The Crucial First Step in Resume Writing - Establishing Your Focus
OBJECTIVE: A professional position with opportunities for advancement that will
allow me to use the full range of my qualifications."
Wow! Could you imagine an objective that could be any less specific? But, as a
professional resume writer, I can tell you that such a nebulous, non-specific
resume objective is more common than it is not. This is one of the most frequent
mistakes that I see people make on their resume.
Let me ask you: If you don't know what you want and where you are going, what
makes you think a busy employer will take the time to figure it out for you?
Very frankly, they won't and they shouldn't!
While I hear it every day, I still cringe when I pick up the phone and
prospective clients tell me that they "just want to find a job - any job."
Using this hit-or-miss, anything-will-do strategy, even if by some stroke of
luck you land a position, the job you land would very likely be one that you
would be miserable in! You may have the ability to do the job, but it wouldn't
be in line with your interests, your values, and your passions.
When individuals come to me and are not able to express a focus, I tell them
very frankly that until they are able to articulate a clear career target,
hiring a professional resume writer will be a waste of their time and money.
If I am unable to assist them in narrowing down a focus, I will refer them to
a career counselor and suggest that they spend some time defining a focus and
setting career goals before we work together on the resume. And yet, so many
people TRY to write a resume without a clear focus. Are YOU guilty of this?
Do you have a resume? If so, what I would like to request is that you pull it
out and take a look at it with a fresh eye - try to look at it objectively as
someone receiving it for the first time might look at it. Is your career focus
immediately clear? Within seconds - because that is REALLY all you have - will
the recipient come away with an understanding of your job target - of the level
and type of position you are seeking - and of exactly where you would fit in
their organization and add value?
Be honest with yourself? This is really important! If you have trouble being
objective, it may help to ask a friend or acquaintance for their impressions
after a ten second scan.
Assuming that you do need to refine the focus of your resume - as most people do
- you may be wondering just how to do that.
Is an objective statement the best way to focus your resume? In the past you
were probably taught that objective statements were an essential part of the
resume. Happily, this is no longer true.
Today, profile or summary sections are used to set the tone and focus for most
resumes. Why? Well, think about it: objectives tell the reader what you WANT
from them. Profiles or summary sections tell the reader what you OFFER them.
This is a subtle but really important difference.