The outdated section you should remove from your resume

Times are changing and your job application materials should also be changing. There are common practices that have been employed for years that people should no longer be using. This is one of them.

Do you still have an “objective” in your resume? Remove it. It’s old fashioned and is probably costing you opportunities.

For years and years, a resume objective was a standard component of the document. Right up top, the resume objective used as the introduction, and said something like “To obtain a challenging sales position with a reputable organization where I can expand my knowledge, skills, and experience and advance my career.” And there are still career “experts” out there who advise using the tactic.

But you should not use it. It’s a terrible idea. The resume objective is a waste of prime resume real estate. That space, which is probably the very first thing the employer will look at, should be used for a branding summary that sells you and your skills and highlights what you can offer the lucky company that hires you. The objective makes it all about you and what you want, and the reality is that nobody cares about what you want, they care about what they want and how you can help them achieve it. The summary makes it about what you can give, not what you want to get.

To turn your objective into a summary, match your description to the job for which you’re applying and list all of your most appealing professional skills and qualities. So, “To obtain a challenging sales position with a reputable organization where I can expand my knowledge, skills, and experience,” becomes “Sales professional with more than six years of experience as an account manager in technology solutions. Skilled at cultivating customer relationships. Excellent interpersonal skills. Committed to working with teams to achieve and exceed quotas. Awarded Salesperson of the Year Award in 2017 and 2018.”

Who would you rather hire?

If you have an objective on your resume, try reworking it into a summary statement before applying for your next job.

A couple more tips:

Highlight transferable skills. If you’re trying to jump from one industry to another, or into a different role, use the summary to note where your skills are transferable. Receiving a resume for a warehouse receiving job that lists an entire history of food service experience with no explanation is not something hiring managers relish. So, food service can become “customer service” and you become a professional with a dizzying list of impressive interpersonal and organization skills, for example.  

Don’t be generic. Make the summary as specific to you and to the job for which you’re applying as possible. Use the space to show why you are awesome and why someone would be crazy not to hire you.

Use keywords from the job description and their synonyms. Change your summary for every application and use keywords (not all of them, just some of them). Also search for their synonyms and use those. This helps get past the bots that will read your resume first at most large companies, and also demonstrates that you’re paying attention and taking the job seriously.

Always remember that the job search is about the value you can bring and not what you want to get out of it.

The most insidious job interview question

Ten skills (you probably already have) that you need in your resume