Your Mission Statement – the very first paragraph of your resume. It is the first glance a prospective employer is going to look at and determine if they want to continue reading your resume. In the past it has been called a “career objective” but now it is more a career summary, a statement of what you have to offer – a mission statement if you will.
I use the term mission statement because it gives it weight and importance in your mind. Think about it, when you research a company and you see their Mission Statement listed boldly, it makes you take note. This statement is important. That is the exact feeling I want you to have about your summary, your mission statement.
It is vital, it is direct, it is selling yourself. It is not what you want, rather it is what you can do for that company! (Yes, there are a lot of italics and a bold in that last sentance – which means it is important!) It was most common to list directly what you want in that very first line of your resume, for example, “Objective: Obtain Accounts Payable Manager Position”. It has also been stated as your strengths, for example, “Detailed, organized, professional Administrative Assistant looking for right-hand position in a progressive company”.
Well, employers are receiving hundreds of resumes for just one job opening. Honestly, they just do not care what you want. Nor do they care about your strengths in that manner. Sorry kid, it’s just not all about you anymore. Nope, now it is all about them. So, what can YOU do for THEM is what they want to know. Think about the last time you went to a store to purchase, let’s say a cell phone. When the salesperson walked up, did you want to know what he wanted? No! You did not want to hear all the chit chat and fluff, you wanted to get to the point of what can you do for me? What kind of plan, phone, features and really, money can you save me. Same mentality for employers.
So, in this one to two sentence structure you must gather the most important selling elements about yourself in an impactful way to grab your reader’s attention. You can direct it to a specific company or a general market. It is important to know your audience if you will be targeting a specific company. What is it that will set you apart from everyone else – your achievements, knowledge base or licenses and credentials?
Three very important things to remember when writing your mission statement: 1. be HONEST 2. sell yourself and 3. be able to follow it up in the resume. If you are going to tell a prospective employer that you are “able to identify challenges and opportunities in the department”, you must follow that up in the resume stating how you have done this in the past. If I read that statement the first question I am going to have is “how?” I will be looking for this. If you then tell me that one of your accomplishments in your previous position was creating a new system saving the company over $350,000 in one quarter – I will take note. It will build your credibility and show you are what you say.
Remember, those that read the resumes are a skeptical bunch – full of “prove it” and “yeah, rights” when reading resumes. Unfortunately people do exaggerate their abilities and it is not known until the interview – a huge time waster! So be able to bring those great qualities to light and show you are backing up what you say. And if you state it, you darn well had better done it! Lying and exaggerating are absolutely forbidden. Keep in mind you never know who is going to see your resume and who they might know. If it is discovered you lied – well, quite frankly, you are toast.
That covers points one and three, now for point two – sell yourself. Oh, do we hate (for the most part) talking about ourselves. We are taught not to brag, but you must. If you do not toot your own horn on your resume then who on earth will? This is where the buddy system comes into play. If you are not working with someone to help you write your resume, then ask a friend to listen. Read them what you have and ask them what that says to them. Be your own critic then your own agent. Now, look at it as if you are an agent in charge of helping sell this person and pick it apart mercilessly, hold nothing back. Does it sound too meek? Are the strengths coming through loud and clear? Check the verbiage – a thesaurus is your best friend! Please do not used tired words – “experienced”, “able”, “good communicator” – you get the idea. Yes, you can use some very common words as long as you have high impact words worked into the Mission Statement. Be careful, do not go so overboard that your points are missed due to all the big words. Just remember, you do not want to sound like anyone else, because quite frankly, you are not like anyone else! You are the best candidate, you are the one that they need to interview – you are THE candidate!
Lisa K McDonald – Career Polish