Job Search Checklist #10: The Objective Statement

Oct 1 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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Number 10 on your job search checklist – The Objective Statement.

Job seekers have been using objective statements for decades as a way to tell hiring managers that their goals are consistent with the job applied for. Objective statements provide an answer to the question, “Why are you applying for this job?”

Objective statements provided a good answer for this question when there were candidate shortages. When there were shortages of candidates, employers often gave interview preference to candidates most likely to take the job, while giving lower priority to candidates whose goals might be a better fit for someone else (since that candidate would be less likely to accept an offer).

Because there were candidate shortages, employers focused on the candidates most likely to accept.

But that ended in early 2007 …

In today’s job market of job shortages, employers are less concerned about which candidates are most likely to accept. Today’s employers have an average 1,000 applicants competing for each advertised position, in a job market of job shortages. The supply and demand of jobs today allow employers to be less concerned about what you want.

What you want – that’s the entire point of an objective statement. And if you use an objective statement, you place it as the first thing on your resume, forming the reader’s first impression.

The first section of your resume gets your reader’s attention. Your reader makes a decision in the first 6 seconds if you’re qualified for the job and your reader doesn’t see much in these first 6 seconds, per TheLadders’ recent resume heat mapping study. Your reader makes a decision whether you’ll get an interview or deleted in an average 15 seconds.

These decisions are based on your first impression, on your personal brand.

But when you use an objective statement, it’s all about what you want. That’s how you brand yourself … about what you want. It’s all about you.

Put yourself in the place of a prospective hiring manager. As a hiring manager, you’d find that an average 1,000 people applied for the job you advertised (500 if you’re in a small firm). Since there are job shortages and since it takes candidates 30-40 weeks (and 17 interviews) on average to land a new job, as a hiring manager you can afford to be picky. It’s not difficult to find many candidates who meet the minimum qualifications of most jobs today.

As a hiring manager, with your pick of candidates who meet minimum criteria and are having a difficult time finding a new job, which resume will impress you?

… The resume that gives a first impression by describing what the candidate wants?

… Or the resume that gives a first impression by describing what you want?

But let’s be realistic … Hiring managers still want to make sure that offering you a new job at their company is a good fit for your goals. It’s just not the first thing they care about. It’s one of the last things considered when deciding if you’ll be offered a job based on what you’ve discussed during interviews rather than what’s on your resume.

That’s why objective statements don’t work in today’s job market.

Instead, why not brand yourself as the candidate that has already solved the key problems that the hiring manager faces?

Isn’t that what a hiring manager really wants?

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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