In the recent months, I’ve seen a marked increase–a return, if you will–to the once-standard resume starter: Use of an objective statement. My opinion–echoed by my top career-management peers as well as hiring authorities/recruiters–is that this is not a good trend. Yes, of course, as you conduct a job search, it should be all about pursuing opportunities where you can make a difference, bring about desired/necessary change, add value, grow! But it’s essential to pick-and-choose those salient points that have value to the hiring manager–and reserve for your own use in job search and ultimate decision making the characteristics of the right job.
Here’s why: Most objective statements focus entirely on the candidate and his/her desires, goals, needs. Little if any emphasis is placed on what that candidate will do in their new position. In other words, it’s too self-absorbed an approach. We’ve all read the tired and overused "seek a challenging opportunity affording growth and advancement in which I can grow and thrive …" That introduces another problem: Use of the word "I" on the resume. That’s one of the few absolutes in resume-writing–it’s fine to use "I" liberally in a cover letter, but never in the resume.
So what to do in lieu of an objective statement? Communicate value through a qualifications profile section/summary that presents distinctive characteristics, unique strengths and attributes–effectively, your value proposition. Back it up with a few pristine examples that demonstrate what you can do. Support these claims with CAR story vignettes (concise stories illustrating challenge-action-result *and* resulting impact) throughout the resume. This is the best way to reflect your signature strengths and shine a positive light on your candidacy.
– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage