Objective statements used to open every resume. Over time, these statements became incredibly self-serving and more and more vague.
Dear Sam: I have a question about a qualifications summary versus an objective statement. I hear experts say both ways are the "best" and don't use the other. Which is correct? Does it depend on the position? I feel a qualifications summary is not specific enough for a position and your qualifications should be in your work experience. Thoughts? - Scott
Dear Scott: Any expert in the hiring industry will agree that objective statements are archaic and fall short in today's employer-centric process. An objective statement simply states what you want out of your next position, doing nothing to convince the reader why you are qualified to take that next step. A qualifications summary presents the information critical to convey during a 4- to 7-second screening process; how you are qualified, why you are unique, and how you fulfill the requirements for the types of roles you are seeking.
Objective statements used to open every resume. Over time, these statements became incredibly self-serving and more and more vague. In essence, what ended up happening was that resumes were opened with "stuff" that did nothing to differentiate the candidate. Typically, the statement would state the obvious and candidates would simply change out the title they were seeking with every resume they sent out of the door.
With a qualifications summary, you are providing an executive summary of your resume. It is absolutely vital that you present this information; regardless of the length of your resume, the reader will not get past the first half of page one. Because screening processes have become so brief, this section will allow you to pull forward all of the most important highlights related to your candidacy. In essence, the summary is your elevator pitch or the answer to the question, "Why should I hire you?"
Dear Sam: I have been receiving calls for positions, but with no luck being hired. I do not know if it is my resume or age related. Help! - Cheryl
Dear Cheryl: Your resume is very outdated with an old-school approach utilizing an objective statement, a few brief bullet points per position, and absolutely zero focus on how you are "different" from your competitors. Your resume is also only providing 13 years of professional history therefore your age is would not be coming into play until the interview. Having said that, if you are getting interviews, I would have to assume hiring managers are "seeing" something in your resume and therefore your candidacy. I suggest however that your resume isn't digging deep enough to hold the hiring manager's interest, especially if you are communicating similar messages verbally during the interview. Despite bring granted a few interviews, I am confident you could capture far more with an updated approach to your resume. In fact your current resume is aging you just through its approach to content and design.
Why are you qualified as an administrative assistant? What have you done for past employers that has added value? How can you relate your most recent experiences in merchandising and retail--encompassing the last seven years of your work history--to your current desire to return to your administrative roots? I imagine you are missing out on a tremendous amount of opportunities, as your resume is not selling the transferability of your experience. In addition to lack of relevant content, the design is not engaging, something you would want to pay particular attention to given your desired field of interest. I am certain if you revamp your resume you will have treated the real issue. Best of luck.
Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service resume-writing firm. Do you have a resume or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about Sam's resume writing services, visit ladybug-design.com or call 614-570-3442 or 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).
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