I might go to my death wondering what cosmic force compels people to write bad resume objectives. Maybe I’m an oddity, but I really do get excited about a well-written, clear and concise resume, sans all the blah, blah, blah that we’ve come to accept as a perfectly fine way to present our professional selves.
That said, those bulleted Objectives at the top of most resumes make me cringe. They’re the equivalent of American Cheese: They’re there, but not very tasty. At the beginning of a resume, my desire is to bite into the real meat of a professional profile but most Resume Objectives leave me wondering, “Wait, what?”
The biggest problem is that Resume Objectives are actually highly subjective. In some cases, they actually force me to defend the resume to the hiring manager. Managers will ask me, “Is this person really going to be interested in this job? Their objective states clearly they’re interested in something else.” I know the person is interested and can do the job, but those objectives — they just get in the way.
Would you ever walk into an Apple Store and ask them to sell you a Dell? Of course you wouldn’t. But you could end up doing essentially that if you write your resume with too specific a “job order” in mind. In other words, if you’ve settled on a Mac, go to the Apple Store. If all you know is you want a new laptop, consider Best Buy.
As a recruiter, and having read literally tens of thousands of resumes, I can attest that being too specific in your objectives can limit how you’re viewed and which managers end up with your name on their short list. I receive resumes all the time with objectives like, “Seeking a Technical Lead role for a global delivery team.” What if I’ve already filled that Technical Lead role? Does this mean you don’t want to talk about the Technical Architect job I have available? What about the Technical Program Director position on the geographically dispersed team here in the United States? You’re not interested in that? Of course you are — you just didn’t realize that your resume objectives were going to be filtered differently than you intended. And therein lies the problem: You just never know where your resume might end up.
Next time you revamp your resume, take a closer look at your objectives. What positions have you limited yourself to? Are you really sure you want to cast your order for a job when you don’t know what job I might be selling? From a recruiter’s and manager’s perspective, listed objectives are often wasted space, and you might be putting yourself at risk of shopping the wrong jargon and title. It is perfectly fine to jump right into the meat of your resume with a summary of your skills and professional history. I know you’ll be relieved not to have to craft all the cheesy, fluffy, blah blah blah. And recruiters and managers will be delighted to look at your skills with objectivity in mind.
Jennifer Love Faulkner is a seasoned Employment Specialist with 17 years of experience in recruitment, workforce development and training. As a career coach and speaker, her specialties are candidate relationships and no-nonsense communication. In addition to being a full-time role as a Corporate Recruiter at CGI, Jennifer and husband Brandon support their son’s comic book habit, keep his power cords straight and often hatch Dragons with him in DragonVale. Her postings on Dice represent her own opinions and do not necessarily represent CGI’s strategies, views or opinions.