Resume tip: Objectives statement must actually say something

As 2013 kicks off, many professionals are already thinking about where they hope to be by year's end. If you're dreaming of a new job, a current resume is step one. As you update it, be aware that many hiring managers view objectives statements as superfluous. For instance, what does the following actual example really say about the job prospect?

"OBJECTIVE: To obtain a position in which I can leverage my skills."

Pretty vague.

Instead, lead with a professional summary that provides a condensed overview of your career or a brief description of your top skills and attributes. This section can take the form of a succinct paragraph or a series of bullet points. A strong example:

"PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: A decade of executive support experience in the financial industry. Organized, detailed and diligent. Proven ability to successfully handle multiple requests and personality types in fast-paced, high-pressure environments."

Hired!

These job hopefuls wrote statements that make it difficult to discern what job (or even field) they're interested in:

"OBJECTIVE: Something that will pull me out of my intellectual-stimulation rut."

Have you tried Sudoku?

"OBJECTIVE: To find an employer out there who is looking to hire a non-idiot. I am a non-idiot."

Is that how you introduce yourself at parties?

"OBJECTIVE: I want a regular eight-hour job until I find a goal for what my life should be."

We suggest making a decision soon.

"OBJECTIVE: To begin applying for jobs."

You're off to a good start.

"OBJECTIVE: Seeking an office position in an office."

Where else would it be?

Lastly, unless you want your application to be discarded immediately, avoid this approach:

"OBJECTIVE: To be a great employee. On the other hand, I might not pass a drug test."

That will definitely be a problem.

(Max Messmer is CEO of Robert Half International, a specialized staffing firm. Send examples to Resumania, c/o Robert Half International, 2884 Sand Hill Road, Suite 200, Menlo Park, Calif. 94025. Or, visit www.resumania.com.)

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