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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Figuring out how to Write Objective Statements on Resumes

One of my annual blog posts is a review of the resume objective statements written by graduating class of Wharton Health Care Majors. Analyzing objective statements has been a hobby of mine for a while as I made fun of my classmates objective statements during our end of the year banquet. Some feel that I may need new hobbies and probably some new friends given one of my hobbies is to alienate my classmates/friends. However, a self-deprecating sense of humor goes a long way and it's my blog so I get to pretend that I'm funny.

First the disclaimer. The people for whom I am about to make fun of (Wharton Class of 2011) are orders of magnitude smarter than me. From looking at their pictures they are also really really really ridiculously good-looking. No one in my organization lets me even pick a lunch place, let alone make a hiring decision, so what I wrote should not be considered to be actual career advice.

Allow me to elaborate on the Wharton MBA Resume Objective statements:

So you're telling me that I have a chance: In previous years, students had grand visions of requesting "strategic opportunities" or "leadership opportunities". This year, everyone was more humble with requests for a simple "opportunity". One student trumped all as he was looking for a "strategic leadership opportunity." No one has raised the stakes like consumer goods companies raise the number of razor blades with a 3rd adjective prior to opportunity. Nor went for complete honesty by requesting an opportunity "that doesn't suck monkey balls."

Ask not what your company can do for you:
Actually, this year's students are telling their companies what they expect of them. Many students use their objective statements to tell companies that they are looking for "entrepreneurial" or "innovative" places to work. Luckily all the established highly bureaucratic Fortune 100 companies that mostly hire at Wharton don't seem to be too worried. Some want their teams to "high quality". One person wants their company to be both "entrepreneurial" and "pioneering". Upon checking this person's resume, I was disappointed that they did not work for the pioneering company that develop the educational game Oregon Trail. One person was just looking for a company that was "promising".

Does anyone remember how we originally used the word leverage?
The word that appeared most often in everyone's objective statement was "leverage." Everyone was looking to leverage something whether it be their scientific and business background, their leadership experience, or just leverage their levers. I can't argue with the whole idea of leverage. Whenever I go to the bathroom, I try to leverage my trip and do both number one and number two. I try to leverage my hand washing, too but my wife doesn't seem to appreciate it.

Some in this class actually figured out how to write an objective statement:
My biggest surprise was not how good-looking all the students were (seriously, did they air brush the picture or are people in their 20's really that much better looking than the general population?). The surprise was that a number of students wrote really good objective statements. They didn't fill the objective statements with unnecessary adjectives that really just say "doesn't suck monkey balls," or hedge every career opportunity. Some figured out how to write an objective statement that provided succinct and relevant information to a future employer. Most used the word "leverage" but there's definitely worse words to use (like "create value").

The best objective statements simply said "An opportunity to leverage my X background and Y background." It's elegant, simple, and relevant. It tells the employer their industry background that they're looking to build off. It shares who they are. After seeing this solution to an objective statement, I realized that they might just create strategic value in an impactful resume. Argh, must stop reading resumes. I am going to strategically go to the bathroom and try to leverage the 2 remaining squares of toilet paper.


chandra said...

Stating resume objectives could helpfulness in convincing expected employer that you make a well-defined advancement oblique and thusly common to the filed and you would be a positive plus to the staff. you really provided excellent points..

Resume Objectives

Deadhedge said...

Chandra, your comment is hard to follow due to the awkward words that you use. I still think that objective statements on resume are not a good use of space and wouldn't recommend using them.

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