What’s on the top of your resume?

One of the most important sections in your resume is your job target: Here is where you let employers know not only what you are looking for, but what you are offering to them.

There are thousands of resumes out there with lines of this sort: “Seeking a challenging position in an innovative company where I can utilize my various experiences and can grow as a professional.”

Have you stopped to really think what the line above is trying to convey? Can you identify a clear target? Are you thinking only about how you can grow as a professional but not about how the organization will benefit?

I have also seen resumes with no target: applicants jump right to their professional work experience.

The problem with both examples above is that you are forcing HR people to read throughout your entire resume to figure out how you can fit. Unfortunately, they don’t have time to invest in thoroughly reading every resume (they may receive dozens, if not hundreds!), and many will reject your resume without giving it a second chance!

Different employment counsellors may tell you different things about what is right (or not)…how to make a decision?

It all depends: what to write (or not) on your resume boils down to the real purpose of a resume, which is to match the employer’s requirement for a particular job in a particular organization in a particular industry. Which tells you that you cannot (and should not have just one resume)

There are three ways to state what you want while attracting the employers’ attention:

  • Using job titles
  • Using objectives
  • Using profiles

Let’s look at them one by one:

Job titles should match exactly the title used by the employer in the job ad you are applying to: i.e. “Office Clerk” or “Administrative Assistant” or “Office Assistant” (we call these “key” words). Job titles are good if you plan to define your qualifications in depth in the next section (“Summary of Qualifications”, usually using bullets). They may be good when you are applying without the possibility of researching the organization (i.e. job fairs or applying through generic online job boards)

Objectives, on the other hand, allow you to tailor your resume to a particular organization or industry while showing the strengths you bring to the table and how you can contribute: i.e. “Experienced Office Administrator with 10+ years in the non-profit sector seeking a position in your organization, where my superior computer and communication skills will contribute to your program’s success.

Profiles, finally, are used to describe your overall qualifications for a particular industry or profession. They may be complemented by a title, to help HR to understand what you are looking for…the challenge with profiles is that most HR people don’t have time to read them. Writing a good profile is also challenging even for those whose first language is English, and even well written profiles may be seen as long and boring. Profiles, however, may help you when you provide your resume without a particular job target in mind (i.e. a contact asks you to provide your resume for “any” opportunity and the job titles may not be clear)

So, what goes on the top of your resume? As usual, it depends…do your research on the industry, the company and the job, take time tailoring and proofreading your resume and choose something powerful and concise that conveys these three things: 1) what are you looking for (to the point, realistic and clear target, i.e. “civil engineer”); 2) what you bring to the table, your strengths for this job (i.e. “with project management and site supervision experience in commercial buildings”) and 3) that you care about the employer (i.e. “to manage your projects”)

Silvia-Di-Blasio2About the Author:
Argentinean born Silvia Di Blasio works as Employment Counselor for the Skills Connect program for immigrants at ISSofBC. Silvia specializes in eLearning, Credential Evaluation and Social Media. In her spare time, Silvia volunteers for many community boards and organizations.Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.

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