Friday, June 12, 2009

What's your objective?

I’ve so far been asked questions from readers. This time around its my turn to ask the readers a question.

“You may have interviewed for a new role in the recent past or at least once in your career or you may even be getting ready to start your first job. Your resume will be the one doing the initial talking with prospective employers. So is your resume answering the most basic question companies are asking of candidates: “What’s your objective?”

Yes. That’s the question that runs in my mind whenever I review resumes too. What does the candidate really want to do in his career? What prompted the candidate to apply for the role? The answer lies hidden in the objective on the resume. Most often, I would go the extent of saying nearly 50% of them, don’t even have an objective on their resume! Really. They may have their reasons to not include it in the resume. But if I have to screen a hundred resumes a day and the candidate isn’t helping me understand why he should be considered, then I either figure the candidate’s objective is to fit into whatever we have to offer or he isn’t sure of what he wants to do. In both cases, the uncertainty will result in either the company or candidate realizing their mistake and some drastic steps will soon follow.

If you don’t have an objective on the resume, then I suggest you go ahead and put one now. But before you start typing furiously, give it some deep thought. You don’t want to Google and find an objective from someone else’s resume! Really. Think about an objective that screams, “I want a challenging role in an environment that encourages continuous learning and advancement”. It’s so clichéd. You can be sure that it was ripped off from someone’s resume. Yes, the message is loud and clear. But just how are you going to achieve your objective? What according to you is the learning and advancement you want in your career? That should have been the real objective.

Objectives work like milestones. Yes, you want to become a manager, that’s your five year plan. Great! Glad you know what you want to do, but that according to you will happen only five years from now. But that doesn't help the recruiter or hiring manager to know your plan between now and five years hence. Get the picture? It further helps the recruiters/hiring manager to fit you into another team within the company. You could stand to lose that opportunity as well.

I suppose, maybe, just maybe, the fear of committing to an objective still lingers in the candidate’s mind. It gives a false sense of flexibility! Well, if you aren’t sure of what you want to do, then don’t expect the company to read your mind.