As you’re gearing up to head back to school or simply looking for new opportunities for the fall season, I wanted to start from the basics and talk to you about something very important in your fashion career journey: your resume … Or more specifically, your resume objective.
This post is applicable for ANY job, internship or opportunity within the industry all year round. So, no matter what date it is for you today or what role you are applying for, I hope you’ll consider this advice and give it a try.
A resume objective is a statement that says what you want—what specific position, or what professional goals you’re trying to achieve.
There has been so much back and forth about this particular part of the resume between people who say it needs to be removed and those that are reluctant to part with it.
Personally, I always advise any fashion professionals I work with to remove the objective and substitute it with some other useful things instead.
Today, I’m breaking down the 3 very specific reasons why you should remove the objective area from your resume right now and what you should absolutely be including instead.
If you fall under the category of not being able to part with your objective section just yet, I also have some tips that will make your objective a bit more powerful than the usual ones, though I hope this post helps you see how using one of these other suggestions instead of an objective can create a huge impact on your job search and on your career.
The first reason I advise any fashion professional I’m working with to remove their objective is because it takes up the most valuable real estate!
As you know, your resume is the document that often determines whether or not you’ll move forward and get an interview. Because the objective is usually placed in the first section under your personal information, it’s the first thing recruiters or hiring managers will read.
According to Forbes, you have about 3 seconds to capture the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention. In that time, you want to make sure the information they’re reading is compelling enough to get them to continue going through the rest of your resume.
An objective statement is pretty redundant: if you’re applying for the specific role, it should already be clear to the hiring manager, or anyone reading your resume, what your objective is based on this alone. Repeating it will only cause the hiring manager to use their 3 seconds to read your objective and move on to the next resume.
By including an objective, you’re hiding your best qualities and letting it overshadow your resume.
Simply put: it’s crucial to put the best content towards the top of your resume.
The second reason is that they are vague and outdated.
Objective statements don’t tell the hiring managers anything new. I’ve seen statements that look like a long run-on sentence full of large terms that in the end, don’t provide any insight on who you are as a professional or what you can bring to the company you’re applying to.
Additionally, objectives are an older resume trend, which means that using one could unintentionally date you. The hiring manager could make one of the following assumptions:
→ They might assume that your skills and experience are also not current
→ Or that you’re very inexperienced and are following templates that were given in school
→ It could signal that you haven’t updated your resume in a long time, giving the impression that you didn’t put much effort into your application
→ Or worse still, it could unintentionally open you up to age discrimination, depending on your experience and years in the industry
I like to think of it like this:
Just like fashion trends change, so should your resume.
The third reason to not include an objective in your resume is that they are self-important.
One of the biggest issues with objective statements is that they are entirely focused on you: what you want the hiring manager to do for you or what you expect to get out of the relationship.
Listing your personal goals is useless on a resume because the recruiter doesn’t care in their initial scan. You’re applying for the role so they know you want the job. What they care about is what you can do for them.
They’re receiving and reading hundreds of resumes for this opportunity, so yours needs to be focused on providing proof and examples that showcase how your skills meet the job description.
WHAT TO ADD INSTEAD
Ok, so if you’re thinking “What the heck should I be adding instead?”… I’ve got you covered.
Here are 3 things to include in your resume instead of the objective.
SUMMARY OR BRANDING STATEMENT
Some people also know it as a branding or career statement; they are one in the same.
You’re going to use a branding statement to tell recruiters and hiring managers why they need you, rather than why you need them.
A branding or summary statement tells brands who you are and what you can do, while also highlighting what you have brought, and will continue to bring, to the table.
This is a huge departure from the goal of objective statements that only serve to tell hiring managers what you hoped to get from them.
Instead of starting with what you hope to gain, you’re going to use this space to highlight accomplishments, relevant skills, experience and other credentials that demonstrate your value as a candidate. This way, the hiring manager has an opportunity to see exactly what you can bring even before getting to your experience section, which will automatically set you apart from your competition.
As you’re writing your statement, I want you to think of it as an elevator pitch for your resume. Keep it short, but full of valuable information relevant to the position you are applying for.
I’ll give you an example of this in action:
If your objective statement was:
To secure a marketing position within the fashion industry in a reputable organization for the purpose of expanding my learnings, knowledge and skills.
Then your summary statement could be:
Accomplished and enthusiastic marketing professional with 3 years of experience in wholesale corporate fashion. Experience includes working with several companies across various categories including apparel, menswear, footwear and accessories. Keen attention to detail, sharp time management and decision-making skills. Recognized for generating impactful ROIs and multiple high-level sponsorship opportunities for my team.
Do you see the difference?
With branding statements, you immediately command attention and provide recruiters a preview of what they can expect from you, making them curious about the information they will find further down in your resume.
It serves as a hook in the most professional way possible while still painting a picture for the reader of someone who is accomplished, original and impressive.
Now, for those of you who are just starting out, you too can use this format to create a powerful branding statement, even with limited experience.
Use this section to speak to academic achievements, merits or recognitions. Include notable projects and any clubs you are a member of, especially if you hold a particular position within them. If you have internship or job experience, add that in as well.
It’s ok if there isn’t as much detail in yours as my example. Regardless of how much information you can add to this section, remember that it is still a stronger section to add to your resume than a broad objective statement that tells the hiring manager nothing about you or what you can bring to their company.
One important note I should add here – regardless of how much experience you have – to get the best results and ensure the hiring manager will continue reading, you need to edit this section down.
Don’t add too much fluff and get right to the point. There is a difference between creating an impactful branding statement and just writing keywords that you think they will want to read.
Another section you could add to your resume to replace the objective is a skills table. This section is a slight departure from the standard resume we are used to seeing, but can be a really powerful tool in your resume.
Before breaking down what a skills table includes, I want to let you in on an industry secret. Many people don’t realize that companies use what’s known as Automated Screening Programs.
The job of these programs is to weed out applicants that don’t match the exact criteria the company is looking for based on keywords from the description and a candidate’s resume.
Unfortunately, by using a program in the very first round – even before getting a chance to actually speak to the person, companies are missing out on some incredibly talented people. However, some companies receive hundreds of resumes on any given day and rely on these programs to receive candidates whose experience most closely resembles the job requirements listed on the description.
A skills table, in essence, is a table where you break down your skills in a more bullet-pointed format rather than in a paragraph the way you do for a branding statement.
Using this approach gives you the opportunity to include relevant keywords on your resume and easily tailor these based on the role you’re applying for instead of having to rework full sentences in your experience section.
The trick to using a skills table is to include hard skills that can be quantified and objectively demonstrated, instead of providing soft skills.
Hard skills refer to the job-related knowledge and abilities that you need in order to perform your job duties successfully.
On the contrary, soft skills are the personal qualities that help employees really thrive in the workplace.
Before creating your skills table, take a moment to list the skills or experience needed in order to perform your job. Remember to list skills based on things that can be learned for a specific role versus personal attributes you can demonstrate in any role.
Using the marketing professional role from the branding statement example above, a skills table could include the following bullet points:
→ Social Media Marketing
→ Negotiations & Conflict Management
→ Paid Social Media Advertising
→ Decision Management
→ Direct Email Marketing
→ ROI Competency & Leadership
Skills tables are an impactful and efficient way to provide experience based on your skills while utilizing keywords or phrases that are specific to the job description.
…And what does that mean for you as the applicant?
That you will pass Phase 1 (meaning the automated screening!) and reach an actual hiring manager or recruiter that will not only see my resume, but may request an interview.
DIRECT TO EXPERIENCE
The third option you can choose is to go straight to your experience.
If your work is relevant to the position, you could decide to showcase your experience from the start and how it pertains to the position you’re applying for.
I recommend this option to people who have lots of experience and need all of the space they can get from the resumes. Additionally, this is a great way to hook the reader from the start with projects, accomplishments and quantifiable figures.
Just don’t forget to use keywords based on the job description across your entire resume so that you are able to pass the automated screening programs and ensure your resume lands in the inbox of the hiring manager or recruiter for the role.
IF YOU CAN’T PART WITH YOUR OBJECTIVE…
For those of you who just can’t part with the objective on your resume, I’ve got some pointers for you too.
First, make sure your entire objective changes depending on the job you’re applying for. Resist the temptation to just change a word or two, and craft your resume objective from scratch for each position under consideration.
It needs to contain keywords specific to the position, job description, and most valuable skills. Always remember the automated programs I mentioned before.
And finally, your objective needs to explain what you have to offer the employer, not what you are seeking in your next job or company.
IN THE END
It’s up to you to decide what you want your resume to say about you as a professional.
The most important thing to remember is that EVERY part of your resume should count, including the objective, if you feel the need to include one. It’s important to keep in mind that you only have seconds in which to make a first impression on the hiring manager or recruiter. You can’t afford to waste time, especially right at the beginning of your resume.
Opting for a resume objective statement could unintentionally send the wrong signals to prospective employers, such as a lack of understanding about current job-search etiquette or tech savvy, which could date you or leave you open to becoming the victim of age discrimination.
It could also send the message of a self-serving attitude that demonstrates to potential employers that it’s all about what you want and not about what you can bring to the company.
By not updating your resume to include some of the features we discussed, you are also missing out on opportunities to include keywords that could move your resume past automated screening programs and into the inboxes of actual hiring managers which could mean an interview or a potential job opportunity!
** Great news for those of you who get frustrated just thinking about creating or updating your resume:
I offer done-for-you resume packages!
As part of this service, we work side by side to ensure your resume is professional and highlights your experience and strengths in order to secure your next interview.
Click here to learn more about all personalized career services available to you right now.
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