Friday, October 23, 2009

Top 5 Resume Myths

Myth 3: Your resume must have an objective

“Seeking a position that will be beneficial and mutually rewarding … and will make use of my experience and education ....” If that is your idea of an objective, don’t bother using one. Every inch of resume space is precious. Don’t waste it on generic information that can be found on almost every other resume. Every word, every character that appears on your resume must position you as the perfect candidate for the job.

Of the 5,000+ resumes I have written, I may have used an objective for maybe a handful of candidates. In place of objectives, I often used what many experts call “branding statements” or “headers”. The concept can be explained with the help of an example.

In the case of a clinical researcher, for example, a generic objective would be as follows:

“Seeking a mutually beneficial position that will make use of my 10+ years’ experience in clinical research.”

An improvement would be:


Worked with top five pharmaceutical companies. Leveraged clinical expertise to manage three blockbuster, multi-billion dollar molecules from Phase I to Market.

The generic example does almost nothing to position the candidate but the refined version, in addition to serving as an objective, brings out three to four prominent strengths and an overall value proposition.

Whether you decide to use an objective or a positioning statement, refrain from presenting generic arguments.

Myth 4: Your references must be listed on the resume itself

Normally, a separate page is used as a reference sheet. This not only protects the privacy of your references (imagine posting their contact information on every job board), but also makes the screening professional’s job a little easier.

Myth 5: I can use the same resume for multiple job targets Recipe for disaster. If your current resume focuses on your laboratory background, please don’t send the same resume for marketing positions. It is understandable that you may qualify for multiple positions or be interested in pursuing alternate careers. If so, try to create a customized resume for each job target. When it comes to a resume, never follow the “one size fits all” approach.

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Nimish Thakkar is a sought-after career management coach and professional resume writer. He has helped thousands of clients through his sites, and Thakkar holds two graduate degrees, including an MBA. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Career Coach Academy. Nimish can be reached at

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