In “today’s economy,” which itself is a worn out cliché, people are looking for work, both meaningful work and also work that will help pay the bills. One thing that stands in many job seekers way is a good résumé. I myself am always looking for income opportunities, and this requires constant updating and even creating a variety of résumés. How does one stay focused on the job hunt while simultaneously doing what it takes to keep ones résumé updated and polished?
The standard answer to this question is to hire a résumé writer. People in this profession abound online, and they all seem to be charging a premium and offering guarantees that once one’s résumé is professional, the job hunter will automatically gain interviews. There are those who even promise to keep rewriting the résumé until the person receives an interview. While the guarantees are hopeful, there is also another aspect to the job search that job seekers sometimes overlook. When writing a résumé, you are communicating to the world of potential employers something about yourself. If you submit a professional résumé written by someone else, you may impress people in the short term, but in the long run the potential employer will discover your ability or lack thereof in communicating. Many people think that excellent communication skills can only be learned through taking a public speaking course or the like. The truth is that one can perform a simple exercise to significantly improve their communication skills.
Let us take one example of this from the job hunting arena. One job seeker wrote the following for his objective (I have changed the wording for privacy reasons):
Creative, persuasive, determined with skilled managerial techniques. Dynamic, reliable, interpersonal communication and negotiating skills. I am hard working and very focused. I enjoy keeping myself busy and put extra effort in my tasks. I enjoy working with others and able to work unsupervised. I have excellent selling skills and telephone techniques. I am focused, I strive to always keep a positive attitude and have the ability to learn quickly. I seek to work in an environment, wherein I can make use of my professional skills, for the growth of the company. The years of experience, which I have spent in gaining practical knowledge in the field of sales can also prove to be of great advantage to the company. Apart from this, my interpersonal skills can prove to play a big role in the growth of your company.
I will ignore the grammar issues for now. I would like to focus on the objective element that was expressed here. When a potential employer reads this, is he or she going to be thinking that this person will be an asset to the company? I would venture that this will not be the case. Rather, the potential employer will view this candidate as someone who is desperate to obtain a job and for that reason tooted his horn in an extreme manner, while only making brief reference to the needs of a potential employer. This idea goes against all the rules of résumé writing, where ones objectives should be clearly aligned with the mission of the company. Yet, there is another aspect of the objective that must be expressed here. The job seeker failed to demonstrate the fact that he knows how to communicate well. Poor communication is usually a lack of trying, not a lack of skills. I therefore suggest that when writing a job objective, one gives thought to what he is trying to communicate. If ones response is, “I want them to hire me,” then one has to contemplate how that is going to happen. Telling someone in writing that you are great will not necessarily make them want to hire you. Think of it as a speech. How often do we hear people speak about what they have accomplished? I have not come across that too much. Rather, the speaker focuses on the audience. Why should writing be any different? Have you not noticed in this article that I have not said a word about myself? The reason for that is because it does not add to the article and at worst will detract from the message. It follows, then, that the person writing his or her objective in a résumé should focus on one thing only, and that is, “how am I communicating my message to a potential employer?” Once the message is communicated properly, the job hunter will already feel a lot closer to securing the job. In a nutshell, don’t let someone else write your résumé without you taking the time to think what you are trying to communicate. One suggestion to accomplish this would be to write in one paragraph what you are trying to accomplish with writing the résumé, and then see if the résumé matches that objective. You now have a new term in résumé writing, called ‘objective for the résumé.’ Good luck and let me know if I can be of any assistance.