What’s Your Objective?

Current wisdom is that your resume should not include an objective statement.  And yet, I still see them.

At best, an objective is a waste of space and adds no value.

To obtain a position as a financial analyst with XYZ company.

(No kidding.  You’re applying for the position, so I would hope that getting the job would be your goal.)

At worst, it can sound like you’re looking for a date.

Experienced equity trading assistant seeking a position with a respected  financial services organization.

Either way, an objective is all about what YOU want, and nothing about what the company wants.

Some who did get the memo about its demise cheered quietly; they could now reclaim those few lines of space for other content.

This has resulted in a second resume crime: diving headfirst into your work history or education.  It looks unpolished or somehow incomplete.  You also forfeit the ability to market yourself.  After all, what is a resume?  It’s a marketing document – an advertisement for you.

However, unlike a slickly-produced ad, there’s a lot of serious content included.  How do you get someone to read it all?

The short answer is: you don’t.  We’ve known for a while that the average recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t read your entire resume.  Just how little time they spend with it is almost scary, though: six lousy seconds, according to a study done by TheLadders.  Using eye-tracking technology, they also identified where these six-second reviewers spent their time with different resume styles.  The heat maps are fascinating.

If you’re only going to get six seconds of someone’s attention, you want to be sure they see what you want them to see.  And this is where the “jump right into the deep end with no introduction” format falls short.

What should you do instead?  Use a Profile.

A profile provides a snapshot of your experience, framed in the way you want your reader to understand it.  Think of it as an executive summary of your resume.

Here are a few different treatments.

***

Financial Professional with 10 years’ experience as a Market Maker, Proprietary Trader and Manager of OTCBB, Pink Sheet and Nasdaq SmallCap equities desks. Areas of strength include:

  • Strategic Growth Focus: Developed 2-trader $6 million business into a 13-trader $36 million business
  • Risk Management: Anticipate and effectively prepare for regulatory change, while maintaining profitability
  • Industry and Company Leadership: Publicly represent firm interests within industry and community

***

  • Highly motivated self-starter: Achieved 4.00 GPA while working multiple jobs throughout college
  • Strong communication skills: Extensive experience working with clients and in team environments
  • Exceptional organization skills: Consistently seek and identify opportunities to develop more efficient processes; acute attention to detail in both professional and school assignments

***

Relationship manager and securities trader with extensive international experience and a 22-year record of success across financial services and technology businesses.  Strengths include:

  • Establishing and developing deep, long-term relationships with institutional clients
  • Devising creative strategies to enhance business revenue, reduce risk and achieve organizational goals
  • Explaining complex technical concepts to lay audiences and conveying benefits in a compelling manner
  • Collaborating with team members to formulate solutions to business challenges

As you can see, there is no one way to approach this.  The goal is to succinctly present your experience at the top of your resume in a way that compels the reader to continue reading – or at least skimming.

There are few “don’ts” for your profile, though.  Do not:

  • Write in paragraphs.  Research shows that large blocks of text won’t be read.
  • Simply repeat what’s written below.  There’s no room for redundancy on a resume.
  • Use broad, sweeping, boring platitudes.  Phrases and buzzwords like “team player” and “strong communicator” without supporting information or examples make recruiters’ eyes roll.
  • Include pictures.  There are very few industries where this is acceptable.  It opens the door for discrimination, and may land your resume in the trash bin.
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