The Stuff Before Your Work History (It Matters)

by | March 10, 2009

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Your address, name, phone number and other vitals are easy to figure out. And your workhistory section may take some finessing and fancy verbal maneuvering to become aseffective as you want it to be, but its still pretty much in front of you -- you had xposition with y organization. But the in-between stuff, that nebulous portion of theresume that includes qualifications and the ominous sounding career objective – whatto do with that? Here’s a guide to that vague area of self-description.

Career Objective

Career objectives tell readers exactly what kind of position you’re looking for,make your intentions clear and set the tone for how the rest of the resume is evaluated.While some resumes are focused on set positions, many aren’t clearly focused on anyone job. A career objective will clarify any ambiguities. If you seek a part-time orfreelance position, this objective is a good way of making that clear so that no confusionarises later.

The career objective on the resume rephrases or restates intentions stated in the coverletter. However, the objective is useful because many people read over the resume beforelooking at the cover letter. Additionally, cover letters are sometimes separated fromtheir resumes, or at larger corporations, not put into the resume scanner.

Career objectives come in two types: descriptive and titled. Descriptive job objectivesbriefly describe the type of job you’re interested in. Titled job descriptions namethe job title. Descriptive career objectives work best when you’re more interested inbeing seen as an overall candidate or if when applying to a company that has no specificpositions open. The career Objective sentence should be brief and no more than two lineslong. Do not permit your objective to ramble.

Resume writers make their biggest mistakes writing descriptive job objectives bylisting a bunch of cliches such as "a chance to apply my skills," and "achallenging opportunity" or "an opportunity for growth." These phrases havebeen used so many times that they don’t even register with readers. The key is to behonest about what you really want in an unassuming and business-like fashion.


Titled job objectives simply list the exact job title for which you are applying. Thiscomes in handy when you are applying to a large company that may have several positionsopen at once.

Summary of Qualifications:

This can also be called the "Highlights" section, but, besides sounding a bitgiddy, that title also implies that there are some "lowlights" not beingmentioned. Call it a "summary of qualifications." This section allows you toshow off your achievements that set you apart from the sea of other applicants. Everythingyou hope your resume implies (those years of experience, the technical skills you’veacquired, your proven leadership ability) can now be explicitly stated.

Again, avoid the weak, cliche ridden resume language. Even if you are a"self-motivated," goal-oriented," "people person," state thesequalities so they sound like the truth and not like the pamphlet you read in your guidancecounselor’s waiting room. And only put concrete qualification for the job."Takes direction well" is not a qualification but an opinion.

The list for the Summary of Qualifications should contain a maximum of four statements.Each statement should be under two lines long, and bulleted in from the text. To furtheremphasize a list of points, simply indent the information another tab level right so thatit stands out despite the bullets


The education section is one of the few times you get to brag about your education tosomebody who doesn’t share your bloodline

Filed Under: Job Search

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