Quick resume tip: Hone your Job Objective statement

Some people don't use an Objective statement in a resume at all. But for those who do, it can be a powerful tool. Here are some tips for doing it correctly.

Previously in this blog, TechRepublic members debated the advantages of even including an Objective statement in their resumes.

Many people swore by their use and many people ridiculed the Objective statement as a quaint, outmoded resume element. The fact is, everyone is correct, because what is included in a resume is entirely dependent on your personal needs and what information you want to convey.

It is unlikely that a hiring manager will stop dead in his tracks if you haven't included an Objective statement. But a poorly worded one can send a message that may not be the best one to put out there. However, Susan Ireland, in her book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Resume, cautions that Objective statements make it easier for a potential employer to understand the message that you're trying to convey in the rest of your resume.

Ireland says, "A resume without an Objective statement effectively says, 'This is what I've done. Could you figure out what I should do next?' A job objective gives your resume focus and strength, and makes a powerful first move toward the title and salary negotiations."

If you're going to use a job objective, take time to make it a good one. Here are some tips:

Don't make it about what you want

It's very tempting to write something like:

A challenging IT position in a company that supports creativity and growth opportunity in the workplace.

Sounds okay, right? Well, not exactly. The parts in bold are all about you and your needs-a sure way to alienate employers who have a stack of more humble candidates to choose from. Here and elsewhere, adopt this mindset: "How can I help you, Mr./Ms. Employer?" (And don't get all puffed up and post angry comments about the job search being a two-way street. I know that, but the resume is not the time and place to make your "demands." You can do that after you've charmed everyone in an interview.)

Tailor your objective to the position you're applying for

If you're applying for a project management position in a hospital, put that as your objective:

A Project Management position within a health-care setting

Just be sure to change it for the next job you are applying for if the job title is different. This will also help an HR person know exactly where to direct your resume.

Resist the trite

Don't use phrases like "opportunity to grow" or "room for advancement." Those are not only a given but by using them you're essentially burying your real objective in a bunch of fluff.

Get the PDF version of this tip here.

By Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.