Lose the Career Objective Statement on Your Resume

It is passé. Bottom line: having a career objective statement on your resume does not tell the interviewer anything about what you can do for the company. A career objective statement is all about you and the company wants to know what you can do for them NOW.

It may sound cold, but the fact is fewer companies are looking for stellar talent that they can grow internally. In the past, when companies where fueling management development programs an objective statement on your resume might have served well to identify you as someone who could be groomed or had high aspirations of a steep career trajectory. Here’s an example of a career objective statement:

Seeking a role to advance to a Senior Management position in a technology based company.

This statement implies you are seeking a company that can meet your needs – career advancement. Times have changes, the trend is career growth comes from moving from company to company which makes this statement obsolete.

What Replaces the Objective Statement on Your Resume?

It is far better to state your value proposition or what skills, results, relationships or competencies that you bring to the company that is unique or worth them hiring you. Your opening statement must grab the interviewer’s attention or guess what…you are in the deep six pile.

One of the best ways to write a killer value statement is to look at your list of accomplishments and think about which one of those might be applicable to the company you are sending your resume to. With a little rework, you can craft a new killer value statement for each resume!

The point of a resume is to get noticed – and be asked in for an interview. When you lose the career objective statement on your resume, there is an opportunity to put your best forward in the place that counts – the beginning paragraph of the page. Tailoring your resume to the job or company shows you put some thought into demonstrating on your resume that you understand the job requirements and have a good idea how to make a positive impact.

Absolutely Abby Coming Back to Rochester, NY

Absolutely Abby in Rochester NY

Absolutely Abby in Rochester NY

This will be the third time that Absolutely Abby will be speaking to job seekers in Rochester NY. People love her, love her advice and no-nonsense way of telling it like it is when it comes to conducting an effective job search.

Besides doing her talks, she is holding a contest and there will be two lucky winners - one man and one woman – awarded a Career Makeover! Winners will be revealed on July 23rd (see below). The support that each winner will receive is phenomenal:

  • A makeover sponsored by a local makeup artist 
  • A professional hair styling at a local salon  
  • One (1) “Capture a Recruiter” consultation session with Absolutely Abby 
  • One (1) signed copy of “Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets” and “Absolutely Abby’s Top 12 Interview Questions Exposed” 
  • Five (5) of Absolutely Abby’s teleseminars
And there will be eight (8) Semi-Finalists, each will receive: a signed copy of “Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets” and “Absolutely Abby’s Top 12 Interview Questions Exposed” and access to 5 Absolutely Abby teleseminars.

Absolutely Abby Schedule for Rochester

Here is her schedule for the next couple of weeks, be sure to call ahead if reservations are required.

Monday, July 7, 5:30 pm at ABCPNG.  “Secrets Recruiters Don’t Want You to Know.” First Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Rd, Rochester 14610.  There have been record crowds at this event with  300 seats and room to stand!

Wednesday, July 9, 2:00 pm at RochesterWorks.  “Secrets Recruiters Don’t Want You to Know.” 255 Goodman St N, Rochester 14607. 

Friday, July 11, 2:00 pm at The Central Library of Rochester & Monroe Counties.  “Secrets Recruiters Don’t Want You to Know.” Kate Gleason Auditorium, 115 South Ave, Rochester 14604. Register: Business/Social Sciences Division on 4th floor, by phone 585-428-8130, or online www.libraryweb.org

Tuesday, July 15, 9:00 am at New Horizons.  “Don’t Just Think Outside of The Box . . Think Outside of The World!” The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 1957 Five Mile Line Road, Penfield 14625.

Thursday, July 17, 9:30 am at The August Group. “Taking Your Job Search by Storm in 2014.” Medaille College, 1880 South Winton Road, Cambridge Place, Rochester 14618.

Monday, July 21, 6:30 pm at Fairport Public Library. “Success for the Seasoned Search…… The Benefit of Being Overqualified.” 1 Fairport Village Landing, Fairport 14450.

Wednesday, July 23, 2:00 pm for Total Career Makeover. “How to Interview Like A Rock Star.” Webster Parks & Recreation, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, Webster 14580 (Multipurpose Room 1+2+3). Register and vote at www.TotalCareerMakeover.org.

If you miss any of these events, look for recaps on Elephants at Work in the next several weeks.

Three Job Hunting Strategies to Landing a Job

The process of landing a job is not something that everyone does every day…that is unless you have been out of work for a while. Let’s say you just graduated from college or perhaps you have gotten laid off from your employer and have not been in the job market for eons. There are three job hunting strategies that I would recommend you focus on. No doubt there will be competing priorities, but these really do make a difference.

Join LinkedIn and Actively Work the Process

When you first join LinkedIn, it can be overwhelming and let’s face it a bit intimidating. Just remember that everyone on LinkedIn started where you did – with nothing. Set small goals and as you make them, you can set bigger goals.

Let’s talk about what those first few goals should be:

Creating a compelling profile helps you with landing a job.

Your profile is the first thing someone will look at when they land on your page so the information you share should address the reason you are on the site. For example, you may be looking for job, accepting consulting assignments, wanting to connect with colleagues, or providing business and professional services. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for someone to know if you are the right person they want to connect or talk to. Here are some tips for creating a compelling profile:

Tell a story about your professional career. Here’s your opportunity to share your experiences, talents, skills and career progressions. Avoid copying your resume into your online profile – use this space to expand what traditionally goes on a resume. Note: you do want to have a good resume prepared as part of your arsenal.

Post a current photo.

The fact is you will get more requests to connect with a photo than without one. Why? People may be suspicious and assume that your profile is bogus. Make sure your picture is professionally done – this is not the time to use your Facebook photo.

Join special interest groups and actively engage in the discussion.

LinkedIn limits you to 50 groups. Consider joining 5-10 to start. Seek out groups where people congregate that you want to meet – it may be in your area of expertise or a regionally based group. Follow the conversations and jump in when you have something to add. This is how people begin to know and trust you. When they trust you, they will reach out to you – sometimes offering help.

If you do these two things when you first join LinkedIn, you will be surprised how comfortable you will get within a matter of weeks.

Knowing where to find the jobs helps you with landing a job.

The strategies for finding a job have changed dramatically over the last ten years. My advice – there are two places to find jobs: online and through networking. At the top of the list for job hunters is LinkedIn. Most recruiters use LinkedIn to data mine their candidates – that is why having a compelling resume is important.

The places to look online for jobs are easy to find, in fact, I have a list of them here. Many of the online services overlap each other, so pick a few that work for you.

The thought of networking petrifies many people. Why? It requires you to put yourself out there in the public and fear of being judged for saying the wrong thing gets in the way. Make no mistake; networking is a skill that requires practice for most of us. When you practice your networking skills, you build confidence as you become more proficient. This confidence is a necessary ingredient in the last area you want to focus on: interviewing skills.

Nailing the interview means landing a job.

If you are getting invitations into companies and you are not able to seal the deal, your interviewing style may be hindering your success. Because you don’t get a chance to “practice” interviewing as much as networking, nerves can set in quickly. There are a few things you want to accomplish in the interview process:

  1. Establish rapport immediately. After all, you are selling yourself to the company. In any sales relationship, you can make or break a connection with someone in a matter of seconds.
  2. Provide the information to your interviewer in a way that they want to receive it. Listening to what they ask and how they ask it will give you clues to how to answer your question.
  3. Move the interview to a conversation. The question and answer format is formal and stiff. When you move the discussion to a conversation, everyone relaxes.

Remember you are interviewing them to see if the company fits YOUR career path too. Making a bad decision about your next move can be a disaster.

As you have probably realized, landing a job takes a lot of work. Even with these three strategies, you will be spending a lot of time updating information, building skills and selling yourself. Just know, that if you need help, ask for it or get it.

How to Leave a Toxic Work Environment

This letter came from a reader who is experiencing a toxic work environment. Here’s her story:

I am looking to get advice on my current work situation. I have been very sick due to my work place environment. I took a STD (short-term disability) for 4 months. I went back, but to the same thing all over again. They are now documenting me and trying to find things where they think I have been dishonest. I told them it’s untrue and unfounded.

This company is known for bully bosses and mean girl mentality.

I have since hired an employment lawyer. He has asked for a separation agreement in hopes they will provide some unemployment benefits. Is it in my best interest to go back to work while they/lawyer hash this out? Or do I have my doctor write-up a letter saying I cannot return to work. She wouldn’t have to lie. I have had 3-4 doctor appointment since my return due to the hostility at work. I am sad, confused, and need to escape with a good reputation. I fear they will give me a bad reference.

Being in a toxic work environment is a very difficult situation, for a number of reasons. First of all, you are working under less than desirable working conditions and your employer does not seem to be working pro-actively to get you back to work.

The tactic the employer is taking to document anything that may give them cause to terminate you is common when they believe forcing you out is a better solution than keeping you. It’s unfortunate because everyone experiences hic cups from time to time.

However, if the situation that originally caused your illness is something that they do not want to fix, it begs the question, why stay? Aren’t you better off leaving – which is why your employment attorney is trying to negotiate the best separation package he can for you.

Many doctors will write a letter giving you more time off especially if returning to the same environment is causing the illness to regain momentum. Understand that taking this option will solidify to your employer that keeping you or trying to work with you to return to your job is not in their best interest.

You are in a difficult situation about how to leave under the best conditions. On the one hand if you return, it will further aggravate the company because they have a “problem” to resolve, however, if you take a leave they may think of you as someone who is taking advantage of the system (even if you are not).

In my opinion, the lesser of the two evils is to take the leave as long as you intend to leave the company. You will be in a better place to explain why you left to a new employer than why you were fired. Your attorney can negotiate what kind of reference is given upon your departure.

Upping your Response Rate: Focus on Ask

When you are ready to connect with someone you don’t know or want to be on the priority list of someone you do know, the way to up your response rate is to focus on the ask. It doesn’t matter if you are a job hunter, sales person or trying to get work done within an organization, if your ask is not compelling, chances are your request will slide down the priority list.

Let’s start with an example of what not to do:

I wanted to know if you would be receptive to conducting an informational interview with me — I would really appreciate your counsel and advice.

Thank you for your consideration!

You may be saying, that sounds like a great request, what’s wrong with it. I’ll tell you as I give you some hints about refining the “ask” to be more compelling:

  1. Always fashion your ask with addressing what’s in it for them. Granted, you are asking for someone to do something for you and the secret is to engage them so that there is something in it for them. In the example, there is nothing compelling me to jump and say…yes, I want to meet this person!
  2. Be specific about what you want to do so that the person you are requesting time with knows what they are getting into. In the example, I really don’t know what he wants – in fact I responded by saying that informational interviews are usually with people in companies who are hiring and I am not hiring. Or does he want to learn about starting his own business? Or is he really saying to me…I want to meet you and get free advice? If that’s the case, don’t ambush the person you want to me…it never goes well.
  3. Avoid a form letter. All this adds up to is a form letter. Where is the personalization? This note could be sent to anyone.
  4. Follow through on your note. I received this note and responded maybe a week later (because it was not compelling) and never heard back. Cross that off the list.

Here’s a redraft of that letter that would have gotten my attention pronto:

Hello Lynn,

I have thought about starting my business and I wanted to know if you would be receptive to conducting an informational interview with me. There are a few areas that I would like to explore – start-up costs and how to get my first clients. I know that you have worked independently for over 13 years and would really appreciate your counsel, advice and suggestions on how to get more information.

I’ll give you call in the next few days to check on your availability.

Thank you for your consideration!

Which note or ask would you respond to?

Career Development Carnival: May 2014

Welcome to the Career Development Carnival hosted each month by Lynn Dessert at Elephants at Work or Hannah Morgan at CareerSherpa. We invite career experts to share their best posts and give you a sneak preview of their topic.

If you find the career topic interesting, simply click-through to their blog and read it! Be sure to show your appreciation of their time and knowledge by sharing it with your social networks.

Personal Branding

The Best Pose for Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

AvidCareerist by Donna Svei

Quick, easy to use advice on how to post for your LinkedIn profile photo!

Career ManagementCareer Development Carnival

Creating Work You Love

Hell in the Hallway by Deborah  Mourey

The first time I was let go, I was upset. By the 3rd time, I said no more. Here’s my story from employee to earning multiple revenue streams and being assured I’ll never be laid off again. Try it, you might like it.

5 Reasons to Invest in YOURSELF with a Career Coach

Food for Thought:  Musing on Work, Life and Living by Kathi Miller-Miller

Blog discusses some career stages/situations that may be an appropriate time to hire a career coach.

Choose the yellow brick road – or your own path

WorkingKind by Vickie Elmer

How do you decide which way to go at a career fork in the road? The moment of decision may demand a few days of reflection, or a search for a guide on your journey.

LinkedIn Endorsements Updated – FINALLY!

Career Pivot by Marc Miller

Many of you have grown tired of LinkedIn Endorsements and being prompted to endorse your connections. Many of you have also grown tired of getting LinkedIn endorsements from people you have never worked with or getting LinkedIn endorsements for skills that you do not have like underwater basket weaving. (I do know of someone who received this endorsement). That is changing!”

Organize Your LinkedIn Usage So You’re Not Overwhelmed

Chameleon Resumes Blog by Lisa Rangel

Here’s our guide on how to organize your LinkedIn usage so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Managing LinkedIn profile keywords, groups and all the new features they are always rolling out can be overwhelming. The good news is you don’t have to learn everything all at once in order to use LinkedIn effectively.

Looking for the Key to Success? Start with Appreciation.  Pharrell Knows.

Business Fitness by Dawn Lennon

“There is no achieving success alone. It takes connecting with good people, successful in their own fields, who have a genuine interest in lifting you up.

The key to your success is focusing on and developing your talents, finding those good people, and appreciating, every day, the significance of their part in the trajectory of your success.”

What to do When Your Boss Wants to Fire You

Elephants at Work by Lynn Dessert

A reader’s question – What to do when things get really ugly with his boss at work? Can he salvage it? Is it worth it?

Job Search Resources

3 Reasons to Reassure Resumes with Compelling Cover Letters

Examiner.com by Debra Ann Matthews

Cover Letters Give Choice – Some postings will use the term, “letter of interest” or may ask for an email to accompany a resume. Some may ask that salary requirements are included with other career communication documents. Cover letters provide an opportunity for you to help hiring managers a chance to choose you! This is a time to choose to include information about special circumstances that aren’t covered in your resume. There are so many reasons that you as a job seeker or career changer is a unique individual. This is your time to shine!

Desperation is Not a Marketable Soft Skill

The Savvy Intern by Mark Babbitt

“You’ve tried everything, and it seems no one recognizes your potential; that you’d be a great employee… at any company, for any work! All you need is for someone to see you for what you are.

Right?

Trouble is, they may already have seen the “real” you. If you’ve done any of the following, they may already have classified you, no matter how well you might be able to do the job on paper, as desperate…”

Job Searching?  How to Avoid a Bad Fit

Calgary Resume Writer | Career Impressions by Adrienne Tom

Most job seekers commence a job search with a rather wide objective: to get a job.   Often people forget to consider what type of job they truly want, or fail to evaluate how the role matches their short and long-term goals. Can you relate?  Here are some tips to help.

Use Job Boards for Research … Not to Find Jobs

Executive Career Brandby Meg Guiseppi

An estimated 95% of executive job seekers use job boards to find jobs, but only about 5% of them will land jobs directly through them.

Things You Didn’t Know About Job Search

Career Sherpa by Hannah Morgan

There’s an old saying…you don’t know what you don’t know. This applies to job search as well. See proof that you may not know as much as you should about how to run a successful job search today.

Career Exploration

Age discrimination in your job search? Just move on.

Staffing Insights by Eric Derby

Do not waste your time on companies that discriminate.  Move on and find a better place to work.

Swing for the Fences or “Small Ball” in your Job Search

Search for Authentic Leadership by Dan Ryan

We will spend a few moments today discussion a couple of ways to go about your job search.  In doing so, I will use an analogy that is near and dear to my heart, one that refers back to baseball.

Next Month

Mosey over to CareerSherpa  for next month’s Career Development Carnival on June 19th.

Career Rethink

Evaluating your career happens at many stages in life – I call it career rethink. I have worked with people from their early 20’s to late 60’s who have a strong desire to make a change for the better.

Sometimes you are forced into change, other times it is a personal choice to do it. Career rethinks happen while you are working or after losing a job. Regardless of the reason, you may feel uncomfortable or stressed because you are wading in new territory.

Here are some of the situations that start a career rethink:

  • You got the degree that everyone said you should get but it is not what you want to do.
  • Your hate your job and going to it every day puts you in a bad mood.
  • The job you have had for many years is going away – it is getting eliminated or the company is closing.
  • Location is important to you and you are not where you want to live.
  • Boredom has set in…the work you do fails to challenge you and you have become complacent.
  • The field you are in is dying – it’s time to make a shift into a growing field where demand will stay strong for many years.
  • Illness has affected your ability to hold a job long-term.
  • Should you invest in a degree to improve your marketability? Will there be a payback?
  • Are you a corporate person or an entrepreneur? How do you choose? Is the risk worth it?
  • You got fired from your last job – does that mean you are doomed and can not work in that same field again?
  • It’s time to retire – but you don’t want to be fully retired! Now’s the time to do something that you always wanted to do…but what is it exactly?
  • Here’s what you love – your company and job. Here’s what you hate – your boss. Can you survive?
  • Your performance is slipping and you are trying as hard as you can. What can you do to save your job?
  • You’ve been laid off several times – all for the same reason. Are you selecting the right positions or companies?
  • How do you create a life after retirement that includes service, income and fun?
  • You just got a new job – how do you integrate yourself successfully into it? What’s most important?
  • How do I successfully leave a job that I love to go to a job that I aspire to?

While each question is different, each person generally wants the same thing – greater satisfaction in their careers and lives. What form that satisfaction takes will be different.

It all starts with you identifying what your question is and what outcome you want. Finding your answer is a combination of accurate information or data collection, investigation, soul-searching and asking specific questions to get to the root of what is blocking you from progress.

Career rethink is a process of discovery, not a bullet proof answer. If it was that easy, you would have done it already. Armed with the right information and confidence, you can make the changes you want to in your life. The only thing stopping you is you.

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