Let’s talk resumes.
Specifically, let’s talk the beginning of resumes. You know, the very first part an employer is going to see. When they first glance over your resume, do you want them to see just that you want a job, or do you want them to see why you’re awesome and why they should hire you?
Frankly, I hate objectives. Everyone knows you want a job, so taking the time to state that your objective is “to find a job doing X, Y, and Z” isn’t really necessary. I’m also not the biggest fan of taking it a step further and saying you seek a job where you can use your skills and help the company. Um, duh? Right?
For years, all of my work experience was administrative so there was nothing quantifiable (this is really an entirely separate issue, but bear with me). I didn’t feel like I had any real skills to speak of because I didn’t do much – I just did as I was told and handled administrative things no one else wanted to. And that was reflected in my objective, which was utterly useless.
Then I got deeper into recruiting and started not only reading resumes all day, but reading recruiting and HR blogs and working on my own resume. And I discovered the joy of a summary of qualifications. Anyone looking at your resume knows you want a job; if you take the time to write out a summary of why they should hire you, it’s going to catch their eye a lot quicker.
Take the strongest skills you have and things you’ve spent the most time with and stick them into a summary. Really think about why you’d be a fit for the job you want and why that company would do well to hire you, and put it all together. If you really want to get something across – for example, if you are looking to take the next step in your career or make some sort of career change – you can add that in, too. It’s also a great place to specify both soft and hard skills, including your proficiency in Excel or Power Point or your ability to multi-task.
Things like this can be hard to write, and I often find them awkward. I struggle sometimes with more formal styles of writing and trying to get something out just results in writers block. I’ve started just typing things out in my own voice, then going back and tweaking it to be more resume-appropriate.
(In writing this and looking for a sample to link to, I came across this article. It’s Irish, so I don’t know if it all applies to job seeking in the U.S., but I thought a lot of it was fitting and good advice.)