Resume Crafting 1: Ditch the Objective Statement

Writing the perfect resume is a tricky, if not obsessive, process. There are countless articles, tips, and examples online at Yahoo! and Lifehacker for your consumption, so this will not be a “seven tips to improve your resume” type of post. Instead, the focus will be on what I have and have not seen from engineering resumes during recent hiring tasks.

In this post, l will discuss why the “objective” section, found in nearly every resume template, is a waste of space, and what should replace it to add actual value to your resume.

In theory, the purpose of the objective section seems like value-added content because it conveys your intentions to the hiring manager. But guess what? We already know your intentions. You want to land this job and work for me at my fabulous company.

Even if you add a generic career goal such as “working for a company which i can help grow by adding to its success” is meaningless. We’ve read it, or similar phrasing, before on nearly every other resume. Why continue the trend when a resume is supposed to make you stand out?

As an engineer reviewing your resume, what I don’t know is why you’re qualified to work with me and my fabulous company. Therefore, replace the “objective” portion a “qualification summary”.

Tell me why you’re a good fit with my team. Show me the knowledge, experience, and traits you possess that will add value to my team. Tell me why you’re the most qualified candidate of the dozens I’m reviewing. That information is far more valuable than an objective.

Your qualification summary should be written in simple verbiage. In other words, keep it to a few succinct sentences or bullets, and go easy on the grandiose adjectives and adverbs.

Also, don’t include certifications or papers you’ve authored or other name drops. The body of the resume will already include those details. Think of it this way, the qualification summary is the abstract of your resume. It summarizes and highlights, while the body supports with the details.

Every aspect of a resume is limited including the physical space on the page and the time available to it. Replacing the objective with a qualification summary makes best use of both.

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