Baxil (baxil) wrote,

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Dear job seekers

For the love of all that is good and holy, please, please, never ever ever ever put a "Goal"/"Objective" section on your résumé.

I'm looking at the résumé of a job applicant here at the store, and this is the very first line underneath the contact information:
My goal is to secure a position using the knowledge and skills I possess and further my education and training.

This is dreadful, yes. But here is the insidious thing about résumé goals: This is as good as they get.

There is only one reason people ever seek jobs: They want to trade their time and skills for financial resources. This is the entire basis of the system of employment upon which our culture rests. Don't waste 20 words of the reader's time telling employers, "My goal is to get a job." That is the subtext of the résumé itself.

Rhetorical trickery can make the Goals section look useful, but when you dissect it, it does absolutely nothing that can't be better expressed elsewhere. Don't write that you're looking for ways to apply your decades of experience or hard-earned degrees; your Education and Experience sections should speak for themselves, and if you feel they aren't sufficiently emphasized, plug them in your cover letter. Don't write about your lifelong ambitions; either they match the employer's and you're saying "I want a job WITH YOU!" (again, the subtext of the résumé already), or they don't match and your application gets marked down. Don't talk about what you hope to accomplish in the job; that's what the interview is for, and you'll give a better answer if you can talk to the employer first and find out what their goals are. Don't document your sesquipedalian erudition or utilize managment jargon; it will be quite obvious you're trying too hard. And for Deity's sake, don't be a smartass; employers aren't known for cogno-intellectual sophistication.

Meanwhile, you're still just wasting space to say, "I want a job!" And that is what you're saying; there is no other way to honestly answer the question a Goals section poses. Only to obfuscate the fact that you're giving the same answer as everyone else.

In short, the section is wasted space. So what a "goals" section tells me is this: The job seeker would rather do things in the way they're told than apply the effort and creativity necessary to take pride in their work. They see no need to question rules that make no sense, and will contribute to bureaucratic buildup rather than raising efficiency.

I wouldn't want to hire people like that, and I definitely wouldn't want to work for any company that saw those characteristics as assets.



UPDATE: Much more in comments, including the quite sensible recommendation that you replace "Goals" with a "Qualifications" section to summarize the ways in which you meet their needs.
Tags: work

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