Career Q+A: On including objectives and professional advancement in your resume

As seen in Cynopsis Classified Advantage
Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock


Including professional advancement on your resume

Q: Is it really important to put professional advancement or interests on your resume?     If so, should it be detailed or brief so you can talk to it in the interview?

A: The purpose of your resume is to get you the interview, so if your professional advancement activities are of good quality and relevant to the position, then you should absolutely include them. The knowledge that you are keen enough to improve your skills is a plus to a discriminating hirer and can set you apart. It demonstrates that you are engaged with your own development and the development of her industry.

As for your interests  insofar as they add breadth and color to the picture you are painting of yourself these can be helpful in separating you from the pack of similarly qualified candidates. But your interests must be consistent with the image of yourself that you want to convey. If you are positioned as an effective team leader for example you will not want to mention your macrame or your stamp collection! On the other hand if you are the captain of a racing yacht that could add a very strong credential.

Detailed or brief, you ask. “Brevity is the soul of wit,” they say. Don’t bog it down in too much detail; it’s not your autobiography. It’s the trailer that you are carefully designing to get you the interview.

Including your objective on the resume

Q: I see some resume’s with objectives, what is your take on including them or not in a resume? Thank you so much for your help.

A: A brief opening statement on your resume is most important  but please do not frame it in terms of your objectives. The hirer is not interested in your objectives nearly as much as he is interested in his own. Your resume must persuade him that you are the perfect solution to his problem, not so much that he is the solution to yours.

Express in two or three sentences how you are exactly the right person to fill his position, and let him know of the unique value you will bring to his company. If your opening salvo hits the nail on the head, he will be enticed to read on to the supporting evidence. But remember, he is not approaching your resume with an interest in meeting your objectives  he is completely focused on his own.