets in with you. This company is your dream employer, and they have your dream job open. You get the chance to start up a conversion with this key contact, but you only have the length of the elevator ride to talk. Your elevator speech is what you would say in that short length of time (30 seconds at most) about yourself to make a great impression on this contact.
You can also think of it as your response to the inevitable interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”
Taking this verbal speech and translating it into a short three or four-line statement at the opening of your resume is a great way to introduce yourself to the reader and set their expectations for what follows.
Strategy #2: Professional Profiles
Other ways to open a resume include a Professional Profile (or Management Profile) that list some of your key skills, capabilities, and even achievements in general terms. If you are a new graduate or transitioning from one career path to another, using this type of introduction where you explain in more general terms the skills you offer an employer might be the right choice.
As you prepare your Branding Statement or profile summary, remember that we recommend against using personal pronouns in a resume. The psychology behind this rule is to always put the reader in the frame of mind of thinking about what you can do for them. Use of the word “I” or “my” could distract from that goal. You can use personal pronouns in your cover letter though. Therefore, make sure your opening statement is written with action verbs starting each sentence or bullet.
One last note, I highly recommend that you do include a summary or Branding Statement rather than omitting an introduction completely. Just because you should ditch your Objective Statement doesn’t mean it is more productive to go immediately into a professional overview. Both keyword scanners and readers like to know a little bit about you before they go through your resume. As I mentioned before, keyword scanners like to match your title to the job listing. Readers like to make sure the resume being submitted is for the job they are hiring. It just feels strange to start reading about someone’s job history without knowing anything else about them.
So bottom line, get rid of your Objective Statement and make sure to replace it with something more effective.
Create a job-winning Branding Statement using this Branding Statement Cheat Sheet!