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The Importance In Using An Objective On Your Resume

Dec 16, 2007
In theory, a resume should list the experience without an objective and each cover letter would specify which position is being targeted. That is a nice idea, but it is not practical.

In today's competitive, fast-paced job market, a company has very little time to figure out what a job seeker is looking to do for them. When they are flipping through the many resumes that have come in by email and fax in response to an advertised job vacancy announcement, they are looking to pick the best candidate from the pile - the one that has the experience to do the job.

In addition to the resume being neat, attractive, and typo-free, is should communicate the specific experience and qualifications in line with the requirements of the position of interest. Moreover, it should clearly state what position is being sought.

Let's pretend for a moment that the job is for a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. The following illustrates a case scenario between you and a competitor. If a competitor's resume included a title statement at the top that read:

"PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE," or a traditional objective that read:

"Top-producing pharmaceutical sales representative seeking a position in which a degree in biology and five years of accomplished experience selling branded and generic pharmaceuticals will be of value," versus your resume that read:

"Currently seeking a sales position that will utilize my experience and education," or worse, nothing at all, which resume do you think they are going to pull from the pile - your competitor's resume or your resume?

If you guessed either one of the competitor resumes, you are correct. I think the reason is obvious now that the comparison has been made.

Speaking of guessing, it is anyone's guess how many companies actually read cover letters. Some companies do not read most of the cover letter they receive in their entirely because many cover letters are poorly written. In short, they do not hold the reader's interest. When the reader is the hiring manager it can be a real problem. The same concept applies to the resume. It must be compelling and hold the reader's interest.

Even if a hiring manager did read the cover letter as a general rule, what would happen if the cover letter were to get lost on their desk? How would they know that you were seeking to work for them as a pharmaceutical sales representative when your resume indicates that you worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative two jobs ago and your most recent job was as a parts procurement manager for an automotive dealership?

Yes, your cover letter would explain how you tried another industry for whatever reason, and now want to return to selling pharmaceuticals because you realized sales is your true passion. But, with the cover letter missing and without the objective on the resume, they may assume you are interested in the purchasing position they also have open! In this case, your resume would most certainly get tossed in the trash.

When you think about it, does it really make sense to try to leave your options open? Do you really think the company is going to call you to tell you they have a pharmaceutical sales position and a purchasing agent position open and was wondering which one you are interested in? They are not.

A hiring company does not have the time or resources to make individual calls. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. If your resume was the best one from the bunch and they were desperate, they might call you. Or, if the company was a small firm, they might call you to ask you to come in for an interview. But, those are big if's.

It may be a pain in the neck, but it is to your advantage to include an objective or title statement on your resume and then modify it accordingly to match a specific position that you are targeting.

A small effort will go a long way in your job search.
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