Objective Perspective

When I first graduated from college, I was applying to hundred of job ads. After awhile it became like more of an automated process and I sent out generic résumés with all my applications. Since I was only getting a handful of callbacks, I became frustrated. While I had a good education and adequate experience, I was receiving a poor response. I realized something was wrong. My career objective was too broad. It appeared that I didn’t put enough effort into my application, and that was true.

A résumé’s objective statement should be written from an employer’s point of view. Candidates are hired based on the skills they bring to the table and what they offer to a company. Do not state your working preferences; instead phrase the objective in a way that outlines exactly how you will benefit the company with your skills and experience.

To stand out, you must appear knowledgeable with a narrow and focused career plan statement. Create several résumés with specific objectives. Even consider writing a new objective statement for each job application. This will show that you are truly interested, motivated and dedicated to the future of your career while being aware of what it is that you are seeking.

Candidates that are just entering the workforce or changing careers should always rely on an objective statement to accurately inform the employer of their goals, experience etc. Other applicants who are established within their career paths can try a professional summary, which is an overview of their qualifications. Even a combination of the two will help clarify career goals in relation to the available position.

It is important to avoid certain phrases and words that will send your résumé right into the “reject” pile.

 Do NOT use:

 * “Seeking an opportunity for advancement.”

* “To obtain a position in which I can utilize my skills.”

 * “To work for a company where I can further my career.”

 Include:

 * Skills that will benefit the company. Example: “Seeking an accounting position where over 10 years experience will benefit company’s profit margin.”

 * Incorporate the language and some key words included in the original job ad.

 * Specify the job title in which you are interested.

A little extra effort and time will go a long way. Learn a lesson from me, don’t be lazy.

Should I try a video resume?

There’s been a fair amount of rhetoric in the past few years about the video resume. Currently, they aren’t held in too high of esteem by employers or recruiters, but the You Tube generation is chomping at the bit to use them. Based on a recent study of literacy amongst college graduates finds less than a quarter rate as proficient with the English language, I can understand why.

At my age, I’m sort of stuck between the two schools of thought. I’m more apt to watch a movie after work than curl up with a good book, but when I find a book I like I’ll do nothing else until I finish it. But I find that I prefer reading on the Internet rather than watching videos.

I was wasting time at work the other day on Digg.com, which I’m sure many of us are wont to do. An interesting headline caught my eye, which I clicked on — only to be terribly disappointed that it was a video rather than an article. In fact, I plugged the headline into Google to find a text article so I could read about it rather than watch it.

Reading is a unique experience because the audience gets to control the pace of the information being absorbed. A reader can skip ahead to catch only the important parts of the story if he or she desires. Which is precisely why paper resumes are still preferred. Video resumes require rapt attention, which may be what the applicant wants; but it’s for that very reason staffers are more likely to skip it altogether rather than be forced to spend more than double the time reviewing the one resume over the others.

What is the Object of the Objective?

The objective statement is the line or two of pompous fluff that goes at the top of your resume. Your objective is obviously to get the job you are applying for so why do you need to create some flowery description? The answer is: you don’t. An objective is wasting time and space on your precious one page resume.

According to you, you are a smart, hard working individual with great team work and communication skills. That doesn’t mean an employer has to believe you. You can write anything you want about yourself and your work skills in your objective but employers aren’t buying it anymore.

The only time you should use an objective statement is if you are unsure of where to send your resume or if you are sending your resume to a company and don’t know the specific job openings. In that case you can put something vague like “To obtain a television production position at MTV”. Short and sweet. Before taking the time to write a paragraph long objective think if it is necessary or just a waste of space.

Why Lying On Your Resume Will Come Back To Haunt You

I know that every single one of us has had a little white lie on our resume before. Even if you glorified a job position or turned some words around in your favor, you are ultimately lying. And you know what happens to liars’ right? They always get caught.

Here are reasons why faking information on your resume is a big no-no:

  1. It seems suspicious. Most HR professionals or hiring managers can sense when something looks skeptical on a resume. They can tell if something seems fabricated or exaggerated compared to your other job experience. It is easy to spot false information or embellishments which do not make sense in context with your work history on your resume.
  2. They will find out in your interview. You can write as many lies as you want on your resume but when it is time for the interview you better be able to talk the talk. Interviewers will ask you about your skills, qualifications, and past job experience. If your answers don’t seem to match what is on the paper then you will not get the job. It’s that simple.
  3. Lies will be discovered during background checks and reference checks. If you lied and the hiring manager calls a previous employer then you are done for. Your previous employers will tell it exactly how it is. If you didn’t put in much effort or were rude to co-workers they will be sure to say something to the hiring manager. If you tried to downplay a criminal history or traffic violation background checks will bring to light exactly what happened.
  4. They will find out when you are hired. If you have been lucky enough to sail on through the interview process and reference checks with your lies then the truth will surely appear when you start working. It might take a few weeks or months for them to find you out, but if your performance does not match up to what you claimed you were capable of then it might be grounds for dismissal.

There really is no reason to lie or mislead employers on your resume. You need to be able to not only talk the talk but walk the walk with every piece of information that you present on your resume. Fix those slightly fabricated bits of information before they hurt you in the long run.

Key Words

That degree from Harvard Law looks pretty impressive written down on your resume. Your brainiac skills are impressive but I’ve got news for you Poindexter, companies are looking for more than just smarts nowadays. Employers want to know that you have soft skills and that your team work and optimism are just as great as your brain power. It’s a tricky situation: you aren’t hired yet so how do you impress a hiring manager who can’t see if you really work well in a team? The answer is all in your resume.

Your resume should include a few key words that trigger the attention of the employer. It is easy for your resume to list education and job experience but listing soft skills can come across as a more powerful attention grabber. The first word all employers want to see is ‘teamwork’. More than ever projects are being tackled by teams in the workplace because many employers believe that collaboration increases the quality of work and the level of productivity. By saying that you are a team player you are telling the employer that you are a great listener and willing to help your co-workers.

Next, integrate the word ‘flexible’ into your resume. Employers eat this up. If you are willing to stay late for deadlines or put in the extra hours and make work your priority then you will climb the ranks at work in no time. Being able to do any task at any moment shows your commitment to your company. Another key word to utilize is ‘detail-oriented’. This tells employers that you are organized, meticulous about your work, and that you can work independently without having a boss supervise your every move.

Finally you need to use the word ‘self-motivated’ somewhere on your resume. Employers value people who are self-starters and who bring new and creative ideas to the table. Knowing that you can walk into the office every morning and start on a task without being assigned something is a great asset. A self-motivated person will work hard and go the extra mile if anyone needs help.

Next time you are updating your resume make sure you use key words that highlight your soft skills. If an employer is between two qualified candidates both possessing bachelors’ degrees how does he choose? Make the choice easy for him by showing that you are an optimistic self-starter with great team skills.

What Not To Do

Um, hi, you aren’t Leo Tolstoy so please stop trying to be. Newsflash: you aren’t writing War and Peace, you are writing your resume. Unlike War and Peace, your resume is one page, not fourteen hundred pages. And while digging up Russian history is pertinent for good old Leo, no employer would ever in their wildest dreams want to read a resume with all of your history. Most employers spend a few seconds glancing at the contents of your resume. They don’t care that you are a vegetarian. They don’t care about your pet Chihuahua. You know what they do care about so why not tell you what they don’t care about.

Don’t make the mistake that your resume is a catalog for your past. Don’t hoard old jobs and irrelevant employment on that sheet of paper. The purpose is to get the employer to be so ridiculously interested in you and your talents that they couldn’t resist picking up the phone and getting you in for an interview ASAP. No one is going to be interested if you take this opportunity to turn your resume into a personal statement or self expression. You really have to spend time narrowing your focus and concentrating on what personal accomplishments will blow the employer away.

I know it takes time and effort to make a fantastic resume but it will definitely pay off. Employers can tell the effort level put into a resume immediately. Don’t slack. Don’t write War and Peace Part II. Short, simple and relevant is the way to go. Have the dedication to make your resume brilliant. It isn’t an essay for school that you can disregard after you turn it in. This is something you are going to use for the rest of your life.

Winning Cover Letters

If you haven’t heard how important cover letters are the job hunting process, let me fill you in. A good cover letter will not only set you apart from the other applicants, it will get you an interview. It will tell the hiring manager who you are, as opposed to the accompanying résumé which will tell them what you’ve done. It will also tell them that you write and communicate clearly and that you understand the job.

Most job openings require that you submit a cover letter with your résumé when applying. This is the most basic type of cover letter that you can write. You are telling the hiring manager that you are interested in the position, why you are interested and your contact information. To stand out, do some research on the company and the position. Who will you be working for? Address the cover letter to this person, even if you are sending it directly to the HR department. Explain to them why you would be great in this position and use information from your research to support this claim.

The first paragraph should make it very clear what position you are interested in, where you found out about the open position, and a reference number for the job if applicable. The second paragraph should describe why you are interested, what experience you have that would make you a perfect fit, and past similar experience that yielded good results. The third paragraph will give your contact information and the best time to reach you.

Keep in mind never to use the word “if”. You don’t want to give them the option of contacting you; you want to assume that they will contact you because you are the best person for the position. Selling yourself in a few sentences can be difficult to master, but if you present a promising and persuasive cover letter with your resume you can bet that you will get a call for an interview, even if your qualifications aren’t stellar.